Search engine optimization can get complicated when you have those nagging problems that seem to affect rank, but the fundamentals are very easy to understand and haven’t changed much over the years. Here are my top 5 SEO tips for beginners in the field.
Ever wonder where the clickable headline comes from in a search engine? The webmaster controls that via “title” tag, or an HTML attribute that specifies the title of the page. The optimal length for these tags is between 50-60 characters. It can be longer but it won’t show up on Google SERP and may also not be read after a certain point. This is one of the most important attributes in SEO, and should be part of any basic audit and one of the first corrective actions to take on a low-ranking website. I recommend to use a title tag about 8-10 words, even if it goes a little over 60 characters.
Updating your site content from time to time is important. Products change, offers are different and you might want to approach your audience differently based on what you’ve learned over the months or years. Writing keyword-rich content that is helpful and informative will make your site a resource customers will keep coming back to. Always build new pages and content on monthly basis. Having a blog is beneficial, because you can easily post new content all the time.
A little-known problem for some websites is duplicate content. If this scenario sounds familiar, you might have a copycat: you have keyword-rich content that customer surveys say offers good advice. Your bounce rates are low, time spent on page is high, but traffic is down from search engines specifically.
Do not ever copy content from another site, but also someone may be duplicating your content on another domain, which will require removal or deindexing. You can use copyscape.com or do a Google search with equation marks by taking a sentence from your site and searching to see if someone may have copied you.
If only a few people have copied you, then you may want to send them a DMCA Removal notice.
Directories used to be the first place to go, but today they are a good source for spam. The right directory can be beneficial, but Google is increasingly wanting more authoritative links from other resources.
It is not only the number of links that you have that is important, but also where those links are coming from. The more popular and the more relevant the site the better. If you have a technology related site, then a link from Techcrunch will be much better than a link from Glamour.com.
The way Google PageRank works and links are calculated is a whole other article by itself, but bottom line is that you need to get natural looking links and best links these days are the ones from publications and blogs. Links that are from within articles are much better than links from footers.
You should stay away from Blog commenting, forum posts, directories, blogroll ads, sponsored ads and links pages.
In later articles, I will discuss in more detail some other link building strategies.
Google’s Webmaster Tools is free and easy to use. It can help you identify basic problems with your website, and see which keywords you’re ranking well for. If you haven’t used it before, install it now and if you have it but haven’t checked it in a while, take a look and see what you might be missing.