SEO – Improving Search Rankings


SEO – Improving Search Rankings

Search rankings will be responsible for a major percentage of the traffic that comes to your site if you use search engine optimization (SEO). Keywords, relevance, content quality, content quantity, popularity and authoritative reputation are the most essential components of this process for building an online community.

SEO Checklist

Here are several elements your website needs to strengthen its SEO. Keep in mind that search engine guidelines have been evolving for years and may be different in the future. The following are some of the more timeless elements that have survived the algorithm changes. Another reality to remember is no one can guarantee specific search rankings using SEO.

1. Create a sitemap that outlines your site, linked from the homepage.
2. Exchange links only with quality sites relevant to your site.
3. Use relevant web page titles that contain keywords.
4. Write unique quality content designed to improve the user experience.
5. Avoid creating web pages far away from the root directory.
6. Stay away from JavaScript, AJAX, Flash and Frames as much as possible.
7. Keep adding fresh content to your site as often as possible.
8. Use keywords for links within your site instead of “click here.”
9. Make your site as user-friendly as possible with easy navigation.
10.Avoid spamming keywords or other outdated black hat tricks.

White Hat vs Black Hat

Learn the difference between white hat SEO, which follows search engine guidelines, and black hat SEO, SEOwhich could get your site banned. Google and other search engines reward sites with strong useful content, while penalizing sites for thin and useless content or tricks designed to manipulate search results. As long as you keep in mind that all your content should be crafted for the user and not to trick search engines, you should not have to worry about getting banned from search engines.

Since search engines will eventually catch up with new deceptive gimmicks, it’s best to focus on developing quality content. A site can get banned for several reasons, such as links to worthless or malicious sites, overuse of ads or sites that share servers with banned sites. The best SEO advice you can memorize is to avoid all black hat schemes and pay attention to increasing your compelling content.

Focus on Content, Not Techniques

Even though there are several search engines, Google is by far the most popular and should be your main concern for SEO. But try not to get too wrapped up in the SEO game because it can distract from your goals of attracting customers with useful content. Spend more time on making your content as relatable and relevant as possible to your audience.

Not all SEO techniques work equally for all site owners. If you own an educational site, then links from .edu sites can help your search rankings. If you’re a local business then you should get listed in as many credible local directories as possible, such as Google Places for Business, Yelp and Zagat.

General Tips for All Sites

Getting +1’s in Google+ can help your search rank in Google more than Facebook likes. Keep your blogs at least in the 400-600 word range with keyword density below seven percent and never buy links.The content should appeal to influencers, such as expert bloggers, so that it has a chance of being reviewed by other sites.Images are best indexed when they include captions that relate to the content and include ALT tags.Take the lead in content marketing by sharpening your focus on the most important elements of SEO, which are quality-text, images and links.

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Ian Conklin - President OTR Web

Ian Conklin is the President of OTR Web Solutions a web development company building marketing websites since 2000 with offices in Canada, USA, Europe and South America.

OTR Web is a Partner with HubSpot.

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