Following on from 50 Search Engine Marketing Techniques – Part 1, this article provides 10 additional search engine optimisation tips, techniques and strategies to help your website get to the top of the rankings.
11. Include a Sitemap
Add a sitemap to your website and include a link to the home page from your key pages. This increases ease of navigation to the home page and reduces the number of clicks a user needs to get to those pages. The fewer clicks a user needs to make in order to access a page, the more importance it has. If constructed correctly, a sitemap can also make it much easier for search engines to access all of the content on your site. Some search engines such as Google recommend that you include a sitemap to speed up the indexing process and reduce the risk of pages being overlooked by search engine spiders.
12. Target the Right Traffic
It’s all well and good having lots of traffic to your website, but if your website is an ecommerce website you’ll want to know that your traffic consists primarily of people who are genuine buyers. It’s vital to get quality traffic to your site in order to generate sales, otherwise visitors are just using up your bandwidth and server resources.
13. Get Listed on Directories
A good listing in online directories such as DMOZ (www.dmoz.org) can bring your site a lot of traffic and it will increase the link popularity of your website and potentially increase its search engine ranking position.
In general, to get your website indexed in a directory you have to submit your site to a particular category. In addition, you have to submit a description of your site. An editor will review your website submission and then either accept or reject it according to its quality. Sometimes it’s harder to get indexed in web directories than to get listed on search engines as they tend to be very specific.
14. Include Your Keywords in Your Title Tags
SEO can be a complex and challenging task, but there are some simple things that are often overlooked. You should ensure that the words that you want to be found for are included in your title tags – preferably close to the beginning. Not placing keywords in the title tag is one of the most common search engine optimisation mistakes. It’s not necessary to put all your keywords in every page’s title, only the ones that are relevant to that specific page.
15. Format Content & Imagery
Ensure that any images used have alternative text for search engines and users who have disabled images in their web browsers. You can add the ALT attribute (which is an alternative text description for images) to any image on your page, but you should only write one sentence and try to keep it short. Another useful SEO technique is to name the file according to its subject, such as oak-dining-table.jpg or high-performance-pc.jpg, etc. This can help the image to rank highly in Google’s image search and can provide a significant amount of organic search traffic to the website.
16. Use the Right Colours
Bad colours not only make browsing your website a less than enjoyable experience, they put off search engines too. Don’t use the same (or similar) colour for your text as that of your page background. This may just be a poor design decision on your part, but search engines penalise websites that do this. This approach was originally used to load keywords onto a page in order to trick search engine crawlers, but in reality all it does is confuse the search engines.
17. Use Spider-Friendly Code
18. Forget Spam & Black Hat SEO
Search engines are increasingly conscious of webmasters trying to trick them through spamming techniques. In a bid to boost their search engine rankings many site owners employ black hat SEO techniques such as artificial link building, fake social media activity, keyword stuffing and link cloaking. However, search engines penalise websites very heavily if they employ such techniques in order to manipulate search engine rankings, so even if you receive an initial boost to your rankings, there is a good chance that your website will eventually get banned completely.
Although the majority of offenders are fully aware of what they are doing, there are some people who spam accidentally. Make sure you don’t fall into this trap by checking the Google Webmaster Guidelines, which are really like the Ten Commandments for search engine optimisation.
19. Use Credible Linking Strategies
All search engines want to be accurate and want to present the most popular and relevant sites better than their competitors. That’s why linking strategies are a core part of today’s search engine marketing strategies.
A linking strategy is basically name dropping on the web, which the search engines pick up on to index rankings. It’s therefore to get your name out there, and even if you receive negative comments, it still means your site is visible in the search engines. But, as with most communication, it’s quality communication that will get you where you want to be. If you are confident that people will be talking about your products and services for all the right reasons then they will link to you.
It can be especially difficult for new websites to develop a credible web presence. After all, these sites are at the bottom of the credibility ladder. No one knows about them, no one mentions them and, therefore, no one links to them either. While the people behind the top-ranked websites have probably been building backlinks for a number of years and have established brand awareness. They may have spent vast sums of money on advertising and marketing, and if you want to compete you will need to close the gap in credibility.
20. Create a Unique Buzz
Think about how you create a buzz by offering something unique on your site that people will want to link to. Viral marketing is a great way to generate a buzz about your site on forums, social media networks and other online communities, through simple things like addictive games or funny videos. Linking is particularly important if your website is new, and by having some unique content on it people will most likely want to link to you. Search engines see the links as endorsements of your site and the more endorsements it has, the higher your site is likely to be ranked.
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