Everyone is trying to sell you how to improve your organic search results with Google it seems. Super Secret THIS and Special Software THAT are what they parade before you. And then the next week is Super Software with Special Secrets!
“Get rich quick!” they proffer…but you know that anything that sounds too good to be true probably IS.
Why is SEO so important and what do you need to know?
SEO is important because it is a free way to get people to come to your website. If you make wooden ships and you want people to know about it, just set up a website devoted to your wooden ships and the next thing you know (if you follow good SEO protocols), you will find your website listed on Google’s search results. However, if you don’t follow these, you will be one among many others who do not show up in search results when people type “wooden ships” in Google’s search index.
To make this easier, Google has written a guide for SEO and it’s really the best advice you can find.
I could rewrite this handy Google SEO PDF (which you can get by clicking going to Google’s Webmaster Central Blog to get it or you can also download the Google SEO Starter’s Guide from here in case they decide to take it off their site), but it might be better just to read the thing. It’s only 22 pages after all and you could certainly learn a lot by reading it.
But let me break it down to you quite simply and maybe I’ll write more about each step as time goes along.
10 Tips for SEO Directly from Google
- Use a title page that makes sense. This title is stored in an HTML tag called and you want to use it right. Be descriptive and don’t jam a million keywords into it. Google will use this when showing the title of your webpage in search results.
- Use the description meta tag called <META> as well. Write a good description which doesn’t contain any garbage like keyword stuffing. Google “may” use this under the search result title info.
- Use dashes to build your URLs and feel free to put keywords into them. You will notice that I do this with this blog (and all my others). Don’t use webpage URLs with a bunch of numbers and junk in them.
- Keep your site simple to navigate, create a sitemap and a Sitemap. A sitemap is a page you dedicate to help people find things on your site such as important pages and downloads; it’s important for your readers. A Sitemap is an XML file which Google and other search engines use to quickly index your site for search; it’s important for Google, Bing, Yahoo! and the other search engines. Keeping your site easy to navigate is done without the use of extensive menus with dropdowns and preferable instead just use simple text links to go from page to page.
- Be prepared for people to type in the wrong address, users who hack your URLs to find pages and help people to redirect where they need to go. I think it’d be a good idea to substitute your normal 404 error page with a sitemap, but I usually don’t build sitemaps anyway. There are plugins in WordPress that will handle this for you.
- Write good prose on your blog. Don’t write junk or sell people or create fake text for indexing or to trick Google.
- Use common sense with anchor text and, best of all, try to get others to link your website with anchor text. Ensure that they use appropriate keywords in the link to your site.
- Use heading tags to organize your prose into an outline structure. Don’t mix up your heading structure tags (I can’t list them here because it messes up my post). Believe it or not, Google uses these quite a bit to index your site and make it relevant for paid and unpaid search.
- Use the tag component for your images. Also use real names for picture names; don’t use pic1.jpg for instance. This helps with image search. Store your images in the same directory.
- Use a robots.txt file. This helps to keep Google from indexing certain things on your site. Let’s say that you sell a PDF file from your site and you don’t want Google to discover it and put it in their index. This file will prevent that.
Among these tips were to also use Google’s tools such as Google Analytics and their webmaster tools, which you should do as well.
Google also manages to keep track of who links to you and who you link to. Building an online reputation is probably the one factor that will get you noticed on search, so try to build some links with others…