As we rapidly approach the end of 2012, we take a look at the top SEO tips for 2013 in a slightly theologian way.
- Thou shalt research keywords properly.
It should come as no surprise that current search technology is driven by keywords. They are the cornerstone of an effective SEO campaign and should be your first port of call. Without this everything else you do will be misdirected and you will wonder why you are not being picked for your chosen area. There is little point in writing about “Estate Agents in Bexley Heath” if you don’t include those keywords. Spend some time researching your keywords and use the free Google Keywords Tool to do this. Not only will it give you ideas but it will also show you how many people are searching for your keywords, both globally and nationally.
- Thou shalt have due regard for your website’s trailing URL.
When writing fresh content for your website make sure that the trailing URL includes keywords that you wish to rank for. If you are producing a new page for dog toys then you should have the URL as “http://www.mywebsite.com/dog-toys.html”. This helps Google get a feel for what the page is about and a feel for the relevance of the content. Avoid any trailing URLs that look like this “http://www.mywebsite.co.uk/?page_21” as this is totally useless to you.
- Thou shalt covert an attention grabbing page title.
Giving your website page an interesting title is key to people clicking its link in the Google results pages. When making a search the page title is the first thing that any visitor will know about your page or website. Make it interesting so that it increases its chances of being clicked. Ensure that you include keywords or key phrases in the title so that both Google and your visitors know that it is relevant to both them and the content.
- Thou shalt not ignore the <H1> tag.
Heading tags allow your website to tell Google what is especially important on the page. The heading tags go from <H1> to <H5> in a descending order of importance, but all are seen as more important that the the main body of text. Make sure that you include keywords or key phrases within the heading tag, but keep it short, sweet and attention grabbing just as a news paper headline would be.
- Thou shalt see your content as king.
This SEO mantra has been shouted out for so long that every website owner either must or should know it by now. Without content Google has no idea what your website is about or where to put it in the search engine results pages. The fruits of your keyword research must flow through the content in a natural and easily readable way. Remember that good SEO web content must be written primarily for the visitor and not for Google. Avoid “keyword stuffing” as this makes the content difficult to read and with sophisticated algorithms, Google will rightly think that you are “keyword spamming” and may well smite you. You must regularly update your website with fresh and unique content that is well written, compelling and optimised for your keywords.
- Thou shalt abandon using the meta keywords tag.
In days gone by website owners and some of the more nefarious SEOs would stuff the keywords meta tag with search terms to manipulate Google into giving them much higher search engine results. It became a battle to see who could repeat the keyword the most. Google now pays little if any notice to the keywords meta tag and you should not spend any time in using it. On a happier note, you could spend that time with your family or loved ones which is a much better idea.
- Thou shalt avoid cheap back links.
The concept of back links is for Google to see how respected your website is in the online community (or congregation if we are keeping true to this article). If you are publishing good quality and compelling content then it is likely that your visitors will want to link to your website or web page, thus giving you a much wanted online vote. Some website owners and SEOs have taken this to mean that the more back links you get the better, not caring where the back link comes from, how relevant the linking website is or how authoritative that domain is. This method has left many websites with an overwhelming amount of low quality, low relevance back links that since the release of Google Penguin, have done more harm than good. To their credit Google have recently released their Back Links Disavow Tool, in an effort to help some website owners clean up their act.
- Thou shalt navigate and populate.
One of the key Google bug bears is broken links and poor on site navigation. Make sure that all internal links and menus point to their correct pages and that each internal link will not end up with a 404 error. If you are creating internal liks from your content to specific internal pages make sure that the links include anchor text which is relevant to the page that you are linking to.
- Thou shalt help Google.
A key aspect of SEO is helping Google and the other search engines crawl your website properly and efficiently. A fundamental methos for this is creating an XML sitemap and submitting this to both Google and Bing, via their respective webmaster accounts. An easy way to create your XML site map is by going to XML-Sitemaps.com, downloading a sitemap and then uploading it to your root domain folder on your server. From there you will submit your sitemap to your Google Webmaster account and Bing equivalent to encourage them to crawl your website at regular intervals.
- Thou shalt spread the good word through Social Networks.
Writing great and compelling SEO content is only part of the battle, the next is to get people to read it. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Digg, Stumbleupon, etc are great platforms to get your website noticed. Each end every time your publish new content on your website you need to let your social network followers know what you have done by publishing links on those networks. Of most importance is that you have social network buttons on each of your website pages so that those visitors who like what you have written can post your content onto their accounts thereby giving your website maximum exposure. The global prayer is that your content goes viral and prayers are sometimes answered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Hartley is a senior SEO at Big Red Rocket and is actively involved under the SEO Manchester brand.
Richard has worked in a number of highly competitive SEO areas with clients in the legal, accountancy and professional market places.
Owing to the sensitivity of his client base, Richard is happy to work under confidentiality agreements should the project require it.
You can contact Richard by clicking here.
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