I know there is a big business out there on helping clients get high ranking websites created (I do not think there is anything wrong with that). The problem that I have is that people treat SEO as if it is a way to outsmart search engines. In order to be relevant in SEO world the cardinal rule is that you need great content. With all the technicalities that are involved in building a high ranking site it actually comes down to 3 things. Yes I said 3 things and does not require the knowledge of any dark art (there are a lot of free tools out there that help you do this).
The Site needs to be “crawlable” by Search Engines
What do I mean by this? Well if you have spent the time to create a great website you need to make sure that the search engines can crawl the information and index your page. It is great that you want to have great AJAX and Flash apps on your landing page but if the search engine cannot read it then it is not useful.
The other element from an indexing standpoint is to make sure URL relevant having long and difficult to crawl URLs just as an example this URL will never work
I mean look at the URL it makes you cringe… do you have any idea what that URL means? now imagine what it would look to algorithm ?
So I implore you to create pages that can be crawled by search engines
Use Keywords that clients will use to search for the product or service
This is the other part people generally tend to ignore. There are plenty of free tools out there to show you which keywords people are using to search for products and services similar to yours. So you might be asking yourself why is this important ? Well making your site readable and indexed by search engine is just one part of the equation. You need to make sure you have right keywords as well. Keywords tell search engines what your page is about . This is important as it helps the search engine index the information in your page appropriately.
Caution: This does not mean you stuff you page with Keywords (search engine algorithms are pretty smart these days especially Google’s). You can have keywords or Keyphrase. A keyword is like “Pre-owned” and Keyphrase (or group) is like “Pre-owned Cars” the latter lets the search engine know that your page is about Pre-owned cars not pre-owned everything … Simple locations to include keywords are the following
- Title tag
- Meta tag description (this is the spot where most people stuff with Keywords please do not do that )
- headline tags
- Body copy
Make sure to have the Keywords or Keyphrase early on the web page to help with the indexing
Out of all the things that make your site rank high, this is the most important of all. Find the most important and influential site in your domain area and have them link back to your site. Since this is an important element it is also the hardest …. why ? because you have engage with some of the influencers on that the site and have them find your contribution useful to their site, so that they reciprocate in kind (although this is rare). This also means that you have killer content on your site that is meaningful. Natural links will occur over time as you engage more and also have structured content syndication plans. Having link backs from reputable pages is important as well (Pagerank or Web of Trust is your friend here). Search Engines are smart if you have artificially created linkbacks. One thing to remember have minimal amounts of links from the referring pages otherwise you can cause link dilution.
As you can see SEO is not a dark art, but is more implementing a methodical approach to reach the goal of your website (there is needs to be a tight alignment between SEO strategy and the reason to exist for your website). There are several books and resources out there but one the best place that has worked for is http://searchenginewatch.com which is a comprehensive site to help out people (I am not in anyway shape or form affiliated with Search Engine Watch team, I just like their product)
anyway enjoy the new year celebrations