"SEO Basics - 8 Key Strategies For Online Business Success"
by Leah West
The world of search engine optimization (SEO) can be a big scary place for newbies. Most SEO professional companies charge astronomical prices that may or may not guarantee success.
The search engines are forever changing the way they rank websites and what is important to achieve a higher ranking. Even with these ever-changing factors, there are 8 important points that you must use with your website that are not likely to change any time soon.
1. Domain Name
It is better to register a domain with a keyword in it, unless you are trying to brand yourself (think Coca Cola or Ebay). For instance, if your name is John Smith and you sell golf items you would be better off by registering a name like www.golfproducts.com instead of www.johnsmith.com.
Unfortunately with millions of website domain names being purchased all the time, finding a related domain name not already taken can be a daunting task. Still it is worth it in the end because it will carry more significance with the search engines.
2. Title Tag
This is an often overlooked place to input keywords. Have you ever been to a website and the bar at the top of the page just said 'untitled' or 'homepage'? That reflects how little the site designer knew about SEO. Always put a descriptive title on EVERY page of your website. Put something like 'Find golf clubs, golf clothes and the latest pro golf tips', instead of 'John's golf shop'.
Make sure not to go overboard and just list 10 or more keywords or long sentences in a row or the search engines will think you are trying to spam them. Think quality over quantity. The title tag should contain one keyword rich descriptive sentence.
3. Meta Tags
The importance of meta tags in today's SEO world is still being debated. It is still advisable to include a meta tag keywords and meta tag description in your code. A lot of times the search engines will pull your description tag to show in your websites search result. If nothing is there it may not show anything at all or it may pull the first sentence off of your page which might be completely irrelevent to your intended audience.
Do not, I repeat do not list 100 or more keywords in the keyword tag. This technique used to work years ago, but the search engines recognize this technique and will consider it spam. Place no more than 10 keywords in the meta keywords tag.
4. Link Strategies
Another important tip is to include keywords when linking to other websites or pages within your own site. For example it is better to have a sentence like this 'Find out the latest professional golf tips.' then to say 'click here.' This also applies to any outbound links to other related websites. Include keywords on the part you want the visitors to click on.
Same goes for incoming links to your site. If someone wants to link to your site give them the code to paste in their website instead of leaving them to do it on their own. Have something like 'Check out John's Golf shop for the best golf clubs, golf info and golf tips." This is much better than 'Click here for John's Golf Shop'. Search engines also like longer more descriptive links than just one or two words.
5. Relevant Content
Make sure that you provide only relevant information to what your actually offering or selling. If you have a bunch of unrelated info on a wide range of topics than the search engines will have a harder time pinpointing exactly what it is your site is about. So if your selling golf stuff stick to golf content, don't throw in articles or links about scuba diving.
This is still a relatively new term and applies to an algorithm that google's search engine uses. Other search engines use similar strategies to google's PageRank also.
Basically PageRank is used to define how popular your website is. The more relevant inbound links you have coming into your website the higher your PageRank will be. Google also has a toolbar that you can download for free that will show you a site's PageRank. The best way to go about getting inbound links is to find related websites with a PageRank of 5 or higher. Then asking them to include a link to your site (giving them the proper code to paste in).
Another way you can receive a higher PageRank is to have a ton of content on many different pages and then linking all the pages together in a way that will raise your PageRank. With that said this type of strategy will not boost your PageRank tremendously, so if your site doesn't contain thousands of pages don't stress over it. It is important though to link strategically with keywords between the pages of your site.
You can download google's toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/
7. Header Tag
The H1 HTML header tag is used to define size of text within the tag. Search engines place more importance on text that is placed within the H1 tag. It's like telling the search engines that 'hey this text is important to my site'. The problem is that it can look unsightly. There are ways around this if you know about CSS styles, but for this basic intro article just know that in the end most people won't be bothered by how the heading looks, and it will make the search engines like you more.
8. Creating Credibility
An often overlooked part of free publicity for your website is writing free articles like this one that relates to your intended audience. There are many websites on the internet where you can submit your articles for other people to place on their websites. I even employ this same strategy for my website. It's really a win win situation. They win because they get quality relevant content for their site and you win because your name and website info is included at the bottom of the article, driving traffic to your site.
You increase your inbound links (PageRank) and provide free publicity for your website. It gets your name out there branding you an expert in your field of expertise and provides free web traffic to your site.
About the Author
Leah West, from Westmarketing Design, provides complete search engine optimized website design and internet marketing services for your small business