Monday, June 27, 2011

Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Tips

SEO Tip #1: Find the Best Keywords
It would be a waste of your time to optimize your website for keywords that are not even being searched for. Even if you do get top placement for a broad keyword that isn't what most users are looking for, Google will calculate the number of times users did not select your listing, and the number of times they returned to the search results to choose a different website. Trying to beat this calculation is futile and more often then not, just a huge waste of time and energy.

SEO Tip #2: Discover What Your Competitors are Doing
It's a fact and one of my Top 10 SEO Tips, that search engines analyze incoming links to your website as part of their ranking criteria. Knowing how many incoming links your competitors have, will give you a fantastic edge. Of course, you still have to discover your competitors before you can analyze them.

SEO Tip #3: Write Very Linkable & Sharable Content
An article is not a sexy thing to look at here in today's online marketing world. Generic content can't be slapped together and thrown online with the hope that it will get high ranking for the life of that page of content.

SEO Tip #4: Optimize Your Title and Meta Tags
HTML titles and meta tags should be different on every page of your website if you wish for most search engines to store and list them in the search results. Us SEO Expert's have experimented with these two pieces of code to help us reach an accepted conclusion about how best to use them and what happens when you optimize them.

The meta "keywords" tag won't be discussed in to much detail here, since Google has announced that they do not use the meta keywords tag in their ranking criteria. Because Google has 64 percent market share in search, that should be enough to convince you to not spend a lot of time on this attribute.

SEO Tip #5: Optimizing Your Headings and Subheadings
In college and some high schools, essays are written using a standard guideline created by the Modern Language Association (MLA). These guidelines included how to write you cover page, title, paragraphs, how to cite references, etc. On the Web, we follow the W3C's guidelines as well as commonly accepted "best practices" for organizing a web page (page structure).

Headings play an important role in organizing information, so be sure to include ONLY ONE H1 tag when assembling your page, and optionally using one or more subheading (H2-H6).

SEO Tip #6: Use Title and ALT Attributes
Using the title attribute is a direct method of telling the search engines and the user more information about where a link will take them if they click through it. It's also a W3C standard for making your page accessible to those who are visually impared. In other words, blind folks can navigate through your website using a special browser that reads title and ALT attributes.

SEO Tip #7: Optimizing File Nomenclatures
Whenever possible, you should save your images, media, and web pages with the keywords in the file names. For example, if your keyword phrase is "golf putters" you'll want to save the images used on that page as golf-putters-01.jpg or golf_putters_01.jpg (either will work). It's not confirmed, but many SEO's have experienced improvement in ranking by renaming images and media. You also may receive visits from Google Images and other media search queries.

SEO Tip #8: Tell the Search Engines What to Index
It may take a lot of heat from the other SEO's out there for this one, especially because Google and other search engines have already helped reduce the amount of duplicate content indexed. However, when doing enough search queries that begin with "site:" to know that duplicate content is still a major issue. Worse, we get to see a lot of files showing up in the indexes that should be hidden from the world (case in study: all the free PDF's you're probably still downloading from SEO Tip #7).

SEO Tip #9: Feed Search Engines Static and XML Site Maps
Optimizing Your Static Site Map

PageRank is relative and shared throughout a website by a unique voting system created by Google. I could spend two days trying to explain how PageRank™ works, but what it comes down to is having efficient navigation throughout your site. That where a site map page comes in. Since every page on the website will be linked to the site map, it allows webcrawlers (and users) to quickly and easily find content. This SEO tip is one of my favorite of top 10 SEO tips.

It used to take 4 clicks to get to a product page at By creating a site map, users and search engines can now access any page on the site with only two clicks. The PageRank from these deep pages went from 0 to 2 in about 3 months and the ranking went from virtually not existent to #1 almost across the board for nearly 2,000 pages on their site.

SEO Tip #10: Use Checklists and Validators
There are several ways to validate the accuracy of your website's source code. The four most important, in my opinion, are validating your search engine optimization, HTML, CSS and insuring that you have no broken links or images.

Start by analyzing broken links. One of the W3C's Top 10 SEO Tips would be for you to use their tool to validate links. If you have a lot of links on your website, this could take awhile, so I recommend trying Xenu's Link Sleuth, which you can find on our SEO Software page.

Next, revisit the W3C to analyze HTML and CSS. Here is a link to the W3C's HTML Validation Tool and to their CSS Validation Tool. A new, unbelievable tool just came out that does much better than some of these older ones, and that is the Qualidator Site Analyzer tool, which you can also find listed in our SEO Software page.

The final step in the last of my Top 10 SEO Tips is to validate your search engine optimization. Without having to purchase software, the best online tool I know of for this (now) is my own SEO Audit List, which contains website-level SEO validation, webpage-level SEO structure and keyword optimization, and off-page SEO strategies you should have in your arsenal. You can also use and other online tools. However, they aren't as inclusive (yet) as my Audit Checklist.

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