Achieving a high ranking in the search results at Google and other search sites is, for many websites, the primary means of attracting new visitors and increasing traffic. That’s why it’s important to optimize your site for search, using various search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. The better optimized your site, the higher it will appear in the search rankings—and the more traffic you’ll attract.
With that in mind, here are 10 SEO tips that you can use with any website, no matter what the site’s content. Follow the advice here and you’ll likely improve your ranking!
TIP #1: Improve Your Content
Ultimately, people visit a given website because it has valuable content. If the content isn’t any good, all the SEO in the world won’t create new visitors.
That’s why of all the SEO tips in the world, the one that has the biggest impact is improving your website’s content. It’s simple: The better your site is, content-wise, the higher it will rank.
You see, when it comes to search rank, content is king. Ultimately, the better search engines find some way to figure out what your site is all about; the higher quality and more relevant your site’s content is to a particular search, the more likely it is that a search engine will rank your site higher in its results.
So forget all about fancy keywords and technical META tags for the time being, and focus on what it is your site does and says.
If your site is about NASCAR racing, work to make it the most content-rich site about NASCAR you can; if it’s about aquariums, make it the highest-quality aquarium site possible. Don’t skimp on the content—the more and more relevant content you have, the better.
Here’s what you need to remember: SEO isn’t about technological tricks. It’s about making your site more useful to visitors—and that means providing the best possible content you can. Everything else follows from this.
TIP #2: Create a Clear Organization and Hierarchy
Here’s an important fact: Web crawlers for the major search sites can find more content on a web page and more web pages on a website if that content and those pages are in a clear hierarchical organization.
Let’s look at page organization first. You want to think of each web page as a mini-outline. The most important information should be in major headings, with lesser information in subheadings beneath the major headings.
One way to do this is via standard HTML heading tags, with the most important information in H1 tags, the next most-important in H2 tags, and less-important information in H3 tags.
This approach is also appropriate for your entire site layout. Your home page should contain the most important information, with subsidiary pages branching out from that containing less important information—and even more subpages branching out from those. The most important info should be visible when a site is first accessed via the home page; additional info should be no more than a click or two away.
TIP #3: Fine-Tune Your Keywords
Just as important as a page’s layout is the page’s content in terms of keywords. A keyword is a word or phrase that the user searches for.
In determining search ranking, the major search engines look to determine how important a keyword or phrase is on your page. They do this by seeing where on the page the keyword is used and how many times it’s used. A site with a keyword buried near the bottom of a page will rank lower than one with the keyword placed near the top or used repeatedly in the page’s text. It’s not a foolproof way of determining importance and appropriateness, but it’s a good first stab at it.
When various search engines examine your page, they look for the most important words—those words used in the site’s title or headings, those words that appear in the opening paragraph, and those words that are repeated throughout the page. The more and more prominently you include a word on your page, the more important a search engine will think it is to your site.
For this reason, you want to make sure that each and every page on your site contains the keywords that users might use to search for your pages. If your site is all about drums, make sure your pages include words like “drums,” “percussion,” “sticks,” “heads,” “cymbals,” “snare,” and the like. If your site is about dogs, include words like “dog,” “puppy,” “canine,” “beagle,” “collie,” “dachshund,” and such.
Try to think through how you would search for this information, and work those keywords into your content.
TIP #4: Tweak Your META Tags
A search engine looks not just to the text that visitors see when trying to determine the content of your site. Also important is the presence of keywords in your site’s HTML code—specifically within the META tag.
The META tag includes metadata about your site, such as your site’s name and keyword “content.” This tag appears in the head of your HTML document, before the BODY tag and its contents.
It’s easy enough for a search engine to locate the META tag and read the data contained within. If a site’s metadata is properly indicated, this gives the search engine a good first idea about what content is included on this page.
Fortunately, you can insert multiple META tags into the head of your document, and each tag can contain a number of different attributes. For example, you can assign attributes for your page’s name, a description, and keywords to the META tag.
You use separate META tags to define different attributes using the following format:
META NAME=”attribute” CONTENT=”items”NOTE
In the previous line of code, replace attribute with the name of the particular attribute, and items with the keywords or description of that attribute.
For example, to include a description of your web page, enter this line of code:
META NAME=”DESCRIPTION” CONTENT=”All about stamp collecting”
To include a list of keywords, use the following code:
META NAME=”KEYWORDS” CONTENT=”keyword1, keyword2, keyword3″
TIP #5: Solicit Inbound Links
Google got to be Google by recognizing that web rankings could be somewhat of a popularity contest; that is, if a site got a lot of traffic, there was probably a good reason why. A useless site wouldn’t attract a lot of visitors (at least not long term), nor would it inspire other sites to link to it.
