September 1, 2008
There are some very simple SEO techniques available for you to improve your search engine ranking. In the course of my normal analysis of competitors’ websites, I find an amazing number that does not employ all of these techniques, yet every one can help you get closer to that coveted #1 position.
Using these will not in itself allow you reach the top position for your keyword, but they definitely help, and there is no single factor that will enable you to hit the top. A #1 position on Google is attained by a combination of many factors, such as internal and external linking strategies, relevance of your content to the keyword and the overall look and feel of your site. Plus those detailed below.
So let’s get started on these: these are the nuts and bolts of SEO, and if they are not right then you are starting off on the back foot. These are the essential SEO techniques that you must have as a minimum if you want to improve your search engine ranking, and although intended mainly for beginners, many established web pages do not contain every one of these.
I write ‘pages’ deliberately, because Google and the other main search engines list web pages, and not entire domains. That means that every single page in your website should be optimized in the same way: each should contain every single one of the SEO techniques listed below.
The title tag is contained within the ‘HEAD’ tags of your HTML, before the ‘BODY’ tags. This states the title of the page, and must contain the major keywords of the page. The contents of your title tag do not appear in the text of the page: its purpose is to inform the search engine spiders what the topic of your page is, and what words are important (i.e. your main page keyword). For example, the TITLE tag of a page based on this article would be “SEO Techniques – Improve your Search Engine Ranking”.
The description Meta tag is used by Google, and other search engines, in the search engine listings. I have tested this with them all and Google uses it as is, while Yahoo uses part of it. You should provide a description of what the web page is about, and a simple check of the descriptions in other sites using your keyword on Google will show you how many words you can use to have the whole description included. About 20 words are fine.
Search engines rarely use the keyword Meta tag: Google ignores it completely. However, it doesn’t hurt, and can help in a small way. Include your brand name and your own name. That way some engines might show your pages if somebody is looking for your name. The other Meta tags have no SEO value, and do not help to improve your search engine ranking whatsoever.
HEADING H TAGS
Heading tags (H1, H2, . . .) are used by Google to determine the importance of the text contained in your headings. Use H1 tags for the main title of your page (you also use it in the TITLE tag, but that isn’t seen by readers, only by the spiders). Put subtitles in H2 tags. You can change the font size of the text within these tags.
Text in bold, italics and underscored are seen by the search engines as having greater weight, and so will be used in determining the relevance of your site. Always bolden your titles, and it also helps to underline it if it doesn’t make it look out of place.
WRITING STYLE and CONTENT
Do not write for algorithms (spiders): write for your readers. Always write for humans and you won’t go wrong. If your page content reads well, and has good vocabulary relating to the topic, then it will have a better chance of a higher listing than if you stuffed it full of keywords. I rarely use more than 1.5% – the keyword densities of the terms ‘SEO’, SEO techniques’ and ‘search engine ranking’ (the main keywords) of this article are 1.5, 0.87 and 0.87 respectively. Too many keywords is bad SEO, and could result in a poor listing for your page – if it is listed at all.
So there you are: six simple SEO techniques to improve your search engine ranking. It is surprising how many experienced webmasters fail to apply all of these: there is no excuse, and they are failing to get the nuts and bolts properly fitted and tightened on their web pages.
Apply these to every page and not only will you improve your SEO, but also your chances of a good search engine ranking. It is amazing how many web pages lack these basic SEO techniques.
Peter Nisbet – If you would like more advanced SEO techniques to help improve your search engine ranking considerably, check out SEOcious where Pete show you screenshots of how got two of his sites listed at #1 in the main search engines against strong competition.