Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process used to create websites that appear high with search engines.  SEO tends to focus on Google, as Google has by far the largest share of the world markets.

Effective SEO on a website makes the difference between the website receiving many visitors (and in the case of e-commerce sites, making many sales) and a website being out in the wilds and rarely visited.  There are many websites that have useful content and look great, but without good SEO, they will not receive the visitors they deserve.  These SEO tips are designed to help you create a website that is found - again and again!

1. Choose your keywords and phrases

The first stage is to choose what keywords (or more aptly, phrases) you want to optimize your site for.  It's only really possible to optimize a page for 1 or 2 key phrases, so for example if you are selling gizmos, gadgets and gubbins from a store in London, with free shipping in the UK, your 6 key phrases might be:

"London gizmos", "London gadgets", "London gubbins"
"UK gizmos", "UK gadgets" and "UK gubbins"

At the start of the Search Engine Optimization process, it's better to focus on 2-4 word phrases that include your most important keywords, as there will be less competition for longer phrases, however by optimizing for a longer phrase, you are also optimizing for all the phrases within it (so for example, by optimizing for "buy gizmos in London, UK" you are also optimizing for "buy gizmos", "gizmos in London", etc.)
 

2. A Consistent Message

Once you have chosen your 1 or 2 key phrases, the next stage is to provide a consistent message throughout the site that this is what the site is about.  The home page is particularly important for this and these key phrases (or slightly different versions of them) should be contained:

  • The domain name of the site (e.g. www.1seocompany.net).
  • In the Metatag Title of the page (once is normally enough).
  • In the <H1> Title (the large, visible title and again use the keyword phrase once).
  • In the Keywords Metatag (don't repeat phrases, but use the same keywords 2 or 3 times in different phrases).
  • The URL (address) of the page, if it's not the home page.
  • A few times in the main body of text (more on this later).
  • In the ALT tags (use a similar phrase once and a keyword a few times if you have several images).
  • In the file names of images (particularly important for image searches).
  • In links to other pages of your site (once for a phrase, a few times for a single keyword).
  • In links from the other pages of your site going to the home page.
  • In links from other websites going to this page (e.g. London SEO Company will give you more benefit than www.1seocompany.net).

Select different pages to focus on different keywords and give each page its own 'Consistent Message', where you apply SEO for the relevant keywords to that page.  It's important that the message is consistent but not too consistent.  Normally it's best to include the same phrase in the Metatag Title, H1 Title, page URL and at least once in the text, but to vary it slightly in the other aspects of a page.
 

3. Keyword Density

Keyword density is the number of times that a keyword is used in a page as a whole.  If you have one keyword that is your principle focus, then the overall keyword density of a page should be 3-7% for SEO.  For example, if a page is 500 words long, then use the single keyword 15 to 35 times on the page.  It doesn't matter if you use it 15 times, or 35 times, as this is just one of many factors search engines look at, so write the text naturally and then do a word count afterwards and modify it if you find you've used the keyword too few times or too often.

A useful SEO tip is to include the relevant keywords in the footer of a website and this way you ensure that they appear on every page and it helps increase the keyword density, without having to artificially insert extra words in the main body of text.

For important pages I would recommend a word count of at least 500 words, partly as Google values pages with a decent word count and partly because this allows you to use lots of other relevant words on a page (for example, as well as this page using 'SEO tips', it could also use "seo services", "seo advice", "search engine optimization tips", "Google tip", "Yahoo tip", etc. which all help if someone enters a longer search, such as "Google SEO tips".

4. Good content is part of good SEO

When focussing on SEO it's essential to remember that you have two end-users:

1.  People - your potential clients or customers.
2.  Search Engines - Google, Yahoo, Bing, MSN, etc.

Optimizing your website for search engines is pointless if when people visit your website they immediately click the Back button (which is the most commonly used button in Internet Explorer, Firefox and other browsers).  If your website isn't also Design Optimized (i.e. it looks good) or if it doesn't have quality content, then you won't convert visitors to buyers, or encourage visitors to stay on your site long enough to take an interest in the message you're wanting to communicate.

So, if something in these SEO suggestions and tips means that a page won't be useful, relevant, interesting or appealing to your users, find a way around it - use an image to show a witty heading and then code the CSS so that the H1 heading isn't overly large, use columns with the more optimized text in one column (such as a 'keyword cloud') and the more user friendly text in another column, be creative!  If all fails and you have to prioritise users over SEO, then do so.  People should be your top priority and Google's SEO instructions say this too.
 

5. Generate incoming links to your website

Another reason good content is part of good SEO is that if you have well written content on a website, people are more likely to link to it, add it to their favourites, mention it in their blog, recommend it on a discussion forum, etc.

Google and other search engines count every link to your site as a 'vote of confidence'.  The more high quality incoming links that point to your website, or a specific page, the higher your site will appear with search engines.  Here are some tips for generating links:

  • Ask friends, colleagues, suppliers or clients to link to you.
  • Search for your key phrase in Google and go through the top 100 or so results - submit your site to any directories that appear, add relevant comments with a link to your site on any blogs or forums you find and once you have some great content, ask other webmasters to link to your article or web page.
  • Submit your site to a range of search engines and directories (there's no need to overdo this, submitting your site to 10,000 directories won't improve your SEO with Google).
  • Write an interesting article and submit it to article directories with links in the 'about the author section' going to your site.
  • Exchange links with other relevant, high quality websites (it's worth finding out about PageRank and being aware of fake PageRank and other scams when swapping links).

Do NOT participate in mass link schemes promising you 100's of links to your site instantly (this is an obvious form of search engine manipulation and is more likely to get your site banned from Google than help it).
 

6. Our final SEO Tip

Use the services of 1 SEO Company.

If you would like SEO training or detailed SEO reports for your chosen keyword phrase, then we're happy to help.

Similarly if you would like us to optimize your website for you, including generating relevant one way links from a range of other websites, then we can provide this service.  Our link building service includes creating other links from mainstream websites (with a links page PageRank of 1, 2 or 3), article writing and submission and directory submission.

I hope you've found these SEO tips helpful.  We would appreciate your feedback, so please let us know your thoughts if you found this helpful, if you disagreed with anything or if you would like an SEO tip not covered in this article.