I'm going to blow the lid off of SEO – well how many times have you read that same line. Many times, as I have, I'm sure. That's where we are with SEO at this point in time. There has been so many people who claim to have "figured it all out" or "broken Googles' code" then they want beau coup bucks to share the wealth. Well I'll give you 7 tips and it will not cost you a dime.
First what is SEO? It's search engine optimization all that means is your web page is ready and willing for search engines to come through and "crawl" (read) it.
Your aim is to rank as high as possible for your particular key phrase / keywords. The below tips will help you achieve real sustainable results. Many of the ebooks and programs you see all over the internet really do or did work but they exploit a certain weaknesses in a search engines program. The problem with following this type of program is that you do not have long term results. You may climb fast but when the search engine figures out their weaknesses and shuts the door – you are gone from the search rankings. The tips I'll show you are not new and you may only get modest results but they will be sustainable.
Tip 1 – A Search Engines main goal is to bring back users time and time again. The way they achieve this is to give people what they want by giving them what they were looking for. Most Search Engines try to rank content on how relevant it is to the users search.
Tip 2 – The search engines look at the meta tags – title, description then h1, h2, your content bold and italic tags and from all that info the search engine creates a relevancy score for your page for various search terms. Keyword tags seem to be used by half the search engines in that score. It certainly will not hurt to use them. Some may argue this point but this is based on my experience of 11 years in the biz. There are more in depth discussions about the actual formula but this is basic SEO.
Tip 3 – Content is KING, bottom line your content will get you ranked well. It also keeps your visitors coming back. There is no substitute for well written RELEVANT content. Really, if you are selling snowshoes you do not want to say you are selling swim suits – unless you are selling them too. It will frustrate the user and they'll remember – trust me – that you misled them.
Tip 4- Do not try to be everything to everyone. For each page of your site decide on 3 or 4 keywords / key phrases that you want to optimize for. Many people make the mistake of trying to pack literally hundreds of keywords into one page all that does is dilute your message.
Tip 5 – Use your main idea, (key phrase) in your title, description, keyword, h1 or h2 tags and bold it in your content. These practices will insure that your page is well constructed and the search engines will see it as more relevant. Do not bother using filler for the rest of your content. Make sure it's pertinent to the topic, it will all help in raising your content relevancy score.
Tip 6 – Use cascading style sheets (css). CSS is a way for your site to look very fresh and clean but be very very search engine friendly. CSS usually has less html between the header and design than traditional html sites. This format allows the search engine bots to quickly get to the content and links of your site.
Tip 7 Avoid Flash – well not entirely but it does have it's place. Flash sites can be SEO'ed but it's not as easy as html / css / dynamic sites. If you are just starting off, please do not go with an all flash site. It will make your SEO job so much harder – yeah they look cool but will not do much good if you are the only one looking at them.
Just a footnote. I had a inquiry from a prospect at my day job that wanted a quote to optimize their website. So I did some preliminary research and saw their site was all flash, not only that but it was a multi-page flash site all on one HTML page. So when I searched in Google for all the pages that Google had indexed it only returned one result. The "real" site was 37 pages. The only thing that Google had indexed was their page title. YIKES. It was a great looking – probably expensive site but it will not do any good if no one can find it …!
Part 2 of this series will deal with what you can do after you've built your finely crafted pages – this part is wicked cool and best yet FREE!