Saturday, December 15, 2012

SEO: 8 Easy Steps to Rank Better on Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization companies are making a fortune by doing the menial work that is overlooked by many designers. It is ridiculously easy to do most of the work done by most SEO companies, all you have to do is create good habits.

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There are 8 main points you should focus on:

• Keywords
• URL Text
• Description, Meta tags
• Title tags
• Image Names
• ALT tags
• Content
• Hyperlinks

The focus of these 8 steps is to load your pages with as many "keywords" as possible.

Keywords are the most important aspect of good SEO, this is where you tell the Search Engines what your site is about. Search Engines use an algorithm to determine the "Keyword Density" of your site. Therefore, choose keywords that best relate to the information, products or services that you are offering. For instance, if I am designing a site about "Cloud Transformation Services", I want my site to include the words "Cloud Transformation" as many times as possible.

However, most people don't just search for just one word, they type phrases, so you should consider the phrases that best suit your sites target market. For example, if I am creating a site about "Web Design" in Los Angeles, I would include "Los Angeles web design" in my keywords. Another way around this is to not separate my keywords with commas, just use spaces, and the Search Engines will make the phrases for you.

The most important thing to remember is that the content of each page is different, so only use keywords pertaining to that page.

URL Text:
When you name a new page you have the option to call it anything you could possibly think of, why not use a keyword? After all, the URL address is the first things a search engine comes across when indexing your pages. You have to remember content doesn't come easy to everyone, so you gotta slip in your keywords when the process gives you an easy one.

Description / Meta tags:
These tags are dwindling in importance since Search Engines are now looking at content, but every little bit counts. Optimize your meta tags to match your content, products, and services, and the Search Engines that still look at meta data will reward your efforts.

Title Tags:
Title tags are the tags that tell the Search Engine the title, or formal description of the document or page. This is the word or phrase that is seen at the top of the browser window. The most important rule about title tags is, "don't put anything in the title tags but keywords". Once again this is an easy time to slip in your keywords, so don't miss out.

Image Names:
As I said before, content doesn't come easy to everyone, so slip in your keywords whenever possible, this applies to image names. If you are saving a picture of an "iPad running Microsoft office" for your web site offering BYOD solution, don't call it "image009.jpg", call it "ipad_running_microsoft_windows_office.jpg" or "run_microsoft_office_on_ipad.jpg". The Search engine will look at the code for the site and see the image pertains to the content of the site and this will be another relevant element on that particular page. You have to take the easy ones when you are given a chance.

ALT tags:
Alt tags are keywords that you can attach to images, giving more weight to the image since Search Engines can't analyze the content of the image itself. Here is a chance to slip in more keywords without writing great content - so always try to use it.

As every expert will tell you, "Content is the King." Each web page should have at least 350-500 words on it, and the more the better, but keep in mind the formula for keyword density. You don't want to fill a page with 1500 words of jibba-jabba and only 5 keywords in it. Some people get hung-up on how browsers display text, and use images with text in them because they want a cool font, but browsers can't read the text embedded in images, so this content adds no weight to the page in a Search Engines eyes.

"Linkbaiting" is the new trend among high ranking sites. Linkbaiting means writing quality content, or articles that other web sites can display on their pages as long as they give credit, and a link to your site.

You don't have to be an expert content writer to write good web content, just be thoughtful of how you word things and incorporate your keywords.

Hyperlinks aka. anchor tags are text links to other pages on your site. The rules of SEO and hyperlinks are easy:

• Use hyperlinks so the Search Engine will have a text link to follow to the next page
• Don't use one word links, use long link phrases, preferably keyword phrases
• Make sure that the other page your are linking a keyword phrase to, contains that particular keyword in the title and/or page content.

Keep these 8 aspects in mind when designing a site, and you are sure to have a leg up on the competition.

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