SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is one of the most important parts of creating a website that pulls in natural, targeted traffic. SEO encompasses so much about building a successful website that it can seem intimidating or impossible to really cover all the ground you want to cover.
Thankfully, it’s really not that difficult. Most SEO is just good common sense such as having user-friendly navigation, or ensuring that your content is focused on your target audience. Some of it is technical in nature, such as creating sitemaps, or knowing how to properly highlight keywords.
Here are some down and dirty tips for making SEO short work.
1. Domain expiration date – Buy your domain for a long period of time. Google ranks your site according to many factors but one is how long it’s been around, and how long you plan for it to be around. If you have no confidence in your site and are only buying it one year at a time, why should Google have confidence in it?
2. Guest blog posts – Write guest blog posts for authority sites on a regular basis. This can be intimidating but if you’re a decent writer or can hire a decent writer to write for you, offer yourself to authority sites as an expert within your sub-niche. As long as you write for an authority site with a ranking higher than yours, that’s been around a while and plans to be around for a while, you’ll get valuable links back to your site. This in turn will cause Google to rank you higher in the search engines.
3. Page title tags – The code in your site is still important, no matter what you may have heard. Use all your title tags, for every single page in your site. Remember that a blog post constitutes a page in your site too. Choose keyword-rich titles that make sense to humans. In this way you’ll entice humans to click on the link, but you’ll also show the search engines that you’re not full of spam. Every site on your page should have a different title.
4. Keyword-rich anchor text – All your anchor text should be made up of keywords and not words like “click here” or “click this” or even “buy here.” Rather, they should be keywords that make sense to the reader and to search engines. For example, “Cole Slaw 10 Ways” would be a better anchor text than to see the ten ways I made cole slaw as “click here”.
5. Header tags – These are still important. These are your H1, H2, H3 and so forth tags that you use on headings and subheadings. Google sees these tags’ importance in relations to the number, so H1 is seen as more important than H2 and so forth. When you use these tags, always ensure that you are using keywords.
6. The right tags – This might seem silly, but if you use the right tags on your site to bold words, Google will see them as more important. Instead of bolding text with the tags, use tags. So if you are bolding a keyword, use the tag, if you’re bolding words that aren’t keywords use the tag. The same goes for italics and emphasis. Use tags for keywords, and tags for words that aren’t keywords that you still want to visually enhance.
7. Page load speed – The faster your page loads, the higher it will rank. Ensure that your pages load as fast as possible. One way to do this is use CSS over Java when possible. If you are using WordPress themes, it’s important to choose a good host, pick a solid theme, use W3 Total Cache plug-in, and consider using a content delivery network. Always use fully optimized images and most importantly, check your home page as this is the most important page as to loading speed on your site.
8. Disable hotlinking – Believe it or not, some dishonest website owners will link directly to images and content on your own site, “scraping” your site of your content to put on their site, using much of your bandwidth to display the content on their own sites. You can stop them with just a little extra code. This can improve your ranking easily.
By following these eight actions for your site, you’ll improve your SEO and ranking two to three times, quickly. Never overlook plug-ins and automation to make SEO easier. Let your theme choices and plug-ins do much of the SEO work for you.