There is much talk about Search Engine Optimization and there are many tips out there about how best to optimize websites. The search engines (Google, Yahoo, Wolfram Alpha, Microsoft Live etc.) do not publicise their search and ranking algorithms however there is general consensus out there as to what best practice for SEO constitutes. Below are the first four of essential SEO steps which all are simple to implement on a Website and should be considered the bare minimum of SEO:
Fresh, Relevant and Original Content
Probably the most important and effective of all SEO activities is the most basic; Updating your website and providing original and new content on your website is the single best thing that can be done for SEO. Too many people believe that once a Website has been setup it can be left and forgotten. Search bots take note of how often websites are updated and if there is copied or unoriginal content.
Blogs which are updated with fresh content tend to do well in organic search results and a big reason for this is due to the new original content. The lesson; keep your website updated and add original information for which people may search.
Google, and likely the other search engines, place importance on text style and format. Headings, underlining, italics and bold text all indicate a measure of importance to Google. Google understands for example that text with a Heading 1 style is more relevant that text with a Heading 4 style. It is of course also simpler for visitors to your website to understand the content better when the text is styled and formatted appropriately.
WARNING: It may be tempting to format all text on your website in bold or with a heading style in order to influence Google ranking however overuse of styles and formats will likely get your site blacklisted by Google. Attempting to trick Google and other search engines is considered Black Hat / Black Box SEO and is likely to be severely detrimental to your search engine ranking through being blackballed.
Relevant and Meaningful URLs
How often have you noticed a URL which means absolutely nothing to you and cannot be understood e.g. http://www.example.com/ftd5346wsdfv?=6545gb. Well, if it means nothing to you then it means as much to search bots. The recommendation here is to use descriptive and understandable URLs. Use keywords in the URL wherever possible; using the demonstration URL from previously, it would be far better, for both search bots and humans to have a URL such as http://example.com/gourmet-pizza-restaurant-sydney. Using keywords in the URL provides context to the URL for search bots. The search bots are then able to better understand what is likely to be found at the URL.
Links from other websites to your website are very influential to organic search engine rankings. Google certainly places significant emphasis on links to a site and sees the number and relevance of these links as a measure of importance of your site. Not only is the number of links to your site important but also; the relevance of the referring website, the importance of the referring website and even the text on which the link appears (for example a link on the word ‘here‘ doesn’t provide context to Google whereas a link on the words ‘SEO Specialist‘ provides meaning to the link).
Link to other relevant websites from your website and get other websites to link to your website. It’s good for SEO.
Look out for part 2 of the twelve quick and simple SEO essentials where four further easy to implement SEO essentials are explained. Part 2 includes; Sitemap.XML, robots.txt, Meta Tags and validating HTML. Part 3 will include; Social Networking SEO, DMOZ, page load speeds and unreadable content.