Search engine optimization (SEO) is what helps users find your site when they’re searching online. Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or you conduct all of your business over email or phone calls, SEO can help people looking for your products or services connect with you easily.
1. Search Engine Optimization Is More Than Keywords
Search engine optimization is about much more than picking the right keywords and stuffing them into your web page. In an ideal world, the search engines would be able to determine what a web page was about based on its content alone.
Unfortunately, that is not the state of things today, and it probably will never be. There are many factors involved in how search engines rank sites for their rankings, but one thing remains true: if you want your site to rank well for certain keywords, you have to make sure those particular words appear on your site.
2. Pick Only Relevant Keywords In Your Titles
The second most important place to use keywords is your page titles. All of the major search engines use the words in your page title to help determine what your site is about, so you want to make sure you include exactly what each page is about. If you are writing a blog post that includes information on organic gardening, then don’t give your post an unhelpful title like “Happy Friday!”
3. Use The Keyword Once On Every Page
While using keywords throughout your content can be important for SEO, there is one place where it is absolutely essential: the HTML <title> tag.
This line between the opening and closing <head> tags is seen at the top of web pages across all browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc). It is the only place where it is acceptable to use your keywords in a block of text. This line must contain your keywords, and they need to appear in close proximity to each other.
If you have multiple pages that are about different subjects, then pick one or two keywords for each individual page that represent that page’s topic. Then include those words in the title of every page on your site so search engines can connect different parts of your site together through their titles alone.
4. Include Keywords In Your URLs
URLs usually look something like this: http://www.mydomain.com/category/post-title/. The URL itself contains no real information about what the page is about, but it does contain the words “category” and “post-title.” Those words aren’t really related to organic gardening, but the search engines still use them as part of your site’s identity.
5. Call Your Pages By Their Titles
When discussing a page within your site (whether in an email or on social media), always refer to its title. If you’re writing an article about how to plant bulbs, then call that page “How To Plant Bulbs,” not just “Bulbs.” Search engine crawlers will understand that both titles are referring to exactly the same thing if they see one title used repeatedly and consistently throughout your content.
6. Use Short and Focused Pages
While having lots of pages on your site is good for building links, it can also hurt you. The more pages there are on your site, the more diluted each page’s ranking becomes. You should have a target keyword that you want to rank well for, and then focus all of your energy into writing pages that are about that topic alone.
7. Get Links From Relevant Sites
If you only get links from sites with similar topics to yours, then search engines will reward you by bumping up your rankings when someone does a query related to one of the words in your title or URL or content. Don’t try to exploit link schemes because they’re against Google’s guidelines and could result in a penalty. Just get links from relevant sites whenever possible, and search engines will take notice.
8. Don’t Build Pages With Duplicate Content
While having lots of pages with unique content is great (see tip #6), it doesn’t make sense to build a page that is exactly the same as another one on your site, or even very similar. When two completely similar pages show up in the search engine results for the exact same query, most users can’t tell which one they should be clicking on. They both look like spam since only one of them should exist according to Google’s standards, and neither of them ranks well because each one dilutes what you’re trying to accomplish by using the same keyword multiple times.
9. Don’t Use Flash For Your Website
Flash is a proprietary web-based language that was developed by Macromedia and then eventually purchased by Adobe. It can be used very effectively for attractive designs, but the search engines have no way of crawling anything in Flash, so it has become known as an SEO suicide tactic. If you want your site to rank well with search engines, then make sure it isn’t built completely in Flash.
10. Optimize Your Site’s Images
When users are searching on Google for images related to your keywords, they might find uploads from your website listed among the results if their file names are optimized correctly. The image name should contain the keyword that relates to its corresponding page, and the file name should be shortened because it will show up much larger on a search engine results page than the title of your web page.