Here are some SEO best practices to get your website recognized and ranking high on the search engines for the terms your customers are using.
Let’s assume your website is designed and is up and fully functional. How is anyone going to find your website, using search engines?
Let’s go over some SEO Best Practices.
First thing to do, is make a list of Keywords or Key Phrases. According to Google, ” A keyword is any word or short phrase that describes a website topic or page. – The more a keyword is used by searchers and websites the more attraction power it has.”
Use the Google Keyword Tool. This tool tells you how many people are searching for what you think are your best keywords and shows you what other related terms people use so you can adjust your strategy.
20 Best Practices for Optimizing Your Website for the Search Engines
1) On your web site, write content that your customers can understand. Doing so, your keywords should automatically appear as you describe your products and services and their benefits.
2) Narrow your keyword focus to ten to twenty keywords. Using too many keywords has the effect of using a shotgun; you want an accurate rifle.
3) Ensure your keywords are included in the folder names and page titles. That is, say you sell widgets. You’ll want your homepage title – the words at the top of your browser – to read “widgets – [company name]”. The search engines will notice this and rank you higher. Your folder structure should also reflect your key terms. For example: http://www.company–name.com/widgets.html.
4) Your website content should not have too many keywords. Search engines will view this as you trying to trick them. Keywords should make up about 5-7% of your content on any page. This applies to EVERY page on your site.
5) Each page title in your website should be different. If your homepage says “widgets”, your page on products should say something like “precision crafted widgets”.
6) META Keywords are no longer used. META description are presently dispensable.
7) Use header text, bold, italics, different font or color to your keywords. Search Engine Robots pick up on this as important information on your site.
8) Your images should be named using keywords and ALT tags with a description. Robots search for this. You need it on every image.
9) Internal links on your website should include keywords. That is, don’t use ‘Products’ to link to your products page, use the keywords, like “Widgets and Add-ons”.
10) Websites need a sitemap which lists all the pages on site.
11) A robots.txt file should be used to tell robots what you allow or disallow to add to their search engine – add your sitemap location to the robots.txt
12) Build and use outbound links to websites that are related to your business using anchor text that contains your keywords. Be sure to use your location.
13) Make regular changes to the content of your website. If you have a blog, you should use it weekly.
14) You need inbound links. This is critical for good ranking. Contact your local “Widget” distributor. Ask them if it would be alright to put a link from your site to theirs, and vise-versa. Send them the URL to the link on your web site you want them to point to from their site.
15) Create a “Link to Us” page with linking text and / or images other sites can use. This ensures they will use the keywords you want and makes it easier for them to do it.
16) Devote time to write on other blogs. You’ll be able to link back to your site. Work on building your reputation as an expert in your field. People will see you as a resource, and will want to link to your site.
17) Submit your site to online directories like DMOZ and Yahoo. Free ones are best
18) Offer free content like an eBook for people to download.
19) Any company or product news should include a press release to your local papers and trade publications, with a link to yourself in it.
20) Use Google Places so you will show up on Google Maps. This will help improve your local searches.
Search engine optimization is a slow and ongoing process. Like any marketing or advertising campaign, results take time. You need to be consistent and persistent.