5 simple SEO tips to get your website ranked

Learn how to drive traffic to a website with these basic SEO tips

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a big buzzword both online and off. It's not enough to have a website anymore, websites need to earn their keep which is where SEO comes in. Optimizing a website for search engines ensures customers find a company's products and services.

Website traffic means sales, Without good SEO, a company website can find itself buried on page 100 of search engine results. Here are 5 simple tips to improve the search engine optimization of company websites.

1. Know the specific keywords people use to search for products or services. The Google keyword tool is free and simple to use. Use it to find out how many people are searching for products and what keywords are popular. For example, a party tent rental business would want to ensure the keywords used to search Google are present on the company website.

2.Monitor traffic with a traffic counter and other SEO tools. Installing a good traffic counter such as Stat Counter (which is free) will show where traffic is coming from and what people are looking for, which helps companies see what is or is not working.

SEO for Firefox is a free SEO tool that will disclose page rank and other statistics about competitor websites. Use the most popular keywords from step one and see if the website being assessed shows up anywhere on the first page. The goal is to be among the first three search engine results, but top ten is acceptable. A website that is on page two or more is never going to be found by customers.

3.Avoid cute marketing monikers, especially in the domain name and header of a website. Search engines are literal machines; euphemisms, metaphors and puns are lost on them, which means it's important not to play coy. Save the slogans and jargons for less important places on the web page, such as in a sub title or in a foot note.

4.Ensure the domain name of the company website uses a keyword. Names are important to search engines and the company domain name should make it obvious what products and services are being marketed.

For example, a small organic soap company named Sudz may be tempted to go with Sudz.com, however the domain lacks keywords which can hurt the rank of the website. A better domain would be Sudzorganicsoaps.com. Using Sudz alone in the domain is only viable for companies who have enough brand recognition that they have become a keyword in their own right (i.e. McDonalds). Until that time, it's smart SEO to include key words in the domain name--this tells search engines and people alike exactly what the website is about.

5. Get listed. Google a product and chances are the results will include some ads, 'shopping results' and then a listing from Google Maps with local results. These results fill the computer screen blocking out small business websites below and won't be found unless the customer takes the time to scroll down. Many small companies don't realize their products and services can be listed in Google's shopping results and local results for free via Google's Merchant Center. This can put a company at eye level with customers searching for solutions.