There are many things being said about the best and more appropriate way to conduct the SEO of your website. Some steps are more important than others, and amazingly, some are too obsolete to the point of becoming myths.
There are metatags on the page header that you should be using and some tags that are no longer needed like in the case of the infamous “keywords tag”. Today, I’m only going to refer to the most common practices that had, by my own experience, given me the best results or make the most sense to me. Please know that the order of the tips below does not represent the of order importance. Every step you can take towards making your site more search engine friendly is very important.
I will start with the things you should not be doing or “the myths”.
- The myth about the keywords tag. You don’t have to use it anymore, but don’t worry if you already are. Just make sure you don’t abuse it. Here is why.
The keywords metatag is completely obsolete and doesn’t get considered at all by today’s search engines. They used to be important in the past, but as search engines algorithms became more complex, they learned that this particular tag was being abused to extremes and used wrongly. If your page uses the keyword tag, then don’t worry about deleting it. It won’t hurt you either, but at least make sure it doesn’t look “spammy” with a bunch of keywords thrown in there repeating over in different ways. This will actually hurt you. It is said that Bing looks at the keyword metatag to find spammer culprits.
- Don’t use keyword phrases repeating itself many times in the same page.
It is important, very important to use keywords phrases in your content, but use it in a way that looks natural and written in a way that is pleasant to read. Remember, if it looks spammy, it probably is, and search engines are well trained to detect this.
- Don’t copy and paste the content from another website! This is a big no. It is not only unethical, but it will hurt you in the long run. Modern search engines like Google can penalize your page’s rank for duplicate content.
- Don’t modify your important root files unless you know what you are doing. This is to avoid making your site “uncrawlable” by an incorrect robots.txt file or too many session’s ids.
There are some other things you should avoid but the most important one of them all… Don’t try to spam other websites, blogs and comment sections on other sites just to spread the link to your website around. This is very annoying and highly unethical. You don’t want to receive spam from others, so don’t do it either. There are many so-called “SEO companies” out there that are nothing more than spamming services that will promise to increase your site ranking by creating backlinks to your site. Don’t use them. It will hurt you in the long run as well.
Things you definitely want to do:
- Keywords density but in a healthy and natural way. Search engines like Google will look at how many times a keyword is used in order to rank your website. Don’t try to repeat a keyword like crazy and then hide it. This will hurt you for sure. Just be natural and use it as many times as it’s needed. Nothing more.
- Use the title attribute on your pages to give it a name. This is what appears on the search result and tells the visitor what the page is about. Use it wisely, and make it catchy.
- Ok… The backlinks and links from your site. Here is where you can get creative and practice healthy SEO. It is important to have links pointing to your site from other pages. Specially if the other page has a high ranking. But before you go and spam the heck out of the web, just think of creative ways of doing this. How about social media? I’ll give you an example. You see that section below where I show my latest tweets? Sometimes I go surfing the web and come across an interesting website that catches my attention because it is about something I have interest in. If it’s well put, attractive and pleasant to me, I will surely share it on my social networks even if it’s a site from a competitor!. This tweet will show on every page of my website and will contain the link to that other person’s site. If Google happens to crawl my website that particular day, it will be a nice plus to that link. The same works in vice versa. I have seen several pages from my own website shared many times, giving me an advantage and giving me those always welcome backlinks. Another ethical way of creating backlinks is to ask for someone’s permission to do so. It doesn’t hurt to try and in many times, this looks so good, that you will be surprised at how many “yes” you would get.
- Make your site easy to navigate and use proper coding when creating your menus. Try not to use too much flash or improper forms of ajax and scripts that can be difficult to crawl. Google is now smart enough to crawl flash pages, but if you can avoid using it, it’s better. Besides, many mobile devices don’t and maybe will never support the use of flash.
- Make proper use of the Description metatag. Again, don’t make it spammy. Use it naturally and describe shortly what your page is about.
- Make proper use of the URL structures of your pages. For instance, instead of using numbers and letters on the URL, try to use a URL that can give visitors a hint of what the page is about. Use words in URLs.
- Make your images Search Engine friendly by giving them proper names and making proper use of the “alt” tag. This tag will be a very short description and often the name of what the image is about. Have you ever search for images in Google and found exactly what you were looking for? That’s mainly the reason why.
- The best tip of all: Have great, original content on your website and be creative. Quality content plays a big role in your site ranking. In fact, forget about your site ranking. It will change whether you check it or not. Instead of checking every day to see if things have changed, it is better to focus on creating good content that will definitely attract the visits you want and therefore, the ranking you deserve. I wish you the best ranking for your site!