18 Effective Search Engine Optimization Techniques

By Sue Cooper (c) 2010
Proper Search Engine Optimization, otherwise known as SEO, has quickly become a popular topic of conversation among website owners and entrepreneurs. The difference between having a successful website, and hosting a flop, is often the difference between whether or not you’ve incorporated proper keywords and phrases into your webpages.

Learning proper SEO techniques can seem like a daunting task, especially to those who are not familiar with the concept. The following list offers 18 simple SEO techniques you should keep in mind when developing and marketing your website.

1. Make sure your website is initially designed with your search engine optimization needs in mind. Search engines look for text, not flashy graphics and cool layouts. The trendiest web designs will mean nothing if no one is able to find your site.

2. Every page of your website should have a title tag with text describing either your site or what is on the page. Be sure the text includes SEO-type keywords instead of the name of your website. Unless you’re incredibly popular, no one is going to be looking for you by searching for your name. They’ll most likely search for a product or service and the keywords you use will lead them to your site.

3. Consider canonicalization, or whether or not your website address includes or excludes the www prefix. If you choose to use the www version of your website, make sure the non-www version directs users back to the one you use. Make sure you use your preferred version (http://www.mydomain.com or http://mydomain.com) every time you place a link to your site on the web. Don’t use both!

4. When designing your website, be sure to avoid too many drop-down menus, confusing image maps, and excessive images. If you must use any of these methods, be sure to include plenty of text links for the search engine spiders to find and identify. Without links, the search engines will not pick up your site information.

5. It does not matter what type of website extension you use (ie. .html, .htm. .asp, .php). Search engines do not look at the web extension and it will not have any impact at all on search results or ranking.

6. Every page on your website should include a link to your home page and your sitemap. Make sure every link is the same. Home page links should go directly to your domain (http://www.mydomain.com). Make sure your internal links do not include the additional /index.html or .php text as it is not needed (ie. http://www.mydomain.com/index.html).

7. Are you sharing a server with other websites? If so, you’ll want to conduct a black-list check to make sure you are not sharing a proxy with someone who has been banned by search engines in the past. Being on the same server as a website with a poor reputation may damage yours.

8. You’ll hear the same phrase over and over again: “Content is king”. It is imperative that your website have fresh, unique, and quality content that is updated on a regular basis. Be sure to include your favorite keyword phrase within the body of the content!

9. People are more likely to input a phrase instead of a single word when conducting internet searches. If your business has a physical location, incorporate the name of your city into the text as well. For example, you might use “our Philadelphia location” instead of “our location”. Including your city name will improve the chances of your site being seen in location searches.

10. If the information on your company website doesn’t change regularly, or remains static, you might want to consider starting a blog. Search engine spiders are always looking for fresh content. Use your blog as an advertising tool and link back to your website within each and every post.

11. Write naturally. The worst thing you can do is try to cram a zillion keywords into your article or blog entry, making it messy and difficult to read. Search engines are able to determine whether or not your text is logical and they will ignore content with ridiculously high keyword density.

12. Building links to your website is essential to its success. As a matter of fact, links are like the queen to complement your king’s fresh content. Choose a keyword phrase and network with other websites, asking them to place links on their pages. Don’t hurt your ranking by having non-related websites place haphazard links. While it may seem great to gather 100s of backlinks, you’re better off limiting your links to related websites. Ten relevant links stand a better chance than 100 irrelevant links.

13. Links within your website should be built with keyword phrases as well. Try to avoid using generic anchor text such as, “click here”.

14. Don’t place a list of links on your website. Always place a link within at least two to three lines of related content. The better your description, the more likely it is someone will click on the link.

15. Don’t limit your keyword or phrase to text links. You should also incorporate your keywords into your image alt tag and domain name, whether it is part of the name itself or contained within the description.

16. Try to avoid using frames, Ajax, and Flash as much as possible. None of these functions are keyword or search engine friendly and will hurt your SEO results.

17. Before your website can be found by the search engine spiders, it must be indexed. Search engines such as Google have regular submission forms, but it can take days or weeks for your form to be processed. Having a highly ranked website place a link to your site is a sure-fire way to have your site indexed quickly.

18. No matter what you hear, don’t be overly concerned with the Google PageRank of your website. A website that is properly developed and contains good content can outrank a website with higher PageRank.

Business Brand Essentials

What is your brand?

A “name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers.

The objectives of a good brand:

  • Delivers the message clearly
  • Confirms your credibility
  • Connects your target prospects emotionally
  • Motivates the buyer
  • Concretes User Loyalty

Essential Items for a business:

  • Logo
  • Business Card
  • Letterhead/Envelopes
  • Basic website

Why do I need a logo?

To increase your credibility.
A logo makes you look experienced and professional, and can go a long way towards making your business appear credible. And, if you’d like to be known as an expert in your field, this type of credibility is the first thing you have to establish.

What Makes a Good Logo?

A successful logo can’t be just creative or clever. Because a logo ends up being an important guest at many occasions, it absolutely must perform and behave well no matter what.

It is a tricky balancing act, but one that you can achieve. All you have to do is consider what makes a logo effective. Make sure your design follows these guidelines.

  1. Everything, including the kitchen sink – Busy logos are a roadblock to communication, so don’t crowd it with stuff. It’s easy to get carried away, but you’ll create a stronger image with fewer pieces.
  2. Bold and Beautiful -Fine lines make lovely illustrations but poor logos because they are difficult to see and a fine line will often break up or even disappear when reproduced.
  3. Does it translate into small sizes – The logo that looks great at billboard size must also work on a business card.
  4. Appropriate for the Business – This seems like common sense, but in the throes of artistic rapture, common sense often goes out the window.
  5. Make it you own -Don’t settle for the ordinary. Your company is unique—that is, it has a distinctive culture and market presence; capture this intelligently and thoughtfully.
  6. Trendy Typefaces – This is big one. Some typefaces do not translate well in the business world.
  7. Avoid Tall or Wide Logos - Odd shapes are hard to fit into common spaces—business cards, advertisements, and so forth—and as a rule they aren’t as pleasing, either. A good proportion for a logo is roughly 3 units by 2 units tall.
  8. Design Logo and Name as a Unit - If the company name will be part of the design—especially popular on signage—look for ways to integrate the two.

Designing a logo is one of the most important items for your business. It will save you a lot of money if you do it right the first time. Take your time and don’t rush through the process. You will be looking at the logo for all long time. Make sure it WORKS.

Stayed tuned for the importance of

  • Business Card
  • Letterhead/Envelopes
  • Basic website

Why Redesign?

Ask yourself these questions:
Some of the aspects which will help you evaluate your existing website for re-designing are:

  • Overall Web Strategy
  • Is your site dated? Is it more than 2 years old?
  • Functionality and ease of navigation
  • Re-working on the graphical images to optimize file sizes
  • Download Time
  • Usefulness of Content
  • Overall Graphic Presentation
  • Search Engine Optimization

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