From time to time, I get the question from my clients, “How much do you know about Search Engine Optimization? We’re exploring ways to move our site to the top of the listings – it seems like it shouldn’t be too hard.” After answering this question quite often, I decided to write a quick article about it. Below are 5 tips for optimizing your site.
1. Allow for time
Sites with good rankings stand the test of time. The longer you’ve been around, the more highly you’ll be ranked. Be patient and avoid gimmicks that some people claim will work to put you #1 on Google overnight. Sick of waiting? the following information can help speed up this process.
2. Content is king
Search engines love content. But it has to be well-crafted and unique. Also, you can’t have just keywords on a page anymore. Your keywords have to match with the content on the page itself. For example, if I have the keyword “widget” my page needs to have the word widget on it. Content must be relevant to what people are searching. Blogs can help accomplish this task. With blogs, I have the freedom to publish as many articles as I like. I can automatically show excerpts of my latest blog posts on my home page. Search engines love fresh content, and this is a way to accomplish that.
3. Back links
It’s helpful to have other sites link to yours. If you know any other websites that feature your product, consider asking them to link back to your site. As a result, more traffic will be driven to your site and you’ll start to climb the rankings. Note: not all back links are worthwhile. It’s important that links to your site come from highly visited and highly respected sites. It helps if the flow of traffic is relevant in nature to the content of your site.
4. Organic growth
You can do a lot to organically grow your site. One way is to start joining online forums and answer some questions. You can try knowledge sites like answers.yahoo.com. Start answering people’s questions. Don’t be a shameless self-promoter. Just give good advice. Often there’s a field for filling out your website and those that find your answers helpful will click on your profile and visit your site. All of this traffic is seen by search engines and can result in your site being seen as more relevant because of the unique visitors.
5. Understand how your site is indexed
Good, clean HTML markup helps search engines understand your content and index it appropriately. When I write code, I follow industry standards to ensure that the content is processed correctly by search engines. It also helps to search your site and see HOW it’s indexed. This will give you a good idea what Google and other search engines choose to display and index the content of your site. Also important is the need for you to understand the terms people use to search your site. Tailor your content according to the terms people use when searching.
Search engines change their algorithms and processes from time to time. Tricks that used to work for “cheating the system” don’t apply today. Remember that good markup, relevant content, and time are your best allies for succeeding in SEO.