The first step in the SEO process, as described in my introductory article is getting your site, or your pages or your shopping cart indexed by Google and the other search engines. For the absolute beginners out there, my interpretation of getting indexed by Google is simply having your site found by the search engine – no matter where.

A simple test to see whether your site is indexed is to open the Google search bar and type in site: and your site URL. You’ll either get a message saying the number of pages found for the site, and a list of Google’s extract from the individual pages – which shows you the equivalent of the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) for the pages that Google has found for your website, or you’ll get the message “Your search – site:your website URL – did not match any documents.”

Over the years, I’ve launched several ecommerce (shopping cart only sites) for which on page optimization alone has been sufficient to get my site indexed in time for me to be up and running once I’ve added some products. I have had other sites where no amount of on page optimization alone has managed to get the page indexed.

Of course it depends how competitive the market is in which you are trying to get indexed and whether your content is original and correctly formatted. If you are launching an ecommerce site, most shopping cart software either has a SEO module or plugin of one sort or another and these are one of the “must have” add ons that I would strongly recommend to any new would be site owner. As far as blogging software goes, I have only ever worked with WordPress, and this has plugins that do a nice job of SEO. Also, WordPress sites in my experience do get indexed more easily than straight web pages or ecommerce pages.

If your site is going to be pure HTML then you must use your meta tags correctly to help you get indexed. I’ve lost count of the number of so called optimized sites I’ve seen with the page title “Untitled”! It doesn’t have to be hugely complicated filling out your pages meta tags. Don’t forget the web was designed for average people to use!

Let me take you through what I mean by an adequately “on page” optimized page. Go to your Google search bar and type in the search phrase 80 x 80 thermal paper rolls

The first result should be a page, but if it isn’t scroll down until you see the page that is under×80.htm. Again – for beginners, take a look at what Google’s search result is showing you here, as it’s a good example of how to use your meta tags.

The underlined part is the page’s meta title. Think of this as the headline for a small ad in the classifieds section of your local paper. It’s the part of the ad that gets the ad read by potential customers and it’s how you should think of your Meta Title of your page.