So if a site has a lot of other sites linking back to it, it’s probably because that site offers useful information relevant to the site doing the linking. The more links to a given site, the more useful it probably is.
Google took this to heart and developed its own algorithm, dubbed PageRank, which is based first and foremost on the number and quality of sites that link to a particular page.
If your site has a hundred sites linking to it, for example, it should rank higher in Google’s search results than a similar site with only ten sites linking to it. Yes, it’s a popularity contest, but one that has proven uncannily accurate in providing relevant results to Google’s users.
And it’s not just the quantity of links; it’s also the quality. That is, a site that includes content that is relative to your page is more important than just some random site that links to your page. For example, if you have a site about NASCAR racing, you’ll get more oomph with a link from another NASCAR-related site than you would with a link from a site about Barbie dolls. Relevance matters.
So when it comes to increasing your rankings at Google (which is, far and away, the largest and most important search engine), you can get a big impact by getting more higher-quality sites to link back to your site.
There are a number of ways to do this: from just waiting for the links to roll in to actively soliciting links from other sites. You can even pay other sites to link
back to your site; when it comes to increasing your site’s search ranking, little is out of bounds. But however you do, increasing the number and quality of inbound links is essential.
TIP #6: Submit Your Site
While you could wait for the each search engine’s crawler to find your site on the Web, a more proactive approach is to manually submit your site for inclusion in each engine’s web index. It’s an easy process—and one that every webmaster should master.
Fortunately, submitting your site to a search engine is an easy process. In fact, it’s probably the easiest part of the SEO process. All you have to do is go the submission page for each search engine, as noted here:
•Windows Live Search: search.msn.com.sg/docs/submit.aspx
As easy as this site submittal process is, some webmasters prefer to offload the task to a site submittal service. These services let you enter your URL once and then submit it to multiple search engines and directories; they handle all the details required by each search engine. Given that many of these services are free, it’s not a bad way to go.
TIP #7: Create a Sitemap
Here’s something else that you can submit to increase your site’s ranking: a sitemap. A sitemap is a map of all the URLs in your entire website, listed in hierarchical order. Search engines can use this sitemap to determine what’s where on your site, find otherwise-hidden URLs on deeply buried pages, and speed up their indexing process. In addition, whenever you update the pages on your website, submitting an updated sitemap helps keep the search engines up-to-date.
The big three search engines (Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search), along with Ask.com, all support a single sitemap standard. This means you can create just one sitemap that all the search engines can use; you don’t have to worry about different formats for different engines.
Your sitemap is created in a separate XML file. This file contains the distinct URLs of all the pages on your website. When a searchbot reads the sitemap file, it learns about all the pages on your website—and can then crawl all those pages for submittal to the search engine’s index.
By the way, the new unified sitemap format allows for autodiscovery of your site’s sitemap file. Previously, you had to notify each search engine separately about the location of each file on your site. Now you can do this universally by specifying the file’s location in your site’s robots.txt file.
While you could create a sitemap file by hand, it’s far easier to generate that sitemap automatically. To that end, many third-party sitemap-generator tools exist for just that purpose. For most of these tools, generating a sitemap is as simple as entering your home page URL and then pressing a button.
The tool now crawls your website and automatically generates a sitemap file; once the sitemap file is generated, you can then upload it to the root directory of your website, reference it in your robots.txt file, and, if you like, submit it directly to each of the major search engines.
TIP #8: Use Text Instead of Images
It’s important to know that today’s generation of search engines parse only text content; they can’t figure out what a picture or video or Flash animation is about, unless you describe it in the text. So if you use graphic buttons or banners (instead of plain text) to convey important information, the search engines simply won’t see it. You need to put every piece of important information somewhere in the text of the page—even if it’s duplicated in a banner or graphic.
So if you use images on your site, which you probably do, make sure that you use the ALT tag for each image—and assign meaningful keywords to the image via this tag. A searchbot will read the ALT tag text; it can’t figure out what an image is without it.
TIP #9: Update Your Content Frequently
It pays to constantly update your site. Because most searchbots crawl the Web with some frequency, looking for pages that have changed or updated content, your ranking can be affected if your site hasn’t changed in a while. So you’ll want to make sure that you change your content on a regular basis; in particular, changing the content of your heading tags can have a big impact on how “fresh” the search engine thinks your site is.
