Back To Basics For SEO
Google have been busy drastically changing the goal posts. In the last 12 – 18 months, thousands of sites have found out what it means to be Google slapped.
However, not all sites have suffered. Some have gone from strength to strength. They have climbed in the rankings rather than slid into oblivion. So what have these sites been doing differently?
The answer, in many cases, is that they have not strayed into grey or black hat SEO techniques. They have followed Google’s guidelines and used white hat SEO techniques. Most of which are basic TYTSEO techniques many of which are as old as the industry itself.
Sound SEO Foundations
Building your site on strong foundations and using sound manual link building techniques is key to long-term success. If you do this and take care of the basics, you will get results and they will be results that last.
A well laid out site is essential.
You have two audiences you need to take care. They are Google and visitors to your site.
Google Site Structure
Do not be tempted to skip reading Google’s webmaster guide. Follow it and you will get your site structure right.
Here are the most important elements.
No duplicate content – this means writing unique content for every page of your site. You should even change product descriptions if they appear in more than one place.
Build a sitemap – A sitemap helps Google to crawl your site. The more pages Google can crawl and index the better it is for your rankings.
Links – fix any broken links. Remember to provide internal links to help your customers navigate your site. They will stay on your site longer and Google likes relevant internal links too. Every page on a site should have a link to it.
Do not put dozens of links on a page. It is better to break a subject up into several smaller pages. Too many links on a page looks like link spam to Google. How many is too many is a matter of debate, and something you have to decide on for yourself.
Keywords – Use keywords liberally throughout your site. Use as many variations as possible, but do not saturate a page in keywords. No more than 2% for any keyword is usually about right. This is not because that is the magic number, but because the page usually reads naturally at that rate. Using a range of keyword variations makes it easy to achieve this level. I am not saying this is the level Google is defiantly looking for, but it is a good place to start and definitely does not look like keyword stuffing.
Images, Video and Rich Snippets – Google likes to see people giving customers the chance to receive information in different ways. They like sites that use text, video and images, so mix your content up.
Remember to label videos and images properly. Use the “ALT” attribute, so Google’s bots know what they are about.
Summarising information into rich snippets helps people to scan sites and find what they are looking for. Use them where appropriate, but label them properly. Google likes them and advices using them.
Titles – Do include your keywords in your titles. There is some argument about Meta tags and whether you should use your keywords here. Doing so makes sense, but will potentially tell your competitors what your keywords are. However, just by doing some quick text analysis they can see that anyway. My instinct is to use them and make them keyword specific.
User Site Structure
If you structure your site to please Google you will automatically please your visitors. Your site will be well written with information presented in a variety of ways. Good links will make it easy to navigate; a sitemap will help them too.
However, you do need to make sure that you tailor your content to appeal to your target audience. The language, layout and graphics you use should all be appropriate to your primary audience.
Having a good site is not enough you have to market it and use sound SEO techniques to do so. You need to create buzz and draw traffic from as many legitimate sources as possible.
Spread the Word
Post about your site as much as possible. Doing so brings traffic and builds links. This means having several social pages, at the least Google+ and Facebook. You also need a Twitter account and should consider Pintrest, Tumblr and a few others. Include buttons on all posts, so they can quickly be shared and liked.
Use video on your site and post them on YouTube too. Guest posting brings you strong links and if you post on the right, sites it will bring you traffic too. Press releases work too, but only if you have some real news and post on high quality sites like Online PR News, News Wire Today and PR Fire.
In the process of spreading the word and seeking traffic, you will build very powerful back links. You can sprinkle in a few more back links into the mix using high end article networks, web directories, RSS feeds and other link building techniques. However, they absolutely must not be your main source of links.
If you are short on time, look for an SEO firm to help you with spreading the word and building back links. This will free up time to focus on maintaining your site and writing good quality posts and press releases