The import of search engine optimisation (SEO) is becoming relevant more than ever now due to the sheer amount that people do online on day to day basis. There is a huge opportunity when using SEO increase traffic, however at the same time it’s important to have sound advice as damage can be done if you don’t take the right steps.
This article contains some essential SEO tips to get you started. Keep in mind SEO is not a quick fix, or quick way to get a bunch of traffic to your site. It can take a few weeks to months to see improvements – so be patient!
- Research & Measure:
The first stage to any SEO campaign should include doing research on the keywords you plan on targeting, and then setting up monitoring to see whether the changes you are making are actually helping. After all there is no point in making any changes if you can’t tell if they are effective or not!Researching keywords is an easy (and addictive!) task if you use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool ( https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool). Through the Keyword Tool you can search for keyword search volume both locally (by country) or globally, you can also get recommendations on similar keywords you could use. Finding keywords that have a decent search volume, but have low competition is usually the best way to start off with. If you go after the keywords with the highest search volume, and highest competition it’s a lot harder to get decent rankings.To measure traffic to your site, Google Analytics is very easy to setup.If you want to see more information about what rankings you have, or find information about links to your website I’d highly recommend the http://ahrefs.com tool. I use this quite regularly and it has a ton of very useful information.
- Content Is King:
Google’s aim is to serve the information you are looking for as quickly as possible and it be as relevant as possible. So what Google wants to see on your site is unique content (not copied) that the user wants to read and is relevant to what they are searching.Regularly updating your website (i.e. using a blog, and posting regularly) is a must as well, Google likes to see up to date information.
Lately Google has been focusing a fair amount of their attention on tweaking their search algorithms to take into account site usability. This includes colour schemes, clear navigation, clear layout, etc. This ties in with the same approach Google has on content, if your site has great content but not exactly the most user friendly site, and another website has the same content as you but does have a user friendly site, Google will want to rank the site with better usability.
- On Page Content Optimisation:
There are some basic guidelines you should follow on each page on your site, these include:
– Use a descriptive page title, it should contain the keyword you are targeting on the page but shouldn’t be too long or too spammy.
– Metatags are no longer really relevant anymore in search engine rankings, so while you can still use them they won’t make much of a difference.
– Use h1->h6 tags & bold tags throughout each page, however only every use h1 tags once (i.e. for the main heading on the page), and the others where emphasis needs to be shown. However each should be used within reason, if a whole page of h2, Google will pick on this.
- Internal Linking:
There are a number of factors that will effect your rankings that you need to take into consideration when doing your internal linking on your site:
– Use alt tags if you are using images as links.
– For text links the anchor text should be using keywords that you are targeting on the target page.
– Creating a site-wide link (i.e. in the navigation bar) for the pages you want to send more link juice is recommended, especially if you are targeting a more competitive keyword on that page.
- Incoming Links:
Arguably the most important part to ensuring your site gets great rankings is ensuring that you have good quality incoming links from trusted websites. One of the biggest portions of Google’s ranking algorithm is measuring the number of sites that link to your site, the source sites relevancy, trust, and how many links incoming links going to the source site.Links from dodgy neighborhoods, bought links, or becoming part of a link network solely to help increase your rankings is not recommended and in fact may result in your site being penalised!
- URL Structure:
Make sure your URLs are SEO friendly: Google doesn’t like dynamic URLs, and would much rather see a URL such as yourdomain.com/widgets/pricing.html instead of yourdomain.com/index.php?product=widgets&page=pricingYou should also include the search term you are targeting in the URL for a specific page as well, as this will help with the ranking of the page.
Happy SEOing! This is the first article about SEO, and I plan to write a few more which will dive a bit deeper into detail – so keep an eye out for them. If you have any questions about this article, or about SEO in general please comment!
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