Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The starter for ten post

For the absolute beginner SEO can seem daunting. Sure enough some of the topics can seem a bit techy, a bit involved and more then a little impenetrable. As this blog grows I'll investigate and explain all the many facets of SEO but as a starter for ten here are some basic steps that, done correctly, will have a real impact on the way your website performs in the search engines.

So, here's a simple step by step guide to the basics.

  1. Research your market and research the keywords and phrases people who would buy from you are typing into search engines. For this use tools like Wordtracker. Weave the keywords and phrases into your content and use the phrases that are the most important as keywords in your URL's. For example if you find people search for 'cheap blue widgets' and you sell these you might create a page of content about cheap blue widgets with the URL http://www.yoursite.com/cheap-blue-widgets. These are known as Search Engine Friendly (SEF) URL's.
  2. Use your keywords and phrases in your page's HTML TITLE TAG.
  3. Write a short synopsis of your page and put this in the META DESCRIPTION TAG. Google will often use the META DESCRIPTION as the snippet of info it displays in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP's).
  4. Moving on to the page content. Use HTML H1 TAGs to describe the main content area. For example if your page of content is about our Blue Widgets make sure Blue Widgets is given an H1 TAG at the start of the content.
  5. Make your navigation easy to use. Avoid JavaScript, Flash etc if possible. You can create fantastic navigation effects with simple Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) commands.
  6. Use a sitemap. A sitemap will let the search engines find every bit of content on your site.
  7. Tell Google about your sitemap using Google Webmaster Tools.
  8. Install Google Analytics (or similar) to see how people are using your site.
  9. Establish links to your website from other complimentary websites. Try to avoid simple reciprocal links (although these are easier to secure) as 'you link to me, I'll link to you' doesn't really cut with the guys at the Googleplex. Link building is very important and not easy, you will have to set some serious time aside to do this.
  10. Sort your canonicals out!

OK, that should get you heading in the right direction. Don't underestimate the time needed to carry out SEO. There are NO SHORTCUTS and any offers to get you to the top of Google for thirty bob and a fried fish will be a SCAM, don't fall for it, you have been warned.



More in this category: SEO Basics