1. Relevant and Quality Content
Content is king! There is no way around this and all the off-page or black-hat SEO you may employ will be in vain unless you have content that people want to view/read. Search Engines understand text better than video, images or sound so if you don’t have much text then make absolutely sure that you always fill in the meta fields such as ‘Title’, ‘Alt’ and ‘Caption’. Search Engines take notice of the text in these additional meta fields so use them to properly described what is in your image, video or sound file.
Action: In 2011 make an extra effort to include relevant content that your viewers want to see, hear or read. In addition help the Search Engines by including extra data where relevant.
2. Search Engine Webmaster Help
As inferred earlier, helping the Search Engines to crawl your Site is good SEO! There are numerous free (and paid) services available that will help you identify where Search Engines are having difficulty crawling your Site, where links may be broken and so on. Two of the best services are Google Webmaster Central and Bing Webmaster Tools and with these two being free to use there is no excuse to not take advantage of the brilliant SEO positive information that they provide.
Action: Sign up and enable one of these Webmaster services and then every few weeks sign-in to see what the services are seeing and where they are having problems. Make changes to your Site accordingly and you will benefit through higher rankings in the SERPs.
Localization has become a very hot topic of SEO in 2010. It is still early days for localization and even the definition of this term differs (e.g. does localization refer to a neighbourhood, a state, a country etc.). One thing is for sure and that is that there are some activities related to geographic location that make for good SEO and in 2011 the importance of localization will continue. Things like hosting your Site in the same country as your target audience and having a TLD consistent with your target audience all make a big difference to the quality and quantity of visits.
Action: Get a domain name with the Top Level Domain (TLD) of your target audience (e.g. for Australia get a .au domain name). Also, host your Website in the country of your target market.
4. Website Objectives
Regular readers of my content will know that I am a big fan of setting Website objectives and then focusing Website activities on meeting these objectives. I’m amazed that setting Website Objectives isn’t often mentioned as a critical SEO activities but I guess that’s becasue it is very strategic rather than tactical.
Setting objectives is kind of like looking at a map; if you don’t know where you are going then how do you know which route to take. Objectives define where you want to go with your Website and then all the activities you take regarding your Website is essentially the route to meeting your final destination (your objective/objectives).
Action: As soon as you can set your Website objectives and then throughout this year focus on meeting those objectives (just remember to describe your objectives in high-level business terms; an objective like ‘have a minimum of 1000 unique visits a day by 20 December 2011’ isn’t generally a good a objective as what business outcome are you getting by having 1000 unique visitors a day?).
5. Move to WordPress
I am very biased towards WordPress Websites because of my being a WordPress Website Designer. Because I often move clients from their existing Web software to WordPress I get to see first-hand the SEO benefits of WordPress. I honestly believe that WordPress is best for SEO for two reasons; WordPress is naturally SEO ‘friendly’ and equally importantly, WordPress makes it so incredibly simple for people to SEO their content (e.g. with meta data, ‘prettylinks’ etc.).
Action: Move to WordPress, you won’t regret it!