SEO (search engine optimization) is the key to online success. There are many ways to SEO a site, and everyone needs to pick the ones that work best for them. Nobody follows every SEO tip, but it is important to be familiar with as many as possible, especially the most effective ones. The following SEO tips should be considered by any site owner looking to increase traffic to their site.
Start with a plan and keywords
Every site should start with a plan and a lot of potential keywords. Have an idea of what the site will cover and look like. Use keyword tools and niche research to collect as many keywords as possible and organize them into groups according to the categories they will cover (see siloing). That being said, a website can be thought of almost as a living, growing organism. Do not be afraid to change the plan and site when needed.
For new sites, it is a good idea to go after at least some long tail keyword phrases as these will be less competative. However, one should not get too hung up on competition. Keep in mind that keyword tools are not always accurate and many searches are for phrases that do not normally show up in these tools. One goal should be to get as many potential keywords as possible into a site.
Don’t chase after algorithm updates
The major drawback of SEO is that sites are at the mercy of search engine algorithms. Updates to these algorithms can drastically change rankings overnight. However, with a proper long-term strategy that seeks to create good content and draw attention to it (which in turn attracts natural links), these updates generally do not matter very much. Trying to optimize for one update with SEO tricks may work for a while, but it takes a lot of time, and the site will likely drop in the future when the search engines catch on to the tricks used.
Content is always king
Without good content, the best SEO tips will probably not get a site very far, and nothing beats people naturally choosing to link to content they like for SEO. When practical, create longer articles of at least 700 words and pack them with as much valuable information people can use as possible. In addition, keep a site fresh by continuously adding or updating content. A site with less but better content (which is easier to manage) can often beat one that has more but lower quality.
Get the right internal and external links
Remember that search engines look at links as a kind of a vote in confidence in a site and a strong indication of what the page is about. Linking can start as a kind of on page SEO with internal linking on the page aimed at helping visitors to navigate the site.
External links are worth the most but not all of them are created equal. In some cases, a single link from what is considered an authority site in the eyes of the search engine can be worth more than thousands of low quality links from sites that have few visitors and little authority. Try to get links from higher ranking sites with related content using off-page SEO. In addition, keep in mind that links from government and educational sites tend to be some of the most effective.
In all linking, much of the value of the link comes from the anchor text used to describe the link so be careful to use varied, keyword rich text in these links.
Whenever possible, choose a domain name that contains the main keywords of the niche being targeted and use keywords in the URLs of the pages created. At the same time, keep the URLs from becoming too long.
Be sure the hosting is reliable and can load the site quickly. Sites that are down a lot or slow loading will turn off search engines as well as visitors.
Spiders on the site
Always remember that what the visitor sees and what the search engine spiders see are very different. If the spiders cannot properly crawl the site, it will not exist in the eyes of the search engine. Make sites that are search engine friendly and have site maps to help the spiders. Be aware that scripts are often unreadable by spiders. Use SEO checkers to find out what the search engines are seeing. There are also online tools that will check a site for free and services such as Google’s Webmaster Tools that will warn the site owner of errors.
While they are not as important as they were in the past, everyone giving SEO tips will always stress using keywords in the meta tags. Make sure the main keywords are included once in each tag, and that keywords are also used in H1-6 header tags where practical.
Article marketing and press releases
Every site owner should be in a position to write many informative articles for the site’s niche. This knowledge can be used to write articles to submit to article directors to include EzineArticles, GoArticles and Buzzle. In exchange for the articles, these directories will give a link back to the site and some traffic depending on how well the article does.
Press releases can also be good sources of attention and links to a website.
Do a search using the keywords being targeted. Examine all the top ranking sites and see what they are doing. Then, try to reverse engineer when practical. For example, if a competitor’s site has good links from another site, contact that site and try to get a link from them too.
Since everyone is different, the best SEO tips for every site owner will vary. This is particularly true with what is known as Web 2.0 situations such as with forums, video sharing, picture sharing or sites like YouTube or Facebook. For example, people who like photography and have a lot of photos for their niches might submit their photos to sites like Flickr. Alternatively, those interested in making videos can use video marketing to call attention to their sites through YouTube and similar services.
Other options include participating in forums where links are permitted in the signatures or blog commenting on blogs that allow links.
Different ranking factors and their importance can be found here.
SEO is always changing and so are the best SEO tips. However, good SEO primarily remains a process creating content readers want.