The field of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly changing and vast to develop a fixed set of effective strategies. However, basic principles hold good despite changing internet trends and search engine algorithms. You can make SEO strategies more effective by making your website more meaningful, accessible, and customer-friendly, and by keeping some important SEO strategies in mind. Here are a few suggestions to help you do that:
1. Develop keyword-rich content
Keyword rich content is critical to SEO. It means including words most often used by internet searchers for products or services relevant to your business. Keyword phrases should be positioned to catch the customer’s attention and that of search engine spiders. Some tips:
- Use tools such as Google Analytics, WordTracker, and KeywordDiscovery to find keywords that are moderately competitive but popular in searches.
- Use niche keyword phrases rather than broad terms (for example, “Women Plus Size Clothing” instead of “Women clothing”)
- Include keywords in titles, headings, links, page URLs, alt text of images, document surrogates of multimedia files, bold and italicized content.
- Use keywords often but avoid keyword stuffing since it may be seen as a negative.
- Use keywords at the beginning of text blocks for more prominence.
2. Develop relevant content
The content should be relevant to readers, easy to understand and access, and most of all about their needs. This will make search engines raise your website rank and get more links to your web pages. Frequently refreshed content will encourage repeat customer visits and re-indexing of pages.
3. Build user-friendly website design and navigation structure
Website readers and search engine spiders should have easy access to keyword-rich content. This is achieved through effective information structure – website navigation; cross-linking with descriptive labeling; placing text, multimedia, and images effectively; etc. A website page should have links to other pages. Use a navigation menu or sitemap for quick access. Sitemaps also help search engine spiders crawl websites. These practices should be part of the website’s development policy as they take time and help build a strong foundation of the website.
4. Get backlinks to your website
Backlinks or links from third party websites can get you more search engine traffic. Try to get links from reputed web directories and relevant industry websites. Avoid unethical SEO marketers that promise hundreds of link to improve your ranking. Linking directories could be useful; they charge a recurring or one-time fee. Some tips:
- Quality, relevant content is the best way to get inbound links.
- Have a “Link” function for easy linking to your page.
- Contact site owners and build mutually beneficial relationships.
- Link to good quality websites that may help your customers. You might get a link in return.
- Write quality articles for article directories and blogs. They let you place a few links in the author resource in exchange for the article.
5. Use meta tags effectively
The description meta tag comes up in search results. It should be keyword-rich and appealing to customers. The keyword tag, though ignored by most search engines, helps in the website’s classification. The tags should be developed for each page separately.
6. Analyze the website’s performance
Once you deploy some SEO strategy, analyze the website’s performance to verify its efficacy. Use tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Yahoo! Site Explorer, etc.
7. Follow SEO news
Search engine developers are constantly tweaking underlying algorithms. It’s a good idea to know what’s going on by subscribing to websites such as Search Engine Watch, The Official Google Blog, SEO Book, SEO Chat, Sphinn, etc.
8. Avoid content duplication
Avoid duplicate content as it loses you points with search engines. Duplication can occur if articles are republished on other websites, product descriptions are same except for title and image, URL parameters are the only variations in URLs, printer-friendly version of pages are not excluded from search with directives in the “robots.txt” file, a website has multiple domain names with same content, etc. There is no search engine penalty for duplicate content but you will not get credit for backlinks created with duplicate content.
9. Avoid unethical strategies
Unethical SEO strategies like keyword stuffing and cloaking are helpful in the short term but can get you banned from search engines. Stick to white hat SEO tactics that play by the rules.
Relevant content, information structure, and keywords should always be part of your SEO strategy with a mix of other tactics thrown in. This way, your website will continue to attract customers in spite of changes in search engine algorithms.