To get others to link to a website requires active website marketing, said Smarter Searches’ Courtney Herda at a social media workshop on search engine optimization in Farragut Town Hall Thursday, April 4.
“It’s not something that’s passive,” she said. “People aren’t just going to find you because you’re there. It’s like putting your shop in a back corner of a shopping center and putting up a sign and hoping people show up. You’ve got to advertise at least a little bit, so do that with links. Vendors, clients, customers, people you have agreements with, directory listings, get them to link to you.”
Town of Farragut, Farragut Business Alliance and Smarter Searches partnered to present the talk.
Herda broke down SEO into three categories: site architecture, content and links.
Site architecture refers to the coding and navigation of the site, she said.
“The tags in the HTML, navigation, how crawlable your site is – that’s making sure that everything works. All the links work. You don’t have a 404 page come up, things like that.” Content represents the words and keywords on the site, Herda said.
“And how quality your content is; if it’s good, if it’s well-written,” she said. “Things like misspellings and grammar can count against you.”
She called links vital, and website owners should make it easy for search-engine spiders and users to go from one page to another on a website.
“Another huge factor – and probably one of the single biggest factors in Google – is your inbound links, and that’s the number of people that are linking to your site,” she said. “It can be a blog. It can be a vendor, any other website.”
Remembering to name images on a website adds another aspect that search engines can see, Herda said.
“A lot of times, if someone puts a picture on their site, they might accidentally leave the picture called DSC00724, whatever the digital camera listed it as, but if you rename it picture of my cat, then suddenly the search engines know that it’s a picture of your cat,” she said. “It can’t see the picture. It can’t see your video, but if you tag it correctly, it knows what the content is inside of it.”
Getting others to link to a website involves simply having good enough content to entice people to want to link it, she said.
Herda stressed specificity and the presence of a call to action in content, so website users have something to do like sign up for a newsletter or follow a business on Facebook.
Alex Banakas, of MASSAGE by Terrah Banakas, said the workshop provided good information.
“If you want to be found on the Internet, you want to be found on the first page,” he said, “and SEO’s important on getting to the first page.”