- Commit yourself to SEO and be patient about results: Although this sounds like an unreasonable leap of faith, it is important that you go into SEO with realistic expectations. SEO isn’t a one-time event. Search engine algorithms change regularly, so the goalposts may shift. What’s crucial is that you get the basics right, and rewards will follow, even if they only become apparent over a period of time. Anyone who promises you instant results is stretching the truth.
- Use web analytics from the start: Web analytics software helps you to track what’s working and what’s not, so you can measure results against clearly-defined goals.
- Improve every element of your website: To show up on the first page of results, you have to ask yourself some tough questions. Are you really one of the 10 best sites in the world on this topic? Be honest. If you’re not, make your website better.
- Include a site map page: A site map will help spiders find all the important pages on your site, and help the spider understand your site’s hierarchy, especially if your site has a hard-to-crawl navigation menu. Keep your sitemap to less than 100 links.
- Create SEO-friendly URLs: Use keywords in your URLs and file names, such as yourdomain.com/red-widgets.html. Use hyphens in URLs and file names, not underscores. Hyphens are treated as a “space,” while underscores are not.
- Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page: The page title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. You will only rank highly if your primary term of 2 – 3 words is part of the page title. The meta description tag won’t help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include the relevant keyword(s) and be written so as to encourage searchers to click on your listing.
- Write content for human beings, not bots: Although Search Engines have pretty powerful bots crawling the web, they have never bought anything online, signed up for a newsletter, or picked up the phone to call about your services. Humans do those things, so write your page copy with humans in mind. Keep it readable, and don’t stuff it with keywords.
- Create great, unique content: This can be quite a challenge. Write your own product descriptions, using the keyword research you did earlier to target actual words searchers use, and make product pages that blow the competition away. Great content is a good way to get inbound links.
- Use your keywords as anchor text when linking internally: Anchor text helps tells spiders what the linked-to page is about. Links that just say "click here" do nothing for your search engine visibility. Instead say, 'To find out more about how red widgets transform electrical appliances and lower energy bills, click here.'
- Build links intelligently: If local search matters to you, seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area — the Chamber of Commerce, local business directories, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too. Create great content on a consistent basis and use social media to build awareness and links.
- Start a blog: Search engines, Google especially, love blogs for the fresh content and highly-structured data. Beyond that, there’s no better way to join the conversations that are already taking place about your industry and/or company. Reading and commenting on other blogs can also increase your exposure and help you acquire new links.
How Your Website can go from Good to Great with SEO
As businesses become more aware of the need to implement SEO into their existing websites, it is important that they understand the basic steps involved.