Stupidly Simple SEO

Over the past few months I’ve been asked time and time again “What steps can I take to perform SEO on my site?”
Generally, I ask about the site they are talking about (all sites need something a little different), have a nice little consultation with the person asking the question and then give them a list of things they may want to do (ideally), what they should do (mid-ground) and the things they need to do (must-do). So under those headings I’ve created a Top 10 list of the most common occurrences that I’ve found.

Must Do – Keep It Simple Stupid

Every site should generally have all the following completed.

Each page should have a UNIQUE title tag – add a keyword/phrase and your company name for good measure. – This is your primary marketing tool on search engines.

Each page should have a UNIQUE description – this should emphasise the main subject on this page – Its your main marketing tool on SERP’s after your Title.

Use CLEAN CODE – this at a basic stage just means that you make styling and javascript external where possible.

Use a valid STUCTURE to each page – use Heading Tags appropriately … don’t use the H1 tag more than once.

Use ABSOLUTE LINKS for internal linking – a few reasons but I like it for safety reasons, if someone copies your content they copy a link to your site (most people who copy your content are too lazy to realise this link).

Create and Update a SITEMAP – this is in essence an aid, it means search engines can see a list of pages and relevant details about them. (there are a few places that will create sitemaps for free)

Define your URL – www. vs non- www. decide which you want and add a 301-redirect – tutorial.

Be SOCIAL – get yourself on twitter, facebook, myspace, digg etc – link up a little, but more than this just build connections, talk to people ask opinions and build a network. Search Engines love people to be SOCIAL, but don’t spam social sites else they may ban you.

Where possible output to RSS feeds – you can submit these feeds to many sites, increasing your readership vastly.

Use ALT text on images – this attribute means google can index more about your site, meaning again more people can find you, and makes your site more accessible.

Mid – Ground

Still fairly simple stuff here – but requires a little more time, commitment and skill.

CONTENT is king – Give as much detailed info on the page topic as possible – do NOT copy this from another site – be unique.

REPLACE all “click here” links – links should be as descriptive as possible, anchor text is used by search engines and helps with accessibility.

Setup and send regular NEWSLETTERS – e-mail marketing is a fantastic way to reach your audience, encourage sign up and send out a newsletter on a regular basis.

Sign up to Google WEBMASTER tools – this is a nice little bunch of tools – sign up now for these tools.

Sign up for Google ANALYTICS – and any other analytics packages – get Google analytics.

Update your META tags – do this at least once a month until you get the best results possible for your site.

Find LINKS – ask your friends, family and anyone else for a link (or two) then go and ask other people too.

Content DENSITY ratio – this means less coding and more content!

Keywords in the DOMAIN – often this will help your SEO efforts, but only if your content is good.

Avoid FRAMES – they can’t be indexed and there are CSS/AJAX alternatives that are better for search engines and from a usability view-point.

Ideally – Getting Advanced

This is where it can get complicated and it will need real time and effort, as well as skill at a higher level.

Do NOT use Flash –  flash cannot be indexed, it won’t harm your SEO efforts (unless its your navigation) but it certainly won’t help it.

Link OUT – but only to sites your trust, this generally means the links will be of a higher quality.

Implement extra META tags – this includes the robots and expire tag.

Link new pages from your HOMEPAGE – doing this means that search engines and users will find it sooner.

Host on a REPUTABLE webhost – get a good referral and don’t jump into a deal that looks good, quality over price means you will always see more traffic to a reputable host than a host whom is questionable.

Start using PPC advertising – normally through Google Adwords (though MSN and Yahoo have similar programs), depending on your market this can be dirt cheap quality-traffic or high-cost quality traffic.

Submit PRESS releases – there a several sites that allow you to do this for FREE.

If your content SYSTEM is “out of the box” use the SEO plugin available – eg wordpress has “all-in-one SEO”, it cuts your work down.

Update ALL content on a regular basis – dependant on the size of your site you should update each page every few months (this doesn’t include blog posts).

Finally, keep clear of BLACK-HAT techniques – keep the right side of the Guidelines.

Free Sitemap Tools

    If you use WordPress I advise you use – XML Sitemaps plugin (it also creates a robots.txt file and submits the sitemap for you).

    Another nice little tool to generate XML sitemaps (though a little limited).

    Also there is this tool which generates the sitemap in a slightly different way to the one above.

Free Press Release Tools

    I use Press Box quite a lot – not the best or the worst of the bunch.

    Click Press is another nice tool – though quite limited.

    Finally, my favourite Press Release tool is – it has the best search engine pick up i’ve found for any site like this.

5 Comments on “Stupidly Simple SEO”

  1. Thanks for the heads up. Search engine optimization is not a simple process. It involves a lot of time and effort on your end to get it done. But if you get it done perfectly on the first try, then it is quite possible that you will be wallowing in success in any venture that you turn your site into.

  2. Hello,
    I have a question about the item 10. Avoid Frames. I´m looking at a website that scores high on specific terms, like: hotel (location)

    This something you would want when your business is only local. But instead of generating this by all Must-do´s it´s been done by using frames. For instance they have shortend the URL by adding this one to the CMS but the content that is shown is placed on a different URL. Yet they have managed to turn this in to a plus.

    When looking at the source you will see what I mean. Also look at Google and you will see the ´´real´´ URL below the first one.

    My question: How is this possible and does it have any future disadvantage for the website?

  3. Hi Kees,
    I believe I have just twittered you a short alternative, which may also explain why the above is happening. However, I will write an article on this later this week explaining it more for both yourself and everyone reading my blogs.

    Thanks for visiting, and I hope to chat properly soon.

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