SEO Tips for Basic Search Engine Optimization
Sometimes it’s easy for Internet companies and basic web sites to concentrate on paid search marketing, online ads, 2.0 style videos and tagging; while overlooking basic search engine optimization essentials which if implemented properly can result in incredibly low customer acquisition costs. Sharon Housley, who has been active in the SEO forums, blogs and discussion circles for years and also manages marketing for FeedForAll RSS feed and podcasting software, has put together a list of basic tips for search engine optimization.
Sharon says that “In order to perform well, a website must have traffic. Decent traffic will result if a website ranks well in search engines, that is why strong placement in search engines for critical keywords and phrases is essential. When struggling with search engine optimization just go back to the basics. What do search engines want? Search engines want to return search results, that are relevant and useful to the searcher.”
Here are 8 essential SEO tips:
1. CSS – Cascading Style Sheets. Use header tags and cascading style sheets in your website design. Many search engines value H1 and H2 tags more than others. The assumption is that header tags are used to highlight the most important items or themes that appear on a page. By using header tags, webmasters can bullet those keywords or phrases they deem to be most important. The CSS file will help your site load quickly and provide a consistent look and feel throughout the website.
2. Titles. A website is the collection of webpages under a single domain. A webpage refers to a specific page within a website. Unique page titles throughout a website is important. Websites typically contain many webpages and using unique titles on webpages will help highlight different key phrases while uniting all the website content in a single theme.
3. Related Links. Links from related or relevant sites are more important than generic links from unrelated websites. Links are seen as “votes” of quality content. Search engines weigh links from websites that contain related or similar content more importantly, than links from unrelated websites. Work to obtain relevant quality links from related or authority websites.
4. Anchor Text. Vary anchor text. Use a variety of phrases to link to a site. Using different anchor text to link to a website is seen by search engines as “natural” linking. Search engines use the anchor text of a websites incoming link as part of their algorithm to determine a websites theme.
5. Copy. A minimum of 200 words of copy is suggested for each web page. In order to spider a site a search engine must have sufficient copy to spider. Less does not necessarily mean more, when it comes to search engine ranking. In general try to keep copy “above the fold”, so that visitors don’t have to scroll. Copy above the fold is usually sufficient to determine the context of the webpage.
6. Fresh. Keep it fresh. Search engines take notice of how frequently content is updated or added. Search engines spider websites that update content on a frequent basis at regular intervals. Add new content or webpages daily or weekly to increase a search engine spider’s frequency.
7. Consistent. Provide quality, consistent, fresh content. Consistent related content is critical to encouraging both visitors and search engines to return. Providing consistent quality content encourages links which will increase a websites popularity.
8. Themed. Relate the contents of a website by a single theme. Uniting content using contextual words will help websites rank well for less critical but very targeted related keywords and phrases.
And for those who are looking for shortcuts into the search engine results which may only last for the short term but get your site booted after 6 months or so, Sharon lists these questionable techniques to stay away from:
1. Keyword Stuffing. Don’t stuff web pages with keywords that is similar to or the same as the webpages background color. Most search engines have ways to detect keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing will likely result in a search engine ban.
2. Cloaking. Cloaking is when the website identifies the IP address of a search engine spider and feeds the spider content that it is not really on the page. Essentially the search engine sees optimized content that is not currently on the web page that it is spidered. It is difficult for search engines to detect cloaking, but if a site is banned or cloaking it is very difficult to convince a search engine to relist the content.
3. Don’t Sacrifice Quality Don’t sacrifice quality for optimization. While search engine optimization is important, it is equally important that the content on a webpage should make sense. Placing well in search engines at the expense of a quality professional image with decent web copy, will not usually result in sales. It is a matter of striking a balance.
4. Spam. Not much to be said about this one, don’t spam. Don’t spam search engines, don’t conduct email spam campaigns, and don’t spam forums. Being labeled a spammer is a hard reputation to shed.