Is your website lacking the traffic you had hoped for?

Use these five search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to rank higher on the major search engines and attract more customers:

1. Choose appropriate keywords. Avoid using insider, industry-specific jargon on your website and bring the language of your content down to earth, so that potential customers have an easier time finding your product or service. Google’s free keyword research tool can help you find the keywords that people use to search for the products and services that you offer.

2. Write unique and accurate titles and meta descriptions for every page of your website. The title of a web page tells the search engines exactly what that page is about, so be sure that each of your page titles include at least two of the most relevant keywords for that page. Your page titles appear in search results as the underlined blue link to the page. Having an attractive title with relevant keywords will entice users to click it in search results. Your meta description, on the other hand, is the “snippet” that appears below the title in search results. People read that snippet to decide if they want to click through, which is why a persuasive meta description and accurate title are the keys to search engine success.

3. Make sure that the search engines are indexing your website. If your site is not properly indexed, it will not appear in search results. Make sure that the major search engines can find all of the pages of your website by creating an HTML and/or XML sitemap.

4. Obtain links from other websites. Inbound links, or links from other websites, are probably the single most important factor, outside your on-site SEO, helping your site to rank higher in the search results. The best way to obtain links from reputable websites is by creating content that people will want to link to. Promoting your content on Twitter and Facebook, in a conversational manner, also helps to build links. If you want people to “re-tweet” or “like” your content, be prepared to do the same for them.

5. Avoid duplicate content. When search engines see the same content on multiple pages, they regard one as the original and the other as a low-quality duplicate. Low-quality pages don’t rank well, reducing your link juice. If two pages on your site are identical and people link to both, the power of those links is obviously cut in half. If you do have duplicate pages with inbound links, redirect one to the other using a 301 redirect.

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