Managing your website for search engines is crucial to its success, no matter how old your website is. A typical website can get an average of up to 60% of its web traffic from organic search engines, almost half of this from Google alone. Ensuring that you website ranks highly in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) is extremely important and thus is the reason why the SEO Industry is now a multi-million dollar business.
While there is no exact science for what kind of tactics should be employed to maximize your search results, there has been some ways, that have been proven worthwhile, based on history, experience and evidence. Searching for such tactics throughout the internet will produce so many information that it is time consuming to determine which ones are indeed worth something, and which do not. This is particularly true if you are new to the SEO game.
What I have learned, is that there are many recommendations and suggestions out there, that are in fact useful. With a little patience, the right mindset, and a lot of perseverance, applying such tactics will eventually pay off. To cut the story short, I have spent time reading and researching basic SEO tips and tricks all over the internet, compiled all these information, and narrowed it down to ease your pain:) While this is far for being the bible, I believe many will agree that this is where you should start.
First and Foremost
SEO should never come first over user experience or usability. While it may sound obvious, it is needless to say, that the quality of your content must come first in any SEO strategy you wish to apply. Search-engine results are, to a large extent, driven by the number of incoming links to your website (preferably one way), and regardless of where these inbound links come from, one factor remains undisputed and that is, you won’t get them unless you give your visitors a compelling reason to link to your website naturally. If you do not get these links, you will never rise up in the SERPs, no matter how frequently your keywords appear on your pages. There are, of course, other ways to get inbound links, however, what we want are high quality natural links. Therefore, create entertaining and original copy for your article. Include images and videos on your pages and do all your best to set yourself apart from the millions of other sites on the Web.
The Golden Rule that states – What’s good for users is almost reciprocal for engines too, is true. Thus, emphasize on your websites content, design, and navigational structure. By doing this you are on your very first step towards achieving success. Just make sure that you give search engines something they can have access to, and you will be way ahead of your competitors.
Keywords – Do you know what to optimize?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is useless if you don’t know what you’re trying to optimize. In some cases, choosing the right keyword is relatively straightforward: A car merchant will probably choose, vehicles, automobiles, and similar terms. However, other websites are faced with a more complicated decision. What terms would you focus on, if your website has a general type topic?
To start with, you should decide on what term is relevant to the business or topic you have chosen. You should focus on terms that people are searching for and one way to evaluate search term popularity is by using Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool and SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool. Both are relatively accurate and can provide you with information related to search volume of a particular term. In addition, they will also show similar or related terms which you might not have thought of before.
Ultimately, bear in mind that you should only choose terms that are relevant to your sites topic, in order to obtain the highest possible traffic. Terms that users will never type in the search box will be worthless to you and in return will drive little or no traffic at all. So, prior to writing your article or choosing the right titles, do some research for terms and related phrases to adequately optimize the text on your website.
Title Tags – Focus on Them
Most SEO Experts in general will agree that your title tags should be treated as the spinal cord of your SEO efforts. When it comes to indexing content, the engines, consider these tags as the single most important element on your website. It is therefore extremely important to use your title tag as unique as possible and load it with your core terms (keywords). Just picture going to a library looking for a specific book about Science. Imagine if all the books had the same title, what would you choose? Same example applies for your title tags on your website. Be creative, make your title compelling and it will help not only search engines to find it, but most importantly, your users as well.
How do Others Link to You?
Imagine that you have a site called “resourecesforfree.com” and your topic is about making money online. Somebody thinks that your website is interesting and decides to link to your site exactly as it is, in this case, resourcesforfree.com”. While that is good, is has far less impact on the rankings by search engines than, if the link had the anchor text make money online. Why? Because search engines take into account the anchor text used to link to your site.
To ensure that your website rises up in the rankings for a certain keyword or phrase, try to encourage others to use those keywords in the anchor text for the link to your site, instead of just using the name of your site. One way to do this, is by readily providing the html code in your website, you would like to be optimized. Some linkers prefer to just copy and paste, rather than going to the trouble of customizing it themselves.
Write Unique Content
One of the most difficult search engine problems is how to tackle the issue of duplicate content. Search engines are not so good at recognizing which version of a page is the original one, and you may very well be penalized as a duplicate page if an engine fails to recognize who copied who. Most of the time they will consider the original one based on the timestamp of the post.
The penalty for having duplicate content can be severe, too: Duplicate sites will not show up in search results and unless the searcher decides to repeat the search with the omitted results included, you will never show up in the results. I ask you this – do you even know that you can repeat your search with this refinement? Probably not.
Make Your Website Crawlable
Flash-based Web sites look nice and pretty, but search engines robots don’t care about that. Use of iFrames also is not encouraged as for some reason, engine spiders can not crawl them. While search engines today handle better at working with Flash, text and HTML are still the way to go, unless you’re more interested in flashy interface than stronger search results.
Submit Your Pages To Social Bookmarking Sites
Submitting select content of your website to major social news sites such as Digg, Reddit, and StumbleUpon can help get better results on the SERPs. Also, by doing this, you can produce occasional floods of traffic, but that strategy is very much hit-or-miss. You also want to avoid oversubmitting content to social news sites, because the last thing you want, is to be branded as a spammer.
Improve Your Internal Links
Putting a tag cloud on your home page, according to experts, will help improve your site’s search result rankings. Linking from one page to another within your website, no matter how you achieve it, will get you there faster. There are tag cloud generators that are free and easy to use.
There you have it. As I said before, this is no bible for SEO and there are other things you can do to optimize your websites. All these tips and tricks at are your disposal, within your control and should be part of your todo list for 2009:) Please fill in the gaps. I am sure there are a lot of you who can provide more…
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