The term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) describes a diverse set of activities that you can perform to increase the amount of targeted traffic that comes to your website from search engines (you may also have heard these activities called Search Engine Marketing or Search Marketing). This includes things you do to your site itself, such as making changes to your text and HTML code.
It also includes communicating directly with the search engines, or pursuing other sources of traffic by making requests for listings or links. Tracking, research, and competitive review are also part of the SEO package.
SEO is not advertising, although it may include an advertising component. It is not public relations, although it includes communication tasks similar to PR. As a continually evolving area of online marketing, SEO may sound complicated, but it is very simple in its fundamental goal: gaining targeted visitors.
There are thousands of professionals all over the world who earn their living by providing SEO services to website owners. The good SEO pros spend large amounts of time and resources learning the skills of effective optimization. This goes to show that you could easily spend years learning SEO since there is so much to learn.
Here are 10 top tips that I found from various resources on the internet that are sure to help you:
- Be Unique or Cast into Oblivion
In a web world of “me too” web sites, products and services, nothing is more exciting than something totally unique. The side benefit is that people will search for keywords that belong only to you – think “Macintosh,” or “iPod.” Before Apple invented the products and made the words “Macintosh” and “iPod” into household names, how many people would have searched for those words?? Nobody, except maybe the creative people at Apple. Create a web site that reflects your uniqueness. Create a unique theme and you will boldly stand out from the zillions of other sites on the Internet. Plus, that way you will never have to try and obtain in-bound links – you will become a link magnet automatically!
- Killer Keyword Research
Simply put, nothing else in SEO matters if you don’t get the foundation of your SEO right from the get-go. The foundation of all great SEO is made up of excellent Keyword research and selection. Along with this, never aim for highly competitive keywords when optimizing a site. Use the “long tail” approach and go for a wider reach. If you are in a niche market or your keywords are not highly competitive, then go for the targeted keyword selection approach. If not, go broad in your selection of keywords.
- Hot Damn Keyword-Rich Anchor Text and Domain Names
Use keyword-rich domain names. And again, uniqueness here will pay off hugely. Search engines and directories look at domain names when ranking pages, though the benefit of keywords in your domain is small. But to your searchers, it’s huge! These bolded keywords in your domain names will help you stand out in the SERPs.Search Engines factor link popularity into their ranking algorithms and look at the anchor text of in-bound links pointing to your site. Text used in an anchor link that points to your web site should always contain your keywords, if possible. Having these keywords in your domain encourages webmasters to use the same keywords in the anchor text when they grant you an in-bound link from their web site to yours. Simply put, if the keywords are in your domain, you will most likely get links pointing to your site with keywords in the important anchor text as well.
- Fabulous File Names, Folders and Paths
Just like domains, the keyword-rich theory also applies here. File names and folders should be short, easy to read and descriptive. The end result is that when your web page shows up in the SERPs, a searcher can immediately see relevant keywords in bold, from your domain name all the way down to the actual HTML file name.Keep the depth of the path shallow. This means, don’t bury web pages too deep. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if a user has to click more than three times to get to the relevant content within your web site, it’s buried too deep.
- Radical Relevant Content Wins Every Time
Search engine robots search text to index and rank your web pages. So, give them what they want – keyword rich relevant text. Write body text for humans first, search bots second. Also, try to put yourself in your searchers’ shoes. Ask yourself – What might people be typing into Google’s search query field to find my web site? Then play the search “dating game” and give them what they want: relevant content and keywords sprinkled throughout the text. There are tens of thousand of opinions on how much text should be on a page. Use common sense and visually look at your page. Does it look skimpy in regards to how much relevant content you are trying to give searchers? My rule is a minimum of two hundred fifty words and above of highly relevant information. If a searcher has to scroll down more than a few inches “below the fold,” then I have too much text on the page.
- Poignant Page Titles Rock
Web page titles weigh heavily in the algorithms of search engines and are not only important to them, but are also part of the first impression searchers usually look at after they perform a search query of your listing. It is crucial that you have your top keywords strategically placed in your page titles in the order that a searcher typed into the query field (or at least in close proximity). Put your most important category keywords at the beginning, in order of search importance. If you are optimizing a page for a company name or brand name, then consider separate web pages for each. A few good rules are: each page should be unique, with three major keywords for each web page, and three less important keywords.
- Meaningful Meta Keyword & Description Tags
Many SEO experts say search engine keyword / description Meta tags are no longer or rarely used – I don’t agree. The proof is that a well-written Meta description tag for many of my clients is in fact picked up in the SERPs! Sometimes a snippet of it is used, along with a snippet of keyword-rich body text. Search engines change and tweak their algorithms all the time. They may, or may not, put more importance on meta tags in the future. I’ll keep playing it safe and use them.Writing a good description tag with a call to action that mentions “free shipping” or a “gift with a purchase” is certainly better than no description at all. Surveys of web searchers show that what searchers read most often is the search query description. Gathering a big juicy list of Meta keywords together helps the professional optimizer focus on which keywords are truly relevant to each and every web page – even if you only use a fraction of those keywords on the actual page.
- Hell of a Heading (H1 – H6 tags)
I love these for two important reasons. Always remember: searchers scan text before reading text!Reason 1: The search engines appear to rate my client’s web pages really well when ever I use them.Reason 2: The other benefit is for searchers. Big, bold headings point out what’s on the page. Searchers scan the headings way before they commit to reading the body text. When a searcher clicks your listing in the SERPs and lands on one of your pages, they will read on if the headings contain their keywords. If they don’t contain the keywords, they take off in search of a site that has what they are looking for. Headings stand out and are “scan friendly,” so use them whenever you can.
- Love Those Links!
- Quick SEO Ranking Tricks and Guarantees (Yeah, right)
There aren’t any guarantees. Bottom line, if you’re the impatient type, you are not going to have any patience for SEO at all. SEO takes time. I repeat, TIME as in “months of time.” If you are the impatient type, I recommend that you open a Google AdWords or Yahoo Search Marketing account, which will suit you much better than doing your own SEO. There is a very good reason that unethical SEO is called “black hat ” SEO. Taking the incredible risk of trying to do anything unethical with the search engines or with searchers will get you banned.