7 Simple SEO Tips for Better Search Rankings
In case you’re wondering, SEO does not stand for: Sanity Extenuation Overcompensation. It stands for Search Engine Optimization, but you already knew that. Below is a short list I compiled of short, actionable ways to improve your SEO ranking. Each tweak alone will not dramatically boost your ranking, but used together, they will help your site consistently move up in search engine results. Which is good. Very good.
1. <Title> Tags
Nope, the brackets weren’t a mistake. The contents of your pages title tags are very important. About as important as the rudder on a boat. (Okay, maybe not that important). This is one of the top ways search engines analyze your page. By correctly titling your pages you can ensure that search engines categorize your pages with accuracy. Here is an example of a bad <title> format: <title>CompanyName.com</title>. It would be much better to include keywords that reflect the pages contents, for example: <title>Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name</title>. For your blog use the post title in the title tag, <title>Title of Post | Brand Name</title>. So, if you’re Bill, a yacht salesman in the Caribbean, don’t title your “for sale” page <title>BillsYachts.com</title>. It would be much better to go with <title>Yachts For Sale – Used and New | BillsYachts.com</title>
2. To Flash or not to Flash
Simple put, use flash very sparingly. Flash is not indexable by search engines and therefore is often dead weight to your site’s ranking. Use HTML/CSS whenever possible. This will put your site on a strong footing for the SEO purposes.
3. Image Names & Alt Text
Name your images intuitively. Use keywords in the title instead of just a random meaningless name. For example, name images like (grand-canyon-overlook.jpg) vs. (IMG_7825.jpg). Don’t forget the alt tags either! Don’t overload them and preferably, try to keep them down to less then ten words. For example, format a image like this <img src=”grand-canyon-overlook.jpg” alt=”Grand Canyon Overlook”>.
4. Write a Blog (regularly)
Nope, I didn’t say a research paper. A blog. It’s a great way to keep fresh content on your site and bring people back. Write posts specifically geared towards your audience, and don’t worry about appealing to everyone. Leave that to the politicians. Try to establish a posting routine that you will follow. Once a week is great for most industries. If you wait much longer then this you won’t have as much credibility in your visitors’ eyes.
5. Inbound links
A great way to build your search engine ranking is to interact with other blogs in your industry. By commenting on what other people are saying, and linking back to your site with the website field, not only will you build exposure and perceived authority in your field, Google will also reward your ranking by counting these inbound links towards your own site’s ranking. That’s a very, very good thing!
6. Create an XML Sitemap
By creating an XML site map, you are helping search engines understand your site better. Most content management systems have simple tools available to generate this. For WordPress use: Google Sitemap Generator or create your own with XML-Sitemaps.com.
7. Writing the best Anchor Text
When linking to other pages on your site, keep the anchor text short, sweet, and meaningful… just like a Hallmark card. If you were linking to a page with pictures from the Grand Canyon, you’d be best served by <a href=”/grand-canyon-pictures.html”>Grand Canyon pictures</a>.
Bonus: Keywords (and why your competitors are behind the times)
So… meta keywords are really important to Google, right? Think no. Think never. Think forget meta keywords. Google has ignored keywords for years. A few of the other main search engines may still use keywords, but they are just not that important. So if your competitor has your brand name in their meta keywords, it is actually a good thing. It means that they feel threatened by you and don’t know that keywords mean basically nothing. (Commence patting yourself on the back). If this is the case, there is a good chance that the rest of their SEO strategy is out dated as well. (Keep patting).
So whether you’ve just begun a Sanity Extenuation Overcompensation Consulting Business, started an online guide to hikes in the Grand Canyon, or you’re selling yachts in the Caribbean… these 7 tips are guaranteed to make Google like your website. Which is what we all want, right?