Learn 10 essential SEO tips and tricks for getting a higher search engine ranking.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a vast topic. There are whole websites and books out there devoted to the subject. The world of SEO is also constantly changing as search engines tweak their algorithms, and new search engines come and go.
However, there are some timeless SEO techniques that will always come in useful. Here are 10 top SEO tips that you can use to improve your website's ranking on the search engines.
1. Write good content
This is maybe the most important strategy of all. If your pages contain good, relevant, useful content, search engines will be more likely to rank your page higher for relevant searches. As an added benefit, good content will encourage more sites to link to your pages, thereby further increasing your search engine ranking.
It's also good to update your content regularly. Visitors like fresh content, so they will visit your site more often. More visits lead to more links to your content, which ultimately results in more traffic.
2. Do your keyword research
Don't target a keyphrase just because it sounds right to you, or because it gets a lot of searches.
Think about what you ultimately want visitors to do on your site (your conversion goals), then find out what keywords people search for when they want to achieve those goals. Use tools such as Google Analytics to see which keyphrases result in the most goal conversions.
Stay away from 1-word (or possibly even 2-word) keyphrases that have thousands of competitive sites in the search results. Instead, use tools such as Wordtracker and the AdWords Keyword Suggestion tool to find relevant niche keyphrases with high search volume and low competition.
For example, if your online store sells Mega Widgets in the Boston area, target the keyphrase "mega widgets boston", rather than just "widgets".
3. Use your keywords wisely
Once you have a good list of keyphrases, deploy them sensibly throughout your site pages. Make sure you've used your keywords in the following text blocks (these are in rough order of importance, most important first):
- The title tag
- The h1 and h2 headings in the page
- Link text (in links within the page, and in links from other pages)
- The page URL
- Image alt text
- Bold and italicised text
4. Get other sites linking to yours
Most search engines rank sites more highly if they're linked to by other, well-respected sites.
The key here is "well-respected". Just getting linked to from hundreds of reciprocal link pages is not going to do much for your ranking. Target a few relevant, good-quality sites and directories that are full of useful info and rank well on the search engines, and try to get a link back from them.
Some link directories let you submit your site for free, while others require a fee — either one-off, or recurring. While paying for submission can be expensive, it can be worth it, especially if you're running an online store that has a lot of competitors.
5. Structure your site for SEO
Your site structure can play an important part in optimizing your pages. Make sure your pages contain plenty of links to other important pages in your site, and that it's easy to get to all sections of your site via your homepage or navigation menu.
Not only does this make it easier for visitors and search engines to find your content, but it also helps to spread your site's authority score (such as Google PageRank) more evenly throughout your site pages.