You want people other than your friends and family to find you online, right? Getting others to learn about your business or website can be a tricky business. Here’s a brief look at the land of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. This is the art of providing search engines with information about your site’s offerings, so that you can get your site closer to the top of search results. The good news is, most of these strategies are extremely powerful ways to build massive amounts of traffic toward your website, without you paying a cent. The bad news is, SEO can be confusing to people who don’t consider themselves tech savvy. Even if you’re using a website builder to create a site without coding, give that site a fighting chance to get indexed and ranked in search results. This article is simple enough for beginners who wish to take the success of their website into their own hands. List Your Keywords} Keyword Selection These are the words or groups of words that people use when performing a search in a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, Bing or Ask.com. Think about what words or terms describe your, your website or your business, that users are likely to use in searches. Incorporating your city or state into your keywords can help your local market find your site. There are many helpful software programs to help with keyword selection. Google Keywords is free and very powerful, while WordTracker’s paid service can be useful for companies with huge websites. Your Web Page Titles Once you’ve made a list of your keywords, there are a few important places to place them. The most important of which is your pages’ titles. This is the text that appears hyperlinked in search results when your page is found, and is also what visitors see on the top of their browsers while inside your site. Each page should have a unique <TITLE> tag that uses keywords to describe your site and what is found on that particular page. Don’t leave your pages with worthless titles like “Home Page”. The title tags are the words that will cause users to click on your site as opposed to others, when it comes up in a search. So make it clear, descriptive and enticing. Eliminate filler words like “the” and “in” as much as possible, like a headline in a newspaper. Description Meta Tags Second in line to the <TITLE> tag of your web pages, are their meta description tags. This is the little blurb of text that appears underneath each site’s title in a search result. This text is important both for users, and for search engines. Each page of your site should have its own, consisting of one or two sentences that describe the content of the webpage with two or three keywords. Your descriptions shouldn’t exceed 155 characters, including spaces. The rest won’t show up in Google searches to users. Also, include a call to action in your descriptions. People love instructions, and being told what to do.So tell people to visit, learn, set up, enhance, build, or enjoy your services, by stating this outright in your description. If you’re using a free website builder, make sure there’s a place for you to add your meta description even if you’re not coding the rest of the site’s content Use Keyword-Rich Headers Headers, or the <H1>, <H2>, <H3>, etc. tags in your web page, are another important place to plant some keywords.Human visitors use headers to quickly figure out what sort of information is included in a particular section of text. So do search engines. Take advantage of this opportunity to get a few appropriately-placed keywords seen by search engine crawlers. It is also important to place your keywords toward the front end of your headers, known as “keyword prominence”. Position Your Keywords inside Your Content In order for your keywords to count, they must appear in the actual content of your website. Incorporate your keywords organically into your site’s content, without making it distracting to visitors. This shouldn’t be too difficult, if you’ve chosen keywords that are relevant to your website, but a level of finesse is still required. Exercise caution. Do not pack keywords into your content. This will not only irritate visitors, but it could cause your site to be marked as spam by search engine crawlers who encounter the same words over and over again. Your keywords should make up about 5-7% of your site’s content. Internal Links Use hyperlinks within your site that link back to your homepage For example, if you have multiple pages in your site, make sure each one links back to your main page and use anchor text with keywords, not just the generic “home”. Format your links so they’re easy to notice and don’t blend in with the rest of your text so that no one can tell where they are, and not click on them. Keep the anchor text short but descriptive, with just a few words or a keyword phrase. Make it easier for users and search engines to crawl your site, by making your internal links helpful for site navigation. Don’t dump links all over your page in order to trick search engines – this is easily caught and recognized as spam. Keep it classy, with helpful internal links that users and search engines can use to learn about your website or company. GainingOff-Page Links Having links pointing at your site, from other pages on the web is one of the best ways to make a website appear in search engine resultsOne of the most powerful ways to make a website that search engine robots love to crawl, is to have links to your website from other places on the web. Links that contain your keywords are even more valuable, but it can be difficult to get someone else to use your keywords when they link to your siteInbound links to your site that use your keywords in their anchor text are golden, but usually you can’t control how somebody else refers to your site . It’s more likely that they’ll simply use your URL or business name in their links. A trick around this is to build keywords into the name of your product or business itself, but if it’s already too late in the gamefor this, there are a few things you can do to get some of those precious keyword-rich inbound links. Ask friends and associates who control other sites to include links to your site. Tell them how you’d like them to link to you, and send the html code the way you want it to look, so they can just copy and paste it in. Send newsworthy articles to press releases, and include links in the body of the articles to your site. You can also submit your site directly to directories such as DMoz, Yahoo!Directory Submit, About.com and Business.com. DMoz is the only one out of these that is free for a site to be submitted. Since sites submitted to DMoz are reviewed by human editors, it often takes time to get listed here, but it is worth it to get listed here. Do not hit resubmit though, or you’ll get bumped to the bottom of the line Congrats! You have now scoped out the basic concepts of SEO! Read over these tips again to make sure you have taken advantage of them on your site, and know that building a successful SEO campaign can take time. There are quite a few small changes you can make to your site on your own, to improve your user’s experience and your site’s performance in organic search results. For more tips, info and tools check out Google’s Official SEO Starter Guide.So there you have it. These are the most important and basic ways to get your site optimized for search engines. If you’re new to the SEO game, you might leave feeling a bit confused, but that’s OK – SEO is an entire industry that many companies are only just learning about today. If you are a small business, odds are that your competition doesn’t yet know about many of these strategies. So stay ahead of the game with a few smartly planted keywords and hyperlinks. For even more tips and a recap of some of these, check out the Official SEO Starter Guide released by Google.