SEO tip #1 – Don’t ignore the social media revolution!
Social media has grown to a massive degree over the past 3 or 4 years. Ignore it and you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Whether it’s Facebook, Linkedin, Digg, Twitter, Youtube or any other site, you should be looking to raise your brand awareness across them all. You will not only raise awareness, but also bring in traffic to your site. Most of these sites allow you to add widgets to your site to allow users to cast votes on your content. Again, great content will command greater votes, which ultimately will lead to greater traffic.
SEO tip #2- Get your link structure right
Link structure is important for a number of key reasons. First of all, it is important that your visitors can find what they are looking for, and a logical and easy to follow navigation will help them to do just that. Equally as important is having a good linking structure to help the Search Engine spiders from indexing every page on your site. There are an overwhelming number of webmasters that query why only certain pages have been indexed. A bad / disorganized linking structure is usually one of the key attributes behind this (along with the omission of a site map and robots.txt file – this is covered next).
You want to have all your key web pages linked to from every page on your site. This helps optimize internally through building link popularity for these pages. Use the keywords in the anchor text that you are looking to rank for on the target page. For example, don’t use the word ‘Home’ in your navigation. If your site is about Computers, use ‘Computers’ or ‘Best Computer Buys’ as this optimizes your home page for these keywords.
You should also look to have relevant articles posted across sections on your site. If you have a section on ‘Poker Tournaments’, create a number of articles on ‘Poker Tournaments’ that relate to that section alone. This increases internal link relevancy and helps boost your SEO. Remember if you have one page about a topic across a large site, the Search Engines will see it as a standalone page. Build 100 articles on the same topic (and interlink them) and you will be given more relevancy kudos!
SEO tip #3 – Include a Robots.txt file
This helps the Search Engine bots index your entire site. It sits in the root directory on your server and tells the bot which pages to index and which to ignore. It is important to make sure that the file is formatted correctly or you may mistakenly stop a page from being indexed. Stay secure – there are spamming bots that collect data and don’t pay attention to a Robots.txt file. If you have sensitive information (eg email addresses or customer details), put it in a secure directory.
SEO tip #4 – Include a Site Map
It is sensible to have a site map both for your visitors to find what they want and also for the Search Engines to be able to find every page and index it (it it isn’t indexed, it won’t be displayed in the results = no traffic and no benefit from the potential internal linking). Make sure it is compliant with the new Google sitemap format. The entries on your site map need to be intuitive and grouped logically to provide the perfect blueprint of your entire site. Do some research. Look at the top websites and see how they organize their site maps. Remember, we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. SEO is about analyzing the sites that are already considered to be best and seeing what they are doing to get there.
SEO tip #5 – optimizing your code / writing clean code
Just because you can’t see the code that supports the words, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Tools like Dreamweaver don’t write code very well. Whilst this isn’t the post to teach you how to write good code, here are a couple of examples:
- a) All websites have graphics. Use your keywords to name your graphics (.i.e. arm-chairs.jpg) and also use your keywords in the ALT tags that you assign to your graphics. This adds to the relevancy on the page. The same logic applies as mentioned previously in tip #4. Alter the keywords that you use so not to be considered spamming.
- b) The less code on the page the better. There are ways of reducing the code on the page. For example, you can bold a word by adding <strong>This word bolded</strong>. It can also be written as <b>This word bolded</b>. Programs like Dreamweaver bold using the STRONG tags, which can be improved by using the ‘b’ tag. Note that the only reason this hasn’t been done in this article is that Hubpages don’t allow the <b> tag! There are many other examples of ways you can reduce the text on the page. CSS achieves this to a far greater extent as things like graphics are not embedded on the page. This also helps reduce load time.
- c) If you have written your code in HTML, use an HTML validator to validate the code you have written. A good one is : http://htmlhelp.com/tools/validator/.
- d) Use title tags in your links – this is the text that is displayed when a user hovers over your link. This helps optimization. An example of how this can be done well: <a title=”Custom Arm Chairs” href=”http://www.mysite.com”>Custom Arm Chairs</a>. Notice the use of our keywords.
- e) Putting emphasis on your keywords – this can be done by bolding, underlining or having keywords in italics. This is best done at the top of your page. This simply emphasises the importance of the keyword in relation to your article.
All this work is best done using a professional digital agency that has a strong reputation of complying with Google’s guidelines, if not, you can find yourself falling foul of the penalties they can apply to your website