5 essential tips for effective SEO

With a slight fear of some of our audience thinking we are trying to tech them to suck eggs, it is amazing how often when surfing around we find some very good websites, created by some very good designers who seem to have overlooked some of the very basics of SEO. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is vital in ensuring your website gets listed and gets high rankings within the major search engines. When creating a new website. There may be other tips which might be appropriate for your website but here are the Top 5 SEO things to watch out for:

1. Titles

The site Title is one of the most important elements that many people forget to optimize or just do it poorly. The title element can carries a lot of weight in the ranking process and if done properly can also catch the attention of users browsing the search engine results page (SERPS). The title element shouldn’t exceed 64 characters and in general should be limited to 2-3 main search phrases. Most people optimize their pages individually and use one main keyword in the title as well as 1-2 variations or secondary search phrases based on the main keyword. It is very important avoid duplicate titles across your website or your site will be penalised in the listings.

2. URLs of your site

When using a CMS (content management system) ensure that your URL’s are search engine friendly. Most CMS’s have this option enabled but there are also lots of plugins available if your CMS does not specifically support it. Experienced users can do the rewrites themselves by modifying the .htaccess file. You want as many keywords included in your URL’s not id’s and numbers. These URL’s will help your visitors get a better understanding of your business too.

For Example:

“www.site.com/shoes/brown-shoes/” is more relevant than “www.site.com/category1/page.php?p=subcat2”

3. Content

Pages need a minimum of 300 words per page (500 or more recommended) in order for the page to target the desired search phrase(s). Be sure to include variations of the keyword and 1-3 links to relevant websites. Make sure the content is not copied from another website as even if you have relevant permissions duplicate content is frowned upon by automated search engines. You want to write for users but also optimize for search engines. Always remember that users come first, so a clearly written page will bring in more business from those visiting. If they like your content they will link to you. Avoid bolding too many keywords and try to not stuff your pages with too many ads either. Users generally dislike this approach and it can add to page load-time which is also penalised by certain search engines.

4. Interlinking

Make sure your website uses the proper anchor texts when linking to internal pages. The anchor text is the word or phrase that you hyperlink and clarity is key so it may or may not be related to the actual words used in the URL. Use the best and most relevant anchor texts for your categories and articles. The homepage usually has the biggest Pagerank and will pass most of it on to the rest of the website. Also ensure you have an html sitemap for navigational purposes and make sure you implement breadcrumbs on your website to give people a better onsite experience.

5. Backlinks

Make sure you get as many relevant backlinks to your website. This is the most important element of the whole SEO process and it’s an ongoing process. You can never have too many backlinks. Depending on your budget you can opt for paid links on other people’s websites or you can pay for directory submissions. You must be very picky when searching for paid links as many may not be suitable for your business. Directories like DMOZ and social bookmarking sites are good places to start but you could opt for press releases or any other type of linkbuilding method.

These are the most important SEO related tips to consider when starting a new website. Good luck and remember that Google loves fresh original content and that there is much truth in the statement “Content is king”!

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Tim Fuell only joined the Webfusion team last year but having been a customer of the group for more than 10 years, he knew all about their success in the Web hosting field. After writing his Masters thesis on the threat of cybersquatting way back in 1998, he has seen the Internet grow beyond even his wildest dreams. A journalist for over 16 years and a qualified Solicitor, Tim is one of a team of bloggers in the Webfusion stable aiming to educate, inform and assist their online readership.

  • Russchaplin

    This is one of the most helpful articles I have read. Thanks for the clear, concise and extemely useful information.