TIP #10: Know Your Customer
This final tip is a piece of business advice I’ve been hawking for the past two decades. Everything you do in business—or on your website—should come in service to your customers. You don’t develop a new product just because you have the capability; you do it because it’s something your customers want.
To that end, knowing what your customers want is the most important part of your business. If you know your customers, you can develop a website that they will want to visit—and that search engines will want to rank highly. Know what your customers want and you’ll know what kind of content to create, and how to present that content.
And because SEO starts with your optimizing site’s content, the better and more relevant that content, the higher your site will rank with Google, Yahoo!, and the other search engines.
Know your customer, and everything else follows.
You can’t swing a dead cat nowadays in Winnipeg without hitting a self-proclaimed SEO expert. Just about every web design worker and internet company is deeming themselves real masters of search engine optimization.
Most of them are liars.
People tweak a few title tags and do some casual keyword research, (one recently even stole my title and description) and call themselves experts. These guys are the same ones who tell women they meet at the bar that they make seven figures and have a house in Fiji. When in reality, they live with their parents and lease their BMW.
The truth is, SEO is pretty complicated, and the rules that govern good search engine rankings change more often than the guards outside Buckingham Palace.
To be a real expert in the process of improving your position in Google requires a solid understanding of Google’s complex algorithm, which determines what site occupies that position.
The best search engine optimization specialists have been in the business for years and are constantly involved in implementing and testing new strategies and techniques. They live and breath keyword density, anchor text analysis, crawl tests and permalink structures.
In reality, there’s only a handful of real SEO experts out there. I’ve personally met and dealt with hundreds of search engine aficionados, some relatively knowledgeable of the SEO best practices.
But only two or three people I’ve met are real SEO warriors. These are the people that grabbed Google’s top spot for ridiculously competitive terms in tough markets such as travel, car insurance, mortgages and pharmaceuticals.
Casual SEO workers drown in these areas.
Needless to say, most people fall short of expectations.
If you want to know who some of the best search engine optimization specialists are, try a simple Google search for seo marketing or seo world expert. The sites coming out on the top 10 (not sponsored links) are probably pretty good at their craft.
Getting listed within your town or city is a piece of cake for most, but do they come up nationally or global? NOPE.
Just for the record for the wannabe seo’s in Winnipeg, you cannot learn SEO from books, forums or seminars, you can learn good practices which is totally different, sorry Aaron, people, Mr Wall does a great book called SEO Book which can be purchased to help beginners, I suggest you read this, then stick to what your good at.
My Granny had a great old saying, People in glass houses should not through stones.
The imminent death of SEO has been a hot topic amongst SEO professionals for quite some time now. Some SEO professionals worry that their careers are in jeopardy since search engines are continually making improvements to their technologies. Search engines are in the process of completely revamping their ranking strategies to fight spammers and improve user experience. For example, Google is currently improving intent and behavior-based search in order to provide more relevant search results. So what does this all mean for the future of SEO? Is the death of SEO an inevitable outcome of the advancement of search engines?
People have been predicting the end of SEO since the very beginning. While it’s certain that things on the SEO front are always changing and that search engines are getting smarter, SEOs will continually adapt to these changes just as they have in the past. As long as search engines list websites without requiring the websites to pay a fee, SEO will exist.
Google’s Improvements and What They Mean for the Future of SEO
In the quest to fight spam and improve user experience, Google is in the process of implementing a series of changes in behavior and intent-based search. Every person who conducts a search for a particular term will have different results based on their location and search history. As a result of these changes, search engine optimization have to switch from only targeting keywords to focus more on increasing traffic and conversions. A possibility is that link building will become far less important in the future of SEO because Google will determine the value of a website based on how visitors engage with it. The ultimate goal of websites will be to provide compelling content that entices visitors to read, share, bookmark, and so on.
Social input through voting is another feature that search engines are tinkering with in order to provide user-controlled rankings. Search engine users might have the chance to vote for sites they like and sites will get ranked based on such votes. The model will be similar what’s seen on social voting sites like Digg and Reddit. Of course, search engines will have to find a way to ensure that votes are made naturally in order to prevent black hat SEOs from fooling the search engine bots.
Google and other search engines are raising the bar in SEO. Initially, this will make it harder for SEO professionals to do their job but the end result is positive. Spammers and black hat SEOs will have more difficulty succeeding in their unscrupulous efforts and search engine users will be provided with content that is more relevant.
