Try a little experiment. Go to Google, Bing, yahoo or any other search engine sometime and search for topics on internet marketing, website traffic or search rankings and invariably, you will see a whole bunch of ads, websites and articles on SEO. Search engine optimization has become the hot topic of the web-based marketing and advertising world.
There is a good reason for this. While SEO is not the end all be all of marketing your company online, it is the core foundation of driving organic traffic to your online real estate. There’s no way around it.
The fact of the matter is, if it can be searched, it must be optimized. So in this article, we’ll quickly review some things that you or your internet marketer should be doing to optimize your content, a few things you should not do, and why.
What you should do to improve your SEO, traffic and rankings
This article is hardly the right forum to go into depth on every SEO topic and method, so we’re going to move through these pretty fast. What you should get out of this is a place to start, some things to ask your SEO specialist about, or some topics for further research. But these are the core things that will be the foundation of all your optimization efforts.
DO create relevant titles that contain your most vital keywords. These are the first things searched and often appear as the link in organic search results. Keep them to within the required lengths as prescribed by whatever search method is used, i.e. search engine, on-site search etc.
DO create descriptions, either for uploaded content or in the Meta description for your site pages that is both specifically descriptive to the page’s content and also keyword rich for the searches. These will often become the description of the link. Again, adhere to size requirements.
DO create content that is relevant and search friendly. This means liberally using your keywords in such a way that it’s not only keyword rich but also reader friendly. This can be tricky and often where a professional SEO writer comes in very handy.
DO use header tags, such as h1, h2 up to h6 These are picked up by the searches and used to organize content and help the crawlers.
DO actively build quality and relevant back links to your web content. This is a major factor in search rankings. The best links are from sites that relate to you and are already ranked high. It’s a bit like the old saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.”
DO use the alt attribute in your image tags. This is a great place to place keywords and is also friendly for accessibility. You don’t want img tags on your sites that do not have an alt label.
DO use the title attribute for links. This is like the alt tag for images. It not only helps the search crawlers but also helps people navigating because the title and alt attributes become tooltips.
What not to do in your SEO efforts
Now let’s quickly go over a list of things that you should avoid. Things that either don’t work, or can actually be used against you. While you definitely want search engines to notice you, you don’t want them to label you as a “villain” in the cyber world. This can hurt your website’s performance.
DON’T stuff alt or title tags with a whole bunch of keywords to try and achieve keyword density. This is a punishable offense. Make sure that these attributes describe the link or image.
DON’T over-stuff your content with keywords. Just like the links and images, you don’t want to make it seem that you’re just trying to spam the page with keywords. Not only does this not help, the new search algorithms actually penalize you for it. The most important thing about content is that it is helpful to the reader.
DON’T go crazy with your Meta keywords tag. This is not used much anymore. It’s good to have one, but keep it to 8 or fewer keywords.
DON’T use Flash for navigation if you want a high rank. It’s okay to use flash as a page element, but remember, Flash files can’t be read by the search engines, so you don’t want to use them as navigation or textual content elements. There is certainly a place for Flash, but not so much in SEO.
DON’T use underscores “_” in your links. A good SEO link should be like this: services-provided.html.
Why are these DO’s and DON’T’s important?
While the lists above are brief, they do give you some indication of how to proceed with your SEO. There is certainly much more that can be said, but let’s examine what we’ve done so far.
The main reason to optimize everything you publish online is because you want organic searches to find you. You’ll definitely want to actively promote yourself using other internet marketing efforts, but you do want your stuff to be working for you as well.
As you may have noticed above, there was a lot of mention about creating titles, descriptions and content for the reader. You see, the thing that search engines do, and what they strive to do well, is provide quality answers to their users’ questions. And the best answer is one that can be read and easily understood. So you’re better off creating user friendly text content than writing a bunch of keyword-rich gibberish. This does not help, and is not rewarded. You have to strike a balance between pleasing Google and attracting the attention of your visitor and getting them to become a customer.
Remember that the optimization part of SEO is the most important thing. You want to optimize everything you publish. Your websites, your articles, your blogs, your videos, your links, your posts and your social media interactions. Optimize so that these things give you the best results. That means from searches and from the consumers of the content.
Yes, it’s a very complex area. So many people have a hard time with SEO, or optimization in the broad view. There is help out there for you, be it articles like this, eBooks, books, or professionals who know how to write, film, program and consult for the best possible results. But never forget how important SEO is to your long-term success.