SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. The purpose of SEO is to get your web site to rank well for certain specific keywords on search engines, so that you get more traffic to the site from those search engines.
SEO consists of two different activities; "on-page optimization" (basically things you do to the site itself), and "off-page optimization" (which is essentially building up links to your site coming from other sites.
Here are the top priorities in on-page optimization today:
- Conduct keyword research to find keywords with as high searches as possible, but with lower numbers of sites competing for those keywords.
- Write titles and descriptions utilizing the best keywords you have selected.
- Attach alt tags to your graphic and picture content utilizing your targeted keywords. These are tags that one can attach to picture files, and are just another valid way to put keywords onto a page.
- Use keywords in your H1, H2, and H3 tags, which are used to indicate headlines and sub-headlines.
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly, with responsive being the format that Google prefers. This will positively impact your ranking and negatively impact it if the site is not. You can test your site here.
- Your page loading speed should be low, under 4 seconds. If not this will negatively impact ranking. You can test that here.
- Ensure there is no duplicate content within the site, i.e. multiple pages with the same text.
- Put the primary keyword for a given page somewhere within the first 100 words of the main page text.
- Popup windows negatively impact rankings.
- Create a sitemap and submit it inside the Google Webmaster Tools interface.
- Having a ?terms of service? and ?privacy? page are considered a positive for rankings.
- Include your targeted keywords in the URL of the page, which in most cases means include the keyword in the name of the page.
- Longer text content is a positive and is shown in studies to cause pages to rank better. By longer we mean 1,500-2,000 words. This is a new one in that it used to be that SEO people recommended a minimum of 300 words per page. But research now shows that pages with 1,500-2,000 words do rank more highly. That?s not to say you are going to write 1,500 or more words for every page. But if you can write longer copy for several pages on your site, they will have a better chance of ranking more highly.
- Some experts are now saying that if you link FROM your web pages, to other high authority sites, that search engines interpret that to mean your site is more legit or authoritative. They say you should include 2-4 links per 1,000 words.
Many SEO experts today advise you on what you CAN’T do in off-page optimization. However, we feel this is non-productive because it won’t help you build up the links you still need to get good rankings and increase traffic. So we advise the following for link building today:
- Writing a press release about your business, and posting it to multiple free online PR sites, and at least one paid online PR site. The release should have links to your website within it. These online PR sites usually rank well themselves, so a link there counts for something. The paid online PR sites will usually get your release into multiple sites for newspapers and magazines. I have seen no evidence that these links are negative in any way, or that they don?t work anymore.
- Creating online business listings. You can create listings for your business on multiple business listing web sites, such as Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Local, Merchant Circle, Manta, Insider Pages, Hotfrog, etc. There is a virtually unlimited supply of these sites.
- Links to your site on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter now count as links to your site.
- Contacting the owners of blogs and asking to write a guest post for their blog, with a link back to your site, is good. Then you have to write unique content for that blog only. And obviously it has to be a topic you are actually an expert in. The challenge here is that there is a saturation aspect to this activity as well, as a lot of people are trying to do this, and so blog owners are getting a lot of these requests.
- Post your articles, releases or other content to your blog or blogs.
What You Shouldn?t Do
- We don?t recommend posting articles to article directories any more. Google has eliminated any benefit from it.
- Posting on a large blog network, either one that you created or one that belongs to someone else, is a no-no.
- Asking another website owner to link to you if you link to him, called reciprocal linking, was downgraded in value by Google several years ago.
- Linking to low-value directories is not advisable.
- Auto-posting comments on blogs using software.
- Most sources say you shouldn?t pay someone to link to your site.
Rules of Thumb:
Here are some rules of thumb relating to links from other sites to yours, and what is good and bad.
- Links from more important, popular, trusted sites give more value than less important, etc., sites.
- Links from sites that are ?relevant? to your site, i.e. in the same or a related industry, give more link value.
- Links to your site that are higher up on a page count more than links lower on a page.
- Links in the main text content of a page count more than links in the footer, sidebar, or navigation.
- It?s better to have 10 links to your site from 10 different sites, than 10 links to your site, all from the same site. This means that it is better to find more sites to get links from, than to continually add more links to your site from the same site or set of sites.
- Links in text give more value than links in alt tags (tags connected to images).
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