Sunday, September 7, 2008

Top 10 tips on SEO.

1. Good Keyword Research.

Make sure that before you build a site, you figure out exactly what kinds of keywords you will want to target. Your site should include keywords that your prospective clients key into the major search engines. Useful keyword research tools include Wordtracker, Overture, Keyword Discovery and WebCEO.

Another factor to consider is the competition for your keywords. You do not want to use keywords that your competitors are already competing for. The result being that you will probably not rank well.

You need to have keywords that have a high KEI or Keyword Effectiveness Indicator. This is how effective your keywords are in the world of search engines. You do not want to have a keyword phrase that no one uses, nor do you want to have a keyword that has loads of competition. The KEI is the balance between well used search phrases and less competition.

2. Content is King.

Without great content any thing else is pointless. Users will not return to your site. Users will not stay long on your site. The search engines will disregard your site, not index it or even ban your site. Writing good usable applicable content is the number one priority for any SEO or any website for that matter.

Websites that are designed for people, offering easy navigation and fresh, unique content will attract search engine spiders that will want to index the pages.

It is really frustrating when visiting a site looking for up-to-date information, only to find that it hasn’t been updated for weeks. You are then forced to get on the phone to find out the information; so what’s the point in having a website?

Websites that have not been updated regularly will discourage prospective clients and spiders alike. Make sure that your website is constantly updated with fresh, unique content.

3. Build Internal Links

Make sure that you have a high-quality link structure and good navigation on your site, so that not only potential customers, but also search engine spiders can find and index all the pages on your site.

A common mistake is to assume that every visitor will start at your home page. Most will but it's important to check that each page on your site is linked to the other pages. This helps the search engine spiders to quickly index your site. Remember that the way you structure your site navigation will have an effect on how people judge you and your business.

4. Building Inbound Links

Getting other sites to link back to yours is probably the #1 item of importance for your rankings. If “content is king” then “linking is queen”. Importantly though, is that pages that link to you should be related to your content. One-way links from sites carry far greater weight than links that are reciprocated.

Links act like votes for your site and you can't rank well without them. Buying links or being indiscriminate in the places you link to and places you request links from is no longer considered good practice and could potentially get your site banned. Quality rather than quantity.

5. Keyword Density

The amount of times your selected keywords or phrases appear in your content, the relevancy it has in your content and the correct usage of proper grammatical syntax revolving around those keywords is of prime importance. The search engines nowadays, derive the importance of a particular topic from the usage of keywords and their density.

For example, if your site is about programming, but this keyword only appears one in your content, but the word computer appears ten times. Search engines will assume that your site is about computers rather than programming.

Be careful to not overdo it. Search engines take a very dim view on too many keywords in content. This causes it to look un-natural, and is often termed as keyword stuffing.

6. Optimise Your Page Titles

A very important SEO technique is to include your keywords within the Title description for each page. It is of prime importance that the title tag is unique to the subject matter of each page for the benefit of the search engines.

In other words, each page must have a unique title tag. This will help your search engine rankings as well as help users to identify the content of the page.

7. Crawlability Issues

Never hide your navigation and or content behind Flash, JavaScript, or Images. Always try to use text for search engines to crawl your navigation. If you absolutely must have a Flash menu or image-based menu then the best practice is to create a text-equivalent alternative in the footer of your site. CSS can give your text-based navigation similar styling to that of images and the functionality of roll over similar to JavaScript menus. Spiders have a hard time crawling Flash, and equally, perhaps even more difficult time with JavaScript, and they can’t read text that is made from an image.

8. Keyword Emphasis.

Use italics, bold and underlining to further emphasize your keywords. Think of a newspaper and how the bold ,different, bigger titles draw your attention to the detailed story. Users and Search engines are no different. Usage of Strong and H1 –H6 tags show users and search engines what is important on your site, and draws their attention to it. It separates the Keywords from the normal text in a visual and search engine friendly way.

9. Site maps.

A site map, in addition to a clear navigation bar and links between pages, will help visitors to your website find what they are looking for. It will also ensure that search engine spiders visit and index each of your pages. Then submit the site map along with the site to the popular search engines to tell them where you are.

10. Monitor your progress.

Track your progress with a web analytics program. use a tool such as “Google Analytics”. It is easy to use, versatile, and it's free. Google Analytics provides a wealth of information to help you further optimise your site.