Running a website is hard; making that website successful is even harder. A very large part of having a successful website is having good SEO and hopefully these 7 tips will help you improve SEO on your website.
- Content is king. The number one most important thing when trying to build or promote your website is that you remember you are providing a product to be consumed. It may not be a physical consumption but your content will be visually and mentally consumed by your users. So in the same sense that you want your food to taste good you must have good content. Think about the restaurants you like to eat at, why do you go to the same place over and over again? It's because they offer you something that you can rely on the quality of without worry. If you go to a website that has bad or completely inaccurate content then you have no incentive to go back, but a site with good and up to date content will get repeat visitors.
- Create unique content. Now how do you create quality content you ask? Well the most important thing is to remember to make it unique. If you copy other peoples content or repeat the same thing on every page not only will the viewer get annoyed but the search engine doesn't take too kindly to duplicate content either. Try to find a niche in the area you are most knowledgeable about and start writing unique, original content that is full of good information. This will not only please the viewer but rank higher with the searching spiders as they love new content, which will improve SEO.
- Create keyword rich text. Now that we have the quality control taken care of let's talk about the more technical side to improve SEO. Within your wonderfully written and informative content make sure to have speckled throughout some keywords relevant to that article and your website in general. These keywords are used by the search engine spiders to figure out what that particular page and chunk of content is about. If you don't have any keywords they spiders won't know what to do with it and it may get categorized wrong or even worse, lost forever in the bowels of Google. Now there is a big difference between keyword rich and keyword spam. I've found numbers ranging from 2% to 8% being the perfect balance or keywords to other words and I personally generally aim for 5%-10% to help the spiders along even more.
- Use good design sense. This isn't so much a tip to improve SEO as it is a tip to improve your site to bring back viewers. There are so many websites out there offering the same thing as the next that you have to make sure yours is the most functional and looks the most aesthetically pleasing. I've recently noticed a push for a lot of Flash based sites as well as sites that just try to look flashy and both of these are a big no-no in SEO. If your homepage is purely Flash based you aren't giving the spiders a chance to crawl your code and rank you as a Flash page is an interactive image. And if you're relying on a lot of flashy text and pictures then you have a better chance of giving your viewer a seizure then you do having them return. Just make sure that you remember that people have to use this site; and if links and other items aren't easy to find or navigate than the chances of return visitors is drastically reduced. This is a very easy step to improve SEO in the short term. If you're not sure how to do this, be sure to enlist the help of a design firm or web hosting company such as WebplusShop.
- Make it a community. This is another step to help build up your repeat customer user base to improve SEO, can you start to sense how important it is? If you have a site that people look at and say, “Well that's cool, but I don't need to come back any time soon” then you won't have repeat customers. You need to encourage comments and make content that will stimulate conversation, without this you won't be able to form the online community that keeps sites just starting out afloat. Even if you just have a very small base of people that are there every day that gives you a stable platform to build from. Those people will hopefully help new comers feel welcome and once you have a large enough number that help sustain the site you can focus on more important efforts.
- Create backlinks. Now this is definitely something you shouldn't wait until you have a large user base to do as it can be done in small amounts over time. A lot of SEO people contend that backlinks and social bookmarking efforts are in fact advertising and not actually SEO and they are right, but it all goes hand in hand when it comes to improving your site, promoting it and to improve SEO. Backlinks are any links on other sites linking back to you. Some are more powerful than others, which is easily demonstrable. If you look at two websites like CNN and Billy Bob's Crawfish Shack, which one do you think is more trustworthy? Well regardless of what you think Google values CNN far more, and any site that has a good reputation that links to you improves your reputation more than a bad site. Now all links help in getting your site out there and making people aware, but as far as promoting it and trying to get quality links aim for more well-known reputable sites. This may entail even calling businesses and seeing if you can form a reciprocal link where you would link back to them in exchange for linking to you. Many different strategies can be employed in link building from blog posting to forum posting to forum signatures to using Facebook and all help to improve SEO. The skies the limits and don't listen to link snobs who claim to have the best possible answer, it takes hard work and time to get your website out there and no overnight solution will work long term.
- Make sure to use <meta> tags and <title> tags. <meta> tags and <title> tags are used by the search engines to get a description and a feel for what you have on each page and properly utilizing them will help improve SEO. The <title> tag is that chunk of text that appears at the top of each browser window and should reflect what you have on that page; whether it's a product, an article or a picture. The <meta> tag is used by Google and other search engines to give a brief description to the viewer of what is contained on that page so summon forth your inner advertiser and write something colorful and fun. If you have similar pages don't copy and paste the <meta> tags though as you may get dinged for duplicate content or for unoriginality, remember tip number two and always be original and unique.