Humans, Not Machines
As always, the aim of webmasters and SEO professionals should be to appeal to humans. People spend so much time trying to trick the search engines that they forget who they are ultimately serving: people! Your site should be optimized but your priority should always be to fulfill needs and provide solutions. Considering the direction that SEO is going, human actions and behavior will ultimately determine rankings. Your SEO success depends on your ability to engage people through great content and social media marketing
Winnipeg based Fresh Traffic Group – one of the worlds leading Internet Search Marketing companies – today announce that they have acquired two Canadian web companies – Betop Internet Marketing and Red River web design – to operate under the Fresh Traffic umbrella.
Jerry Booth CEO of Fresh Traffic says “Having in house graphic and web designers can only help further the services already offered by Fresh. We can now build websites for our clients using all the good practices usually missed by other web design companies, that together with award winning search engine optimization and Internet marketing, will make for a very strong end product.”
The company started to relocate their headquarters to Winnipeg in September 08 with the goal of having the US & EEC offices acting as satellites. The latest acquisitions will only strengthen the Winnipeg, Canada link.
If you happen to look around, even slightly, you’ll learn that there is no “quick fix” when it comes to Search Engine Optimization. It’s an investment in yourself and your website, wherein you hope your content is better than the next guys.
But if you own the goose that lays the golden egg in your market niche, how can you possibly wrangle your way to the top of Google to shout out to the land? The tried, and true, SEO; correctly performed and implemented, and practiced will drive you there. But just like a journey of 1000 steps starts with the first, so does the journey to the top of the Search Engines starts with day 1 and building your site with proper coding, and SEO practices in mind.
In the first 30 days you’ll be noticed by the spiders, as they crawl your content and start finding where you fit into the billions of already indexed pages out there.
In the first 60 days, if you’ve built your site properly and have had optimization done onsite, you’ll start to see yourself climbing “the ladder” in your market niche. You may already start to make brief appearances in the top 20, exciting times for a new business.
Nearing the end of your first 100 days of properly constructed, and optimized site, your site will start to hang around consistently in the top 15 or so, top 10 if the search engines love your site, and perhaps top 5 if your market niche is that particular.
All in all, the first 100 days of a newly constructed, optimized site, can be viewed as a beginning benchmark to your strength within the index. If you’ve followed the rules, been properly optimized, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labours and investments for a long time to come.
Magic! Mysticism! Mystery!
Nope, guess again. Search Engine Optimization, is to a lot of people, full of magic and mystery. It has none of these qualities, yet when it’s done right, it can definitely provide the illusion of it.
Proper SEO, can change a companies future, drive internet marketing and sales, give that needed visibility for your campaign race, and more! When the rules are followed, and the steps are taken, it can be magic.
That being said, there’s the black magic out there of course. The not so legal tricks, cloaking, hiding text, keyword stuffing, just to name a couple. The temptations for fast results, often come with the just rewards, barring of your site, to outright banning your site from the index.
In the end, the good guys win, and the bad look for a new way to use their tricks.
Which hat will your hero wear?
What does SEO, American Idol and Hell’s Kitchen have in common?
Nothing really apart from the leading men are all Brits.
You have Simon Cowell the cocky straight talking British judge who just tells it as it is on Idol and other shows,and he is usually right. He also just happens to makes millions of dollars do so.
Then theirs Gordon Ramsay, the F Word expert chef in Hells Kitchen who curses more F’s B;s and C’s explicits in a 30 minute cook show than most people hear in a month.
Then you have Jerry Booth a World Renowned SEO Expert who has been called a mix of both the above.
I met Jerry over 9 years ago, I have worked with him on numerous occasions in that time with large and small clients worldwide, is he like the above? ABSOLUTELY.
Hot headed, quick tempered, impulsive, impatient and impossible. Hates taking orders, fearless, energetic, gloriously independent, wonderfully ambitious and eternally hungry for a new adventure.
There is of course, an element of truth in all this but there’s a lot more to the story. We’re talking about a wise thinker and careful planner, someone with amazing willpower and initiative, but above all that he is a WINNER.
So if you love Cowell and Ramsay, You’ll love Jerry, no ego’s get stroked,a few dented maybe, he treats everyone the same, I have been in his presence when telling some very famous people who most would be clambering for autographs, pictures or even fainting in there presence just exactly what he thought with explicits included.
The world is full of talkers, but not many do the walking too, here’s 3 that do.
Whenever I ask a prospect what their goals are, all too often their answer is, “We want to rank in the top three results for keywords A, B, and C.”
Is that really a goal?
Now, I understand that high rankings (or, rather, organic search traffic) are important. I sincerely believe that a sound organic search strategy should be the core of every business’s marketing efforts.
This goes back to the old adage of running a business (location, location, location). You must be where people are actively searching for your product or service offerings.
