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If you're just setting up your business' website, then you'll need to understand how SEO works. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is what helps you create a site that search engines will point their users towards. If you get it right, you'll find that users are more likely to come to your site and stay there. Here's how you can use search engine optimisation to your advantage.

Usability and Content Affect Rankings

First things first, you're going to need to create a site that's worth visiting, before you start with SEO. After all, who wants to visit a site that doesn't have anything to offer them? Search engines today are sophisticated, and will take user actions and content into account when giving your site a ranking.

What does this mean for you? You'll have to assess your site's usability and content before you can really have a site worth visiting. Ensure your site is easy to navigate and understand, and that it's answering a need for your audience.

You’ll also need content that's credible and high quality. This can be hard especially for companies that are only just starting out. If this sounds like you, it might be a good idea to hire an expert to write your website content.

Use Plug Ins When You Can

If you're using a site host like WordPress, you're in luck. There's a huge range of user made plug ins that can help improve your site's SEO. This is especially helpful if you're just starting out. Search for 'SEO' in the plug in directory, and you'll see lots of tools that you can simply download, and use to improve your SEO without the fuss.

Watch Your Keywords

In the early days of SEO, there were all kinds of 'black hat' style SEO tricks. They would improve your rankings, but your improvement wouldn't reflect the quality of what your site had to offer. This was especially true when it came to keywords. Writers would stuff their content full of keywords, to the point where the content would no longer make sense.

Content writer Jane E. French at OriginWritings says, 'The best way to use keywords is sparingly. You'll need to pick keywords that are optimised towards your audience, and insert them into the text where it feels natural. If you do it properly, you'll get the results you want.'

Use Unique Titles

It's vital that you use title tags on your pages. You may not think it's important, but search engine crawlers use these to ascertain what the page is about. This does two different things. It shows the search engine what this page is about, and so gives the link to the right searchers. As well as this, it ensures that no one reaches the page by accident and clicks away, meaning you'll have a lower bounce rate.

Make Sure You're Using Pictures Properly

Images are a great idea to use in your content, and you should be using them to illustrate your points. However, remember that when search engines are looking through your content, they can't actually see what your pictures are about. That's why you need to make good use of meta data.

'Your meta data will tell search engines what your picture is and what it shows in context of the content' says SEO administrator and webmaster Margie K. Sherwood at 1Day2Write and WriteMyX. 'Make sure you're taking advantage of alt text to caption the pictures. Make sure you're giving a detailed description too, so the tag makes sense in relation to the content.'

For example, if you have a picture of a crowd at a football game, caption it 'A crowd cheers for their team at a football match.' This tells the search engine exactly what's in the picture.

Make Sure Your Site Is Loading Properly

Finally, here's a simple way of ensuring that you keep your bounce rate low. Look at how quickly your site is loading for visitors. If many visitors are leaving after a few seconds, it may be that it's loading too slowly. If this is the case, then you may want to look at what's slowing your site down.

Put these tips to use, and you'll have excellent SEO. It will bring visitors to your site and encourage them to stay. Now's the time to put these tips to use!

Margaret Riehle is a market research analyst and content writer at Academic Brits. She writes about latest trends in business, marketing and communications.