Whether you are building a website for the first time, or if you are SEO optimizing your old site, there are some major factors that contribute to your overall ranking in search engines. The three key categories of factors for improving your ranking are: content, inbound links, and on-page optimization.
There are many other factors to consider when you have a website because search engines read and measure data based on certain SEO (search engine optimization) factors. Here are some tips to make sure your site is search engine and user friendly.
- Keyword research: Keyword research is the foundation to a well-optimized website. Make sure you do proper keyword research by using programs, such as Milestone Insights, or try some the free keyword research tool available through Google Adwords.
- Keywords: Although it is extremely important to have relevant keywords in the body copy or content on your site, you want to make sure you are not over stuffing for certain words that you wish to appear for in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) because Google, Yahoo! and Bing will lower your overall ranking and eventually penalize your site or even list your website as spam.
- Concatenations & Misspellings: Next, make sure when optimizing your site on the back-end, especially in your keyword and description tag, do not include misspellings or concatenations. Optimizing your site for misspellings is very “unfriendly” and can cause your site to be docked if you use common misspellings in the description or keyword tag. Also avoid concatenations like “oceanview” which should be “ocean view,” as this is automatically corrected by the search engine itself.
- Title Meta Tag: Be sure to use the name of your business or organization as the first word(s) in your title, as it is typically displayed by the visitor’s browser in the border of the viewable screen. Also, avoid stop words like “and”, “of” and “the” since search engines such as Google have a character limit of 66.
- Content: must be viewable in a simple text browser or search engine spiders may have difficulty crawling the website. Search engines can’t follow image links or animated links like Flash – they prefer simple web navigation just like many users do.
- Design your site: with searchers in mind. Pulling sub-categories up a level using a mouse over menu rather than a drop down box will not only make your site more search engine friendly, but more user friendly as well..
- Sitemap page: it is important to create a sitemap page to help the search engines discover every page in your site. Sitemaps list the pages in your site along with brief keyword-rich descriptions of the page. Create as many sitemaps as you need and make sure they’re linked together, but split them up into smaller pages. Use the correct letter case in sitemap files so there is no mismatch between upper case URL titles on live page and lower case on the search engine Webmaster Tool to avoid search engine cloaking filters.
- Website content: First, content is very important because relevant content ensures a better organic listing on the search engines results pages and gives overall credibility to your website. This also means having keyword-rich meta tags and anchor links. While it is important that your content is keyword rich, it should also be readable, relevant, and useful to your readers.
- Inbound links: The second most important thing to do for SEO is to optimize your site is to have “juicy” inbound links. This is so important because the more relevant sites you have linking to your website, the more credible your website will be seen in the eyes of search engines, and your overall ranking will improve organically as well.
- Link building: The best way to start getting inbound links to your website is through credible directories, such as Yellow Pages, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Be very critical of your inbound links, because having inbound links from sites that are not credible will also bring your SEO website ranking down.
- Site design: The design of your site needs to be easy to navigate by your users and the web crawlers. It is also important that you have a “Call to Action” or a way your customers can call, e-mail, or make a purchase on every page. Have a clear navigation structure with important links to other pages of your site “Above the Fold” so that they are easily accessible and easy to see.
- Pay per click: If you have a brand new domain and are having trouble getting traffic on your site, try a PPC campaign to bring in traffic & test which keywords are and aren’t working.
- Social media optimization: Also, don’t forget about social media optimization. Create a blog on your site, or set-up a page on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. YouTube is also another hugely popular way to promote yourself, with 2 billion+ current users; you are bound to get your message out to someone.
- Press releases: Lastly, if you have press releases, be sure to include those on your website and optimize them with proper on-page tactics and internal links using your most important keywords because they show up in search results just like regular news articles on Google News. This can be an easy way to build your online reputation.
Start with these SEO tips for beginners and contact Milestone for more help.
Contributed by: Christy Smith, Milestone Inc.