However, imagine that you had the perfect retail location and yet your storefront was filthy. Perhaps there isn’t as much as a sign with your company’s name on the front of the building. Perhaps, once you get into the location, not a single item has a price tag and the salespeople are nowhere to be found.
That traffic coming through your parking lot isn’t going to help much, is it?
There are three basic rules that you need to follow to have a successful Web presence:
1. Brand matters.
2. Usability matters.
3. Search engine optimization matters.
The look and feel of your Web site is a key component to success on the Web. For example, last summer, a retailer that was enjoying great rankings in the search engines approached my company about a possible redesign of their Web site.
When I pulled the site up, it was very evident that these folks needed a facelift (the site was very ’90s, with no brand — not even a logo — and it was poorly organized). This e-commerce Web site was typical of many: it was graphics-heavy (not even formatted consistently) and had little to offer in terms of (keyword-rich) product descriptions.
Bottom line: there was no way that I would drop my credit card info on this Web site. I didn’t trust it. If I were a common searcher, I’d probably spend about five seconds on the page that I landed on, then hit the back button and check out the next result.
Build a Web site that exudes credibility and trust with your target audience. Because online, a competitor is always next door to your perfect location. And, next door to them is another competitor. You get the picture?
OK, let’s assume your Web site looks great now. So, if you manage to get the traffic to your site, you probably want people to fill out a lead form, call you, or buy a product.
Too often, prospects tell me that a phone call is a major point of emphasis for them, yet you can’t easily find their phone number on their page. Check some of the most successful e-commerce or lead-gen Web sites and you’ll notice that most of them display their phone number on the top right of every page. Little things like this can have a dramatic impact on your success.
Every click/visitor to your Web site is valuable. Yet many don’t put the effort to get the most out of every click.
Once you get people to your site, what do you want them to do? Download a white paper? Sign up for a newsletter? Complete a lead form?
Now, be honest with yourself. Are you making this action obvious to your visitors? People on the Web have very short attention spans.
Search Engine Optimization Matters
Now, just because I put SEO last on this list doesn’t mean that this is the last thing you should do. Oh no. The creation of your information architecture absolutely should be done in conjunction with your SEO efforts.
Your SEO team should research (or at least approve) the content management system and coordinate the design and site development. SEO is the foundation of your efforts.
Funny thing about how SEO and usability go hand-in-hand. Visitors to your Web site like content. They may be researching and need to read those detailed product descriptions.
And, coincidentally, search engines like that content, too. So, the more search engine friendly you make your Web site, the more usable the site will become. If your content is good enough, people might want to link to your Web site.
You know what else users like? Blog content. They love finding “unbiased” helpful/resourceful information. They love reviews. They love forums.
Guess what. Search engines love this stuff, too! Ever seen Wikipedia show up in your searches on Google?
So, next time you’re trying to determine your SEO goals, stop for a moment and think about the bigger picture. SEO is just one part of Web success.
Okay Time to Tell and we know better than most
1) Never be over confident : Uphold some modesty and keep in mind that it doesnt matter how good things look for you now, there is much more work to continue.
2) Don’t keep all your targeted terms in one basket : Barack Obama knew that to win an election meant campaigning in a multi-tiered fashion. You can’t target just one region. You must keep hold on every segment of your market in terms that they can understand.
3) Begin early : It was 2 years before Barack Obama became President that he started campaigning for it. For Online, age is a factor. Start up early and hold a top position.
4) Newcomers can beat old veterans : First it was Hillary Clinton then it was John McCain. Just because the other guys have more experience doesn’t mean that the guy with new ideas can’t come out on top.
5) Don’t spend all your time in areas you know you’re going to win : You must target the swing states – that is, there are segments of the marketplace that can go your way or move closer to your competition. Focus on those segments and make a strong case for yourself.
6) Build up a team that covers up for your weaknesses : Obama selected Biden which made a big difference. All Obama where lacked, was in experience which was make up by his running mate. Build up your team in a similar manner and lead ahead.
7) Be positive : It doesnt matter what the enemy throws at you, stay positive and be focused. Always have a ray of hope.
8) Change : Make sure that if you offer change that it is change we need.
Remember, SEO is not a zero sum game. Barack Obama and Online team have lessons to teach us all – about Search Engine Optimization and about life.
With more than 70 million people getting their news online every day, your news is about more than just reaching the media.
Your news can be a powerful tool to directly reach the millions of people searching for information online, drive traffic to your website and maximize your online visibility.
News search engines like Yahoo! News and Google News offer a great way to direct targeted traffic to your website and help you generate awareness about a topic or your company.