When you begin your SEO campaign, it can be difficult to separate myth from truth. It seems everyone has different ideas of what works and what doesn’t, and even someone who’s been in the business awhile can get confused as SEO trends, tactics, and techniques change over the years.
While there may be much discrepancy, these 17 tips for SEO are something most experts seem to agree on. Following these rules, you can avoid some common mistakes and launch a successful campaign.
1. Perform keyword research. This is a very important step in your SEO campaign, before you even begin. Thoroughly research all keywords you may want to use – this can make a huge difference in your strategy.
2. Don’t use the same Metas for every page. All your Meta and Title Tags should be unique for each page. Also, make sure to use keywords and write an engaging title.
3. Don’t try to deceive the search engines. Don’t overuse keywords, hide text, or create doorway pages. These are unethical forms of SEO. With the current trend of search engines favoring ethical SEO, your best practice is to create a well-thought out web page, that has unique content, and is easy to navigate.
4. Avoid low quality links. Not all links are created equal. Instead of getting links from link farms, research the popularity of websites before getting links from them. Alexa ranks are a good way to check popularity, as well as page rank. However, if your own page rank is rather low, fret not, for this will be explained below.
5. Avoid using links with the same anchor text. Search engines do not like links that use the same anchor text and description that are repeated in short bursts.
6. Don’t overdo reciprocal links. Reciprocal linking can be valuable, but only when done in small doses, and if the links are relevant to your business. Also, make sure to have a diverse set of links, including links to blogs, forums, articles, social media bookmarking, and more.
7. Don’t become obsessed with page rank. Page rank is only a small part of your entire SEO campaign. The way pages are ranked is actually rather complicated, and is based on many factors. It is possible for a lower ranked page to actually be quite successful and get lots of visitors. So if your page rank is low, don’t freak out.
8. Do network with other Website owners. This is a great way to learn, get advice, and exchange links. These relationships can be mutually beneficial.
9. Make site updates regularly. Sometimes, an out-of-date website can be worse than no website at all. Make sure you update regularly with current information, news and events, and fresh content. If you want to catch the eye of the search engine robots, regular updates are a great way.
10. Don’t compete for single keywords. Instead, compete for keyword phrases. This will make it more likely that your site will show up as a relevant search result. For instance, if your company sells jewelry boxes, and you attempt to compete for the term “boxes,” many people who find your site will be looking for cardboard boxes, hat boxes, and other types of boxes, and will likely not stay on your page once they realize you don’t sell what they’re looking for. If you compete for the phrase “jewelry boxes,” it’s more likely that potential customers who are looking strictly for jewelry boxes will find you.
11. Research your competition. It’s always good to know what the competition is up to, including what they are doing on their website, where they are getting links, etc.
12. Design your Website to be SEO friendly. There is definitely an SEO strategy when it comes to website design. Avoid heavy Flash and lots of graphics, since search engine robots crawl the text, not images. Good Meta and Title Tags are a must, as well as fresh and engaging content. If you’re hiring someone to design your website, look for someone who is an expert in organic SEO.
14. Keep localization in mind. There are several benefits to reaching out to the local audience. Aside from gaining local customers, including location-based keyword phrases, like “detroit auto body shop,” will help you because you will have less competition for that keyword.
15. Don’t ignore the power of content. Nothing drives a Website like good content. Make sure your content is engaging, original, and well researched. Use keywords strategically (so they fit in with the natural flow of text).
16. Always proofread. This step should be a given, yet it’s not uncommon to see typos and content mistakes on web pages. Aside from providing incorrect information, mistakes, as well as typos, make a web page and its company look unprofessional.
And most importantly…
17. Don’t Give Up! SEO is not accomplished overnight. It can be a long process and takes lots of work and sometimes trial and error. Keep up your effort and don’t give up!
Wendy Suto, President and CEO of Search Circus, has specialized in search engine optimization and search engine marketing, including SEO campaigns for over 10 years. Certified in SEO, Wendy Suto only follows natural and organic search engine optimization guidelines with proven results.