There are many posts like this, but this one is mine.
As has become tradition, after I write a long rambling post, I generally go to bed and think, no one is going to read all that crap. So I write another companion piece which is in a style more agreeable to the attention span of the average Internet user. So here are 10 short, simple, and maybe even useful search engine optimization tips:
- Create lots of well written, well formatted, engaging content.
- Be patient!
- The most important words you choose are those that appear in the title and first paragraph, these are your keywords.
- Design for people first, robots second.
- A focused website is a SEO friendly website.
- Don’t play with fire. Being banned from Google is the Apocalypse, don’t do what they consider to be spam.
- Don’t buy snake oil. Look at the public track record, history, qualifications, and publicized results of anyone who claims to be a SEO expert. Then look again.
- People like visual stimuli, so use images and video with your text. But always remember search engines rank text.
- No website is an island. Don’t be afraid to link to peers even competitors. However don’t forget to repeatedly link to your own most valuable content.
- Beat a dead horse. Search engines robots are getting more clever all the time, but they have a simple purpose in life, they read webpages and add them to the search engine index. So writing yet another article even just a couple paragraphs which is keyword rich will likely improve your rankings an iota eventually. You have to keep with your search engine optimization efforts for six months, a year, forever.
Also start paying attention to your referral logs or your website statistics, but don’t become obsessive. Google Analytics has more information than most people will ever need. Establish a baseline on how your website performs for your chosen keywords now, then measure your progress. Have a single, modest goal and work towards it. Whether you’re trying to sell something, increase pageviews, increase ad revenue, increase followers/fans, increase the number of pages indexed, increase incoming links, increase social media mentions, or increase Klout you have to focus. You can’t have it all, right away.
The goal of search engine optimization is to become authoritative not popular. Remember that and good luck.
Social Media ‘Gurus’
The Onion seems to share a similar opinion to me on the actual qualifications and expertise of most social media experts.
Most of the top search engine optimization tips get repeated over and over as most people are too lazy to update their website, carefully write their headings, descriptions, and opening paragraphs. A lot of people start blogs but then never update them. A blog that hasn’t been updated in months let alone years is a major negative quality indicator. John Jantsch’s recent post is WordPress specific but mentions Yoast’s plugin. No one plugin is going to make your blog rank number one for a popular keyword such as “online marketing expert“. Even putting that phrase in bold and italics won’t be enough to stand out in such a crowded field.
I recently collected the best of my online publishing and writing advice in one single post. Other people keep writing posts with wonderfully euphonious titles such as “10 SEO Tips to Improve Your Search Rankings–and Your Website“. Shame Marketing Profs have made it so annoying to leave comments on their website, that is not good website design, comments also help SEO, though you have to police them for spam and general assholery.