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A Baker’s Dozen of Search Engine Optimization Tips

This is a guest post from one of our outstanding support forum moderators Ben Kemp. This was originally written in response to a question on our forum, but we felt it justified more exposure.

As a general rule, from an SEO perspective, bear in mind the most fundamental issue. Google loathes duplicate content! Google is trying to index and categorize the billions of pages on the web and calculate each page’s relevance to specific search queries. Therefore, to have any chance of attaining appearance in Top 30 SERPs (search engine results pages), pages must be accurately described…

Keep in mind that Google is an entirely automated text indexing system doing its absolute best to deliver the most relevant content to its core users. Those core users are NOT website owners! Google’s main focus is on its search customers. If you want your website to get noticed, you’ve got to assist Google et al in every way possible, by accurately describing your own content. Make it clear and unequivocal what each page is about. Ensure it is original content, properly described, and easily accessible.

Apparently, there are over 200 elements that Google assesses as it’s trying to calculate a page’s relevance to a specific search query. Individually, some of them are almost insignificant. Collectively they add up to prominence or obscurity! The thinking man understands that the more elements you get right, the higher the probability of appearance in Top 30 SERPs.

Here’s a dozen of the primary indicators of unique content to an SE spider;

  1. URLs: precise control of every page URL, carefully using primary keywords / phrase. Use Permalinks wisely!
  2. Title Tag – 70 characters limit: Accurate, carefully using primary keywords / phrase. The single most important element for every page!
  3. Meta Description – 150 chars limit: Accurate, carefully using primary keywords / phrase. By default, its used verbatim in Google SERP’s. Its very important to write a catchy phrase incorporating primary keyword phrase, one that impels viewers to click on it! I always use All In One SEO because I’m a “content control freak” and want to make sure every word is in the right place. Dynamic meta-tags are better than no meta-tags – but the ability to manually input as many elements as is possible is what makes the overall difference to SE Rankings.
  4. Meta Keywords: Accurate, carefully using primary / relevant keywords and phrases. This should NOT be vaguely related words! It should be a set of long-tailed keyword phrases specifically relevant to the page content. I’d never use more than 8-10 phrases separated by commas.
  5. 1st On-page Title/Heading: Headings offer limited space, but ALWAYS try and get at least one primary keyword into the title, and the tag must be H1 or H2, not an ‘imitation’ with large/bold text.
  6. First Paragraph: Very important to get the primary keyword phrase into the beginning of the first sentence!
  7. Last Heading: If you use one, reiterate a primary or secondary keyword phrase.
  8. Last Paragraph: Quite important to get the primary or secondary keyword phrase into the beginning of the first sentence!
  9. Images: Use keyword-rich image file names! Provide a descriptive and accurate image ALT text that uses a primary keyword phrase. Don’t overdo it – just lightly reinforce the page content descriptions.
  10. Anchor Text: Provide links to other Internal Pages from primary/secondary keyword phrases within page content. Don’t waste the opportunity available to give clues to content on other pages! Using “Click Here For More” is not productive.
  11. Menus: CSS drop-down menus are good. Text menus are good because they (usually) describe briefly the content of the page at the end of the link, providing an additional clue/reinforcement for the SE spiders. JavaScript menus are a disaster because they are completely invisible to Google et al.
  12. Latent Semantic Indexing: Within the overall content, don’t use excessive primary/secondary keyword repetition. Instead, employ a sprinkle of similar words having the same meaning… and variations of the primary words; e.g. mortgage, mortgaged, mortgagee, mortgagor, lend, lending, lender, financing, funding, loan, loans, loaned etc… Reinforce the primary / secondary keyword phrases with supporting content. LSI is based on a mathematical probability that if a page says its about something, AND general content also contains related words / phrases, then it IS accurately described and IS specifically relevant to related search queries.
  13. USE Google! They’ve got two absolutely essential items designed to help you! The first is the Google sitemap, and there are plugins available which totally automate generation of the sitemap.xml file every time you add or edit page or post content. The 2nd is Feedburner… Create a Feedburner account, and add your RSS Feed to it. That gives you an intravenous pipeline directly into the belly of the beast! I’ve regularly got blog posts and page content appearing in “Google Alert” distributions within 2 – 3 hours of publishing the post or page! Feedburner also offers you a managed email subscription service which routes your new content directly to interested users…

Guest Author’s Bio: Ben Kemp has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry, including 15 years as a freelance IT consultant. He is one of Australasia’s longest serving website SEO practitioners, with clients throughout NZ, Australia, Thailand, UK & USA. He specializes in implementing CMS websites. You can read him at bjk@ComAuth.co.nz or http://www.comauth.co.nz.

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