SEO, which means Search Engine Optimization, is a new term in my vocabulary.  I came across it through my attempts at getting my husband’s business listed favorably on Google.    I did it years ago with a former site but things have changed quite a bit since then.  Where Google used to just find your site based on content alone, there are so many other facets involved now and some may surprise you.

My researched started with a free presentation put on by a local media consulting firm that was really a sales pitch for their product.  I knew that it was a sales pitch but I did glean some very helpful information from the forty-five minute seminar.  Did you know that Google takes into account how many times your content is shared on Facebook?  I had no idea…

Here are the top five things that Google looks for when ranking your website.

  1. Number of Facebook shares
  2. Number of back links
  3. Total number of Facebook likes
  4. Number of Facebook comments
  5. Number of followers on Twitter

I guess that it’s good that I finally got a Twitter account, even if I don’t get Twitter quite yet.  So Google takes into accounts all those things when listing your website in a search.  All things that I don’t have a direct influence upon.  For those of you who have ‘liked’ me on Facebook, you have probably seen me post those graphics about how to help and author.  Does it make more sense now how a simple ‘like’ or ‘share’ can be helpful?  For those of you that I have ‘liked’ on Facebook, now you know why I tend to like and share everything.  I’m trying to help you out and spread the word.

Now, the back links are considered links back to your website and the more reputable the site the stronger the back link.  This is where commenting on blogs and leaving your website can be handy.  Now, they have to be useful or encouraging comments mind you, none of this ‘great blog, now check out mine!’  That’s called spam, but an honest reaction to the topic or suggestion creates networking with a peer and creates a link back to your website.  Notice the links listed in my blogroll on the right?  All those links help a fellow writer get more notice from Google and other search engines.

Additionally, research shows that averaging about 3 Facebook/Twitter updates a week is a good number to keep your product on people’s minds but not too often as to make your follower feel harassed.  If you receive a negative review or negative feedback, how you respond can make all the difference.  If you respond quickly and politely and try to resolve the situation quickly, that negative review now holds less weight to the next person who reads it.  All because you tried to help and make it right.  Generally you don’t want to plaster your product or name all over reply to a bad review but make sure that there is enough information in your reply that the reviewer can contact you if need be.  Replying to positive reviews is great as well since  you can plug an up coming event or release or just drop your name or website in a professional manner.

After the seminar, I turned to the internet but most of what I could find were more companies trying to sell me SEO.  If I had the money, I would pay a company to do it because the more I dug the more clear it was that it will be a lot of work on my own to get a higher listing.  Some of it requires actual web coding knowledge which makes my eyes go crossed.

I’ve compiled some links that should help if you want to spend some time reading:

If you pay for hosting for your website, you can also ask your provider what sort of services they offer as far as SEO.  They might have some free services or services you are already paying for that you aren’t utilizing.

I hope that you all find this helpful and that it helps you better situate your site on the search engines.  I think that above all, being persistent, consistent, responsive and positive are the best tools you can bring to the table.  No one wants to follow a rude old sourpuss.  So put your best foot forward, optimize your site as best you can, and people will find you.

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