Not everybody is able to implement a full-scale SEO strategy. The reasons for this may vary; time, budget, technological barriers, etc. For those that find yourself limited by what you can do now, here are the essentials of SEO:
Let's not confuse this with lots of content. Filling your website with content is a great idea, but its not about the volume of the content but the quality of the it. People get caught up in adding pages and pages of content and end up with lots of pages of useless or repetitive junk. When adding content to your website here are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
If you can't answer yes to at least one of those questions then you're adding content for all the wrong reasons and its simply not anything worth having on your site. Think of your visitor and the overall value your content is providing them first.
Of course, once you've got great content on the site, it doesn't hurt to optimize it for keywords!
We signed a new client recently that came to us and didn't have any title tags on their pages. I've seen many content management systems in my day and the worst I've ever come across is those that duplicate the company name in the content across all the pages, but never have I seen one that wasn't even programmed to do that. This wasn't just a blank title tag (< title >< /title >), there was nothing here at all.
Can we all agree that awareness of the importance of the title tag is a minimum requirement to be considered a web professional?
Look, the title tag isn't just important for SEO, its important period. But for SEO, heck, this is what the search engines display as the clickable link in the search results. No title means there is nothing to click.
OK, but you also should optimize your title. Use your keywords. Unless you're a well-branded and well-known name, keep your business name out of (or at least at the end of) your title. Using your keywords in the title will not only help you rank well but it will also improve your click through rate. If you were searching for belts, which of the following would you click first?
Suzies Clothing Boutique
Belts: Brand Name and Custom Designed Belts for Business and Fun
The second one. Sure if searchers don't find what they wanted int he first then they might go back and click into the first site, but why take that chance. Get the first click by using keywords in your title.
Technological barriers can prevent your site from being adequately spidered by the search engines. If that's you then you can forget about getting any good rankings. Another client we recently signed has some severe spiderability issues. Let's say their domain name is http://www.domain.com. That's all well and good, but when you click any link the domain changes: https://www.domain.com:1234.
There are two problems there. First the obvious, :1234 is added onto the end of the domain. This is the same as sending the visitor to an entirely different site. The other issue has the same result, the http changes to https. While the secure httpshttps the default for the entire site.
These are pretty extreme examples but there are other things that can prevent spiders from indexing your pages. These things are improper navigation links, unintentional blocking using meta tags or the robots.txt file, too many parameters in your dynamic pages, etc. Bottom line is that you need to identify and correct any such spidering issues if you want your site to perform.
Too much can't be said about the need for good quality keyword research. This is the starting point and if you get off track here, you'll find yourself way off base later having lost time and money in significant proportions. Don't neglect keyword research. Do it as thoroughly and comprehensively as possible.
You may not be able to do full keyword optimization into every page, or target every relevant keyword for your site, but taking the time and energy to paying attention to the issues above will go a long way towards developing a search engine friendly website.
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Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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