Search Engine Optimization is ever evolving world, techniques are constantly changing as the search engines also evolve to try to weed out spammers to make the web a more level playing field. It’s BIG business these days and SEO companies will charge you thousands for a simple campaign. I’m going to let you in on all the tips and tricks I have picked up over my years as a web designer gratis! Please add your own tips in comments…
The Old & The New
SEO used to be all about meta tags (descriptive lines of html code listing your key words) but things have changed. Most search engines now ignore the keywords meta tag. They were abused so badly by search spammers that they no longer hold much value, but it can’t hurt, so use them anyway but keep it to only 10 keywords. Similarly image ‘alt’ tags no longer hold much value, but use them anyway.
Simple old fashioned SEO from the ground up
Use the keyword once in the title, once in the description meta tag, once in a heading (h1, h2, etc), once in the URL, once in bold, once in italics, and once high on the page. Try to hit a keyword density of five to twenty percent. Use good sentences and spell check it. Make sure your site is crawl-able by ensuring you have text links somewhere on each page (not just a Flash menu).
– A well written title tag that includes your keywords, but in a readable way. Do this for every page if possible.
– A well written description meta tag that includes your main keywords, particularly on your ‘home/index’ page.
– Good semantic markup, including heading tags, bolding etc.
– Good content, relevant to your keywords (if it’s not relevant it may rank well but people won’t stay).
– Smart site architecture that silos content into relevant topics.
– File names and internal links that contain keywords where possible.
– Repeat main keywords in the page title, description meta, keywords meta, body content and image alt tags.
Search engines are pretty sophisticated analyzers of keywords now. You don’t necessarily need to go after both plural and singular – unless your keyword is very non-competitive, pick one.
New School (and no html required)
Once your pages are nice and dense with keywords it’s time to start getting some links back to your site from the web. Most search engines give a lot of weight to link-backs as it is a reasonable gauge of your site’s popularity. Link-backs are a fantastic was of boosting your page rank and for this part of SEO. In most cases you don’t need to edit your pages or use any html. Get browsing for websites – particularly community websites – related to yours and try to get a link on each site.
– Social Bookmarking: There a stacks of social bookmarking sites on the web that allow users to submit links (see the button at the top of the left menu for a few). These are typically used to recommend interesting content and news to other users. Sign up to some of them, get involved in the community, particualarly in areas related to yours; Make new posts that link to pages of your website, don’t just say ‘click here, buy my product/service’ or use marketing lingo and try to link to something that is either informative, funny, out of the ordinary, or educational.
– Blogging: Comment on articles posted in blogs, they usually have a field in the comment for your website url… instant link-back! (you can do it by commenting on this post). Create your own blog and link it with your site, make it a service to your customers/clients – you have unique experience and knowledge, share it!
– Other community service sites: Link, link, link. Where ever you can get your link up, do it… join industry associations and communities, list in online business directories (usually free), if you have a shop map it on mapping sites, if you’re a resort get listed on accommodation sites like ozaccomm.com, you get the picture.
– Link Exchange: If your web site is commercial think of businesses that are related to yours, contact them and offer to put a link on your site to theirs in exchange for them adding a link to your site on theirs. Many businesses may even have an existing links page and/or an ‘add link’ link or similar. e.g. If you are a builder then contact online plumbers, plasterers, sparkys, real estate agents, ect.
Did I forget anything? Please add your own tips in the comments if you have any.