Here’s what you need to remember: SEO isn’t just about technological tricks. It’s about making your site more useful to visitors, and that means providing the best possible content you can. With this in mind, there are a few simple steps you can take before hiring a professional service like InviteSEO, that don’t take that much know-how. The following are the most useful tips I can give you on effective SEO:
Content is King
Repeat after me: “the first rule of SEO is, you don’t focus on SEO”. People visit a given blog or website because it has valuable content. If the content isn’t any good, all the SEO in the world won’t create new visitors. Leave the more technical aspects of SEO to the professionals and just focus on creating great content.
It’s simple: The better your site’s content is, the higher it will rank. If you have time, write the content yourself; update frequently, and aim to constantly improve the quality of each post. If you don’t have the time, then hire ghostwriters and freelancers or seek out contributions from guest bloggers looking to build a reputation of their own (but beware of having too high a percentage of posts from an external source, as they are building their own link weights with each new post).
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 technicaltags for the time being, and focus on what it is your site does and says.
If your site is about Dog breeding, work to make it the most content-rich site about Dog breeding you can; if it’s about food recipes and cooking tips, make it the highest-quality cooking tips blog out there. Aim to become a niche specialist before trying to do it all (as highly focused content will rank higher for specific search terms than more general content or content that varies wildly between each post).
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.
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
tags, the next most-important in
tags, and less-important information in
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.
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.
Tweak Your 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 thetag.
Thetag 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 thetag and its contents.
It’s easy enough for a search engine to locate thetag 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 multipletags 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 thetag.
You use separatetags to define different attributes using the following format:
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:
To include a list of keywords, use the following code:
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:
Bing Webmaster tools: http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster
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.
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 Microsoft’s Bing), 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.
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 thetag for each image—and assign meaningful keywords to the image via this tag. A searchbot will read thetag text; it can’t figure out what an image is without it.
Know Your Customer
This final trick 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.
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.
Claim your presence on all the major Social Media sites
This may sound simple (yet in some ways it can be challenging with all the new social media destination sites cropping up almost daily and many people forget to do it), but make sure you stake your claim to your domain name, username and/or actual name – depending on which you plan to use to market your website, products or services – on all of the most popular Social Networking Services (SNS) and Social Media tools of the day. You never know when another Facebook will crop up, so make sure to stay on top of the trends and register your brand to protect it from leechers, squatters or competitors. Lastly, if possible, try to link back to your site on every profile you create on these SNS sites and Social Media tools.
Get Backlinks and/or Create Reciprocal Links
Get your friends, colleagues and partners to link to your site’s main page (and possibly occasionally deep link to specific posts or content) whenever possible. This will create backlinks for Google’s PageRank algorithm to use in assessing the weight of your site in searches. If necessary, offer to link-back to entice people to give you a quality link.
However, be reminded that the times of simply buying a massive amount of backlinks overnight (such as on the black market from bulk backlinking resale provider or Mechanical Turk-like human powered backlink providers) are long-gone, and Google has made numerous tweaks to their core search and indexing algorithms to deliberately filter sites that engage in such behavior.
The sheer number of backlinks is not as important as the fact that each backlink comes from a high-quality, trusted source or authority with high PageRank, steady traffic and reputation itself.
Advertise for the Most High-Impact (but less commonly desirable) Terms
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.
That’s all for now, hope these come in handy. Don’t forget, we here at InviteSEO.com can do all these things for you and much, MUCH more…