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    A Customer’s Life: The Hunt For Help

    by Dave Hughes
    When someone has a problem, need or desire, their first stop on the internet is usually Google.  For example, if a business owner is looking for a way to process credit cards for payment online (and they have no knowledge of this area), a trip to Google and a search for "credit card processing" will return a link to Authorize.net as the first non-sponsored response. Why? There are quite a few reasons, all of which are covered under the umbrella term of SEO, or Search Engine Optimiztion, and SEO is something an online business cannot afford to ignore. SEO basics can be learned relatively easily, but to do it well (and with good results) is something that takes a specialist's touch. However, this doesn't mean you can't take steps to improve your search engine placement.
    • Your keywords should be well chosen...you may not want to compete for search results with the keyword "credit card processing"...try to choose keywords with less competition that are still relevant.
    • Your url and website title should include your keywords.
    • You should use "header" tags on your page (<H1>), making sure your keywords are included in the header.
    • Backlinks, or links to your page on other pages, are also vitally important to your search engine performance.
    All of this sounds simple if you understand basic website construction, and it looks like Greek if you don't. However, even if you use a freelance web developer, there are some things you can do to optimize your SEO.
    • Make sure your keywords are included in your page or post titles.
    • If you're using a blog, make sure you leave comments on other blogs in your niché, linking back to your website. (In some cases, these will count as backlinks. In all cases, it increases the chance of the blog owner linking to your website...as long as your comments are useful.)
    • Become active in online forums that are relevant to your keywords, making sure your forum signature contains a link to your website.
    • Actively seek out link exchanges with relevant websites.
    These are very simple, basic steps anyone can take to improve their search engine results ranking. Are these steps enough? Not in the slightest. But if you're new to the concept of SEO, they are a start.
    Written by:
    Dave Hughes
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