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September 21, 2011

7 Simple SEO Tips That Will Help Your Search Engine Rankings

With so much SEO advice being dispensed nowadays, it’s hard to know what you should or shouldn’t believe. It can be especially difficult for Internet Marketing newbies to separate the wheat from the chaff, however, there ARE proven SEO tips and techniques that virtually every SEO expert agrees work and are very effective.

Following are 7 simple SEO tips that will help your search engine rankings:

1. Have Fast-Loading Pages

You may not be aware of this, but page load-speed is now one of the more than 200 signals Google uses to determine the ranking of web pages in the search results. As a result, it is more important than ever that your pages load quickly. Slow loading pages are annoying to searchers and affect their ability to access content quickly. This is viewed as a negative user-experience by Google and can have an adverse effect on your rankings.

You can quickly check your page speed at Page Speed Online, a free web application
offered by Googlelabs. This tool tests the speed of your page and gives it a score from 1-100, based on the performance of your page. The Page Speed Score indicates how much faster a page could be. A high score indicates little room for improvement, while a lower score indicates more room for improvement. In other words, the higher the score, the better. The Page Speed Score does not measure the time it takes for a page to load – just whether or not it loads quickly. Here are some things you can do to speed up your pages:

o Avoid Redirects – a common redirect that many designers use is unintentional – they leave off the trailing slash on a URL which forces a redirect to the directory name with the slash. Redirects also happen when you move a page or site – change the URL to point to the new location when you link to a redirected page.

o Avoid 404’s – while a useful 404 page is important for your customers’ experience on your site, you don’t want to link to them, as they generate another HTTP request that provides no value. This is especially important with images on your page.

o Optimize Images – keep the images small. (Source: How to Speed Up Web Pages)

2. The Trust Factor

Believe it or not, the trustworthiness of your site – or lack thereof, has an effect on your rankings. So the more things you can do to make your site appear trustworthy, the better. Some steps you can take to improve the trustworthiness of your site include having a clear privacy policy if you collect personal information. Tell people what you’re going to do with their information. They have a right to know.

Also, at the very least, provide an e-mail address on your site for customers to contact you. In addition, create an “About Us” page. Provide the names of the owner(s) and employees, if you have any. Be sure to include pictures and brief biographies. The worst thing you can do is give the appearance you want to be anonymous, which obviously generates suspicion.

And don’t underestimate the power of testimonials. Just make sure they’re legitimate and verifiable. Otherwise, you risk getting into trouble with the FTC.

3. Create an Effective Title-Tag

The title tag is a critically important factor in achieving high search engine rankings. For those of you who don’t know what a title-tag is, it’s the words displayed at the top of your browser. It is also used as the title of your website in the SERP’s (search engine results pages). Therefore, you should put plenty of thought into writing your title tag – to make sure it’s as effective as possible. Your title-tag should also
contain specific keyword phrases, in addition to the name of your company.

For example, suppose your company name is “ABC Home Remodeling,” a home remodeling company in New York, you would want your company’s website to appear in the search engine results for searches on phrases such as “New York home remodeling” and “home remodeling in New York.” If you prefer to work with homeowners only in the Albany area, you would need to be geographically specific in your title-tag. For example, “Albany home remodeling.”

What about meta-tags? Aren’t they important too? Opinions vary on the importance of meta-tags, but in my opinion, they’re not as important as they once were. They won’t have a significant impact on your rankings one way or the other. But if you want to use them, it certainly won’t hurt anything – provided you don’t abuse them (i.e. keyword stuffing).

4. Publish Quality, Relevant Content

In case you haven’t heard, sites like EzineArticles, Buzzle and Associated Content got absolutely hammered by the recent Panda update. But why? Those sites have been around for years, and have a ton of quality content. Unfortunately, much of their content is also low-quality. When explaining the Panda update, Google said it was important for high-quality sites to be rewarded. By punishing the titans of article directories, Google sent a powerful message about quality.

But it’s not enough to just publish quality content. Your content also needs to be relevant to the overall theme of your site. Google places a tremendous amount of value on relevancy. So do everything you can to make sure your pages are as relevant as possible and accurately reflect your site’s actual content.

5. Syndicate Your Content

Content syndication is a simple, effective and proven SEO method. When I say content syndication, I’m referring to two types of syndication in particular: RSS feeds and article submission. RSS (an acronym for Really Simple Syndication) syndicates your web content, making it easily accessible to other sites and helps build inbound links, making RSS an extremely powerful SEO strategy.

If you use any of the popular blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress, you already have a built-in RSS feed. If your website doesn’t have a built-in RSS feed and you’re technically savvy, you can create your own by following the instructions in Anatomy of an RSS File. Or, if you’re technically challenged like I am, you can use a service like RapidFeeds.com.

Article submission is the second type of content syndication I referred to. Basically, there are two ways you can submit your articles. 1. To article directories and 2. Directly to publishers. I prefer to submit my articles directly to publishers because it gives me control over where my articles are published.

If you submit to article directories, there’s a good chance your article will get buried among the thousands of other article submissions. In addition, once submitted, your articles are available to be published by anyone. That means your articles have the very real potential of being published by low-quality sites, which could effectively damage your site’s reputation with the search engines.

6. Authority, Authority, Authority

Authority sites are considered authoritative for a reason. It’s because people trust their content. That’s why authority sites rank so highly in Google’s SERP’s.

So what exactly is an authority site?

Definitions vary, but my own personal definition of an authority site is “a site that is linked to and respected by thousands of people who often reference its material.”

Authority sites have quality content and consistently show keyword to content relevancy. If you write articles, instead of submitting them to article directories which have diminishing link value, instead, submit them to top authority sites like Problogger, SiteProNews, WebProNews, PromotionWorld, Copyblogger, SearchEngineJournal and others. And while it might be considerably more difficult to get your articles accepted and published by those sites, the fact that Google places such high value on links from authority sites makes it worth the effort.

7. Social Networking Matters

While only Google knows for sure how much of an impact social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others actually have on search results, the fact that it’s providing real-time social sharing is an indication that Google takes participation in social networking sites seriously. And if Google takes social networking seriously, then, common sense suggests, social networking participation will help your SEO efforts.


David Jackson is a marketing consultant, and the owner of Free-Marketing-Tips-Blog.com – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business! http://free-marketing-tips-blog.com

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