Don’t you want to see your website at the top of the Google search? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of adjusting your website to make it search engine friendly. Every search engine has a similar searching and indexing algorithm, and SEO is the “art” of using that to your benefit. Below are a few tips to get you started. You may notice that even the simplest changes can increase your ranking dramatically.
- Content is still King
Content is the most important factor for SEO. The general rule is to write content for your visitors, not what you think the Search Engines want you to write. And remember, if you’re selling blue widgets, you don’t want your content to be about green gadgets, even if they are more popular. You want the appropriate content so that when visitors finally make it to your site, they will easily convert to customers!
And when you’re writing your content, make sure it is different from page to page, and don’t “borrow” too much content from other sources. If you have duplicate content all over the place, it will be devalued!
- Page Titles and URLs
Your page titles (contained within the <title> and </title> tags) should contain accurate description of the content on the page. Make sure you use different titles on every page, so you don’t face any duplicate content penalties. Try to avoid keyword stuffing, just use the most relevant keywords for that page and keep it short. Most search engines have a length limit, so you’ll want to keep it around 60 characters or less.
Also, when you name your pages make sure you use your keywords in the URL. You should separate the keywords using dashes or underscores. For example:
- External and Internal Links
There is a basic explanation behind this, the more web sites that are linking to you the more search engines will think that you have valuable or authoritative content. And as a result your ranking will increase. And if the higher ranked sites link you you, that gives you even more of a boost. For example, a link from a spammy looking directory with a Page Rank of 2 or 3 is not likely to help you very much. But a link from a Page Rank 8 or 9 “.edu” site can do wonders! Linking to good sites may also help. And always remove your broken internal links to be sure that engine spiders will be able to navigate to and index all of your pages.
- Description Meta Tags
Some search engines display the content from the <meta title=”description” content=”type-description-here”> tag under your link in the search results page. Be sure that it contains a good description of the content on each page. Be sure to include your keywords and keep the length restrictions in mind. It should be a shortened version of the content on the page, using your keywords and clear call to action.
- Be aware of important HTML tags and attributes
When building the content on your web pages, using tags such as <h1> and <h2> around your headings. Generally you want to ensure that your keywords are within these tags. The general rule of thumb is to use one <h1> per page. Also, if you are text linking to other pages within your site, make sure you put your link around the relevant keywords, not terms like “click here”. Finally, if you are adding images and image links, you can use the ALT attribute to describe the content of the image. This is good for SEO, but is also good for accessibility.
If you haven’t put any thought into SEO before, this should be enough to get you started on Optimizing your site. But this is just the tip of the iceberg, there is always more you can do and new ideas and techniques arise every day. If you have any other recommendations for beginners, we’d love to hear about them in the comments!