I have no doubt that you have seen these three letters floating around the Web. What is this SEO thing that people keep talking about? Is it important to your business? SEO s an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. Basically it is doing things in a way to make the search engines, especially Google, like you. And to answer the second question, yes SEO is vital to your business in that good SEO means great content, a well constructed Web presence, and high search engine rankings.
Search engines send out what are called crawlers, spiders, robots, among other names. Crawlers are programs that crawl the Web and collect links to index in a search engine. SEO then is doing things in a way to more easily get crawled, indexed, and given a high ranking. It is important to rank high because your customer, when doing a Google search, probably wont look past the first page of search results before moving on. You want to be visible and found by your customers and prospects.
There are two types of SEO. One is real and works; the other is a false SEO (it doesn’t really optimize anything) – it will backfire and hurt your rankings in search engines. False bad SEO just concentrates on loading your site with keywords rather than good content, is manipulative and deceptive, and is very frowned on (and punished) by Google. Obviously you want to use good and solid SEO. What are some of the basic elements of good SEO?
Are keywords obsolete at this point? Go back in time and you will find that they used to be the key to SEO. Unfortunately that meant that websites that had the most horrible content this side of Pandora’s Box could get a high Google ranking with a good keyword strategy and implementation. With updates to Google’s ranking algorithm those days (thankfully) are long gone.
While the above is true, keywords aren’t obsolete or unnecessary at all. They have officially been devalued by Google is true. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their use, and they can help your SEO efforts.
What are some good Keyword tips?
- Use keyword phrases.
- Use keywords (in a clean reader friendly way) in your URL.
- Don’t overuse keywords.
- Use keywords in headers.
- Use keywords in the alt tags of pictures.
- Keep a keyword density of 1 to 1.5% (not more than that).
- Use keywords in the title tag.
- Use keywords in the meta description.
- Take the time to research your keywords.
- Always keep it natural..
Backlinks are incoming links to your website. They may not be the most important consideration when it comes to good SEO, but they do help and are an effective part of a proper SEO program.
Want some backlink tips?
- Use good anchor text.
- Backlink from sites of similar content.
- Conduct periodic link audits.
- Use more deep rather than shallow links.
- Submit press releases to news and press sites.
- Submit your link to social bookmarking sites. In the very least I would recommend Stumble and Digg.
- Submit your link to RSS directories.
- Create good link-worthy content.
- The backlinks should be in the content of the page.
- External backlinks are weightier than internal ones.
- Become an active commenter on a couple blogs.
- Get active in a forum or two and post your link in your profile.
- Try reciprocal linking at a with others in your industry and at a site like LinkMarket.
- Post your link to your social networks.
- Use Squidoo and HubPages to link back.
- Build relationships with other websites and blogs.
Just a couple points here:
- It is not all about backlinks so don’t let that encompass your whole strategy.
- Avoid link farms, buying links, and other “cheater” approaches. Google might penalize your ranking if you buy into those methods.
A sitemap is very important and should be included in any website. It is very important for SEO. Remember those crawlers I talked about a little while ago? They love sitemaps because it makes it easier to crawl and index the site. Do not make the mistake of neglecting a sitemap.
You don’t like to be around unfriendly things – search engines don’t like to be around them either. To make it simple, if a URL is worded in a usable way for you then a search engine will probably find it usable as well.
Here are some tips:
- Make it readable and usable.
- Use keywords instead of random words and numbers.
- Keep your subfolders as shallow as you can.
- Subfolders are better to use than subdomains.
- To split words use a hyphen rather than an underscore or plus sign.
- Keep it natural looking.
Avoid Flash Links
This one is simple. Crawlers can’t index Flash. What that means to you is if you hide your links behind Flash they will not be indexed and you will have effectively killed your SEO efforts.
Putting a description in your image with the alt attribute is very good for SEO. The code looks like this:
img src=”yourimage.jpg” alt=”The description of your image!”
Be sure it is worded with appropriate keywords written in a way that looks natural and is a true description of the image.
Content is king and also the most important part of an SEO strategy. If you forget every other point remember this one. Content is everything. It should be of good quality. It should be updated. The more good content you publish the better. Google is all about content. If you leave it out Google will rank you low. A site blog is a very effective way to up your content game. Just keep repeating to yourself:
CONTENT – CONTENT – CONTENT
Social Media Distribution
Mention your content and newly published pages on your social media accounts. The search engines will smile and word will spread. Here are some tips:
- When your make a new post or site update let your friends and followers know. Just make sure your status update or tweet is good content in and of itself.
- Put links in your profile, just don’t be obnoxious about it.
- Click the share buttons on your webpage (if you haven’t included them you should) and ask your friends to.
- Ask your family and real life friends to share your content on social media with their friends.
Never skip this one. Crawlers do look for it and it can make a difference. Make it descriptive and implement the strategic use of keywords.
Though (at least the keywords one) devalued by Google they can still help and are a part of a proper SEO strategy. And remember, Bing still looks for keywords and the keyword meta tag. Here is an example of the code:
< title>Not a Meta Tag, but required anyway < /title>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”WRITE YOUR KEYWORDS HERE”>
<meta name=”description” content=”DESCRIPTION HERE”>
<meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html;charset=UTF-8″>
Very important as crawlers will look at them and they make your content easier to read. You can use 6 different levels of headings in HTML. The tag look like this:
<h1> YOUR HEADING </h1>
Here are examples:
Using lists can be a dramatic help if you follow these rules:
- Keep them targeted to your topic.
- They must be of good content.
- Make sure they are helpful to the readability of your webpage.
These are some basics that will get you a sound start.
If you need expert help in the SEO of your website or blog contact Wired-In Marketing Solutions.
What are your secrets to good SEO?