What sense does it make to have a beautiful theme and a killer portfolio that isn’t search engine optimized? Google, Bing, and Yahoo could care less about your pretty photos and web design. They care about things like alt tags, file names, keywords, and hundreds of other really, really boring tech things. Understanding those “boring tech things” might bring you new success. Misunderstanding them could help to put you out of business.
What is Search engine optimization (SEO)?
SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to your website from search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. via “natural” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”) search results in search engines. The theory is that the earlier (or higher) a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search and so on.
The following ten tips are those that we think are either often overlooked or common mistakes. This is not a top ten list.
10 simple tips to get noticed by the world wide web:
- Content is the best optimization. Any type of optimization is effective only in combination with high quality and unique content. Ideally, the text contains keywords that highlights the overall theme of the post. The content should be understandable and readable. Use your keywords wisely. Text should be written primarily for visitors, not for search engines.
- Exchange backlinks with other relevant websites relating to your topics and with high authority websites (websites with high page ranking). Also link between pages within your website, but do this with caution and only if it’s relevant. Don’t link every page to each other.
- Think of a good name for your image files. Google also draws images in the calculation of the ranking. Google displays both text and images on it’s search results page, drawing on relevant images contained in the post itself, which are linked to the corresponding page. Implement keywords of a specific subject in your file name, instead of DSC93948.jpg use Tennis-Andre-Agassi-New-York.jpg if you have a picture of Andre Agassi in New York for example. Don’t forget to use the alt tag and title tag for your images, which also provide better usability and optimization for your search ranking.
- Use short permalinks, including keywords. Use an understandable permalink. Instead of http://yourwebsite.com/page-id?495/ use http://yourwebsite.com/andre-agassi-new-york/. Please note that only the first four words in a permalink are relevant. Google doesn’t care about any succeeding words in your permalinks.
- Use search engine optimized themes. Some themes use a lot code to create the layout and design. Google will wade through the source code to find the relevant content. The more code you have, the less content and keyword density. Fast performing themes are good for your Google ranking, since the performance of a website is one of two hundred criteria that determine your ranking.
- Create a sitemap in XML format. With WordPress and plugins like Google XML Sitemaps it is a very easy task. Google has a variety of other useful tools, too, such as Website Optimizer and Webmaster Central.
- Highlight informative content or keywords on your website. Use h1-h6 to highlight headings or subtitles of an article or important sentences. Use the strong tag, too. But please don’t overdo it!
- Add your posts to social networks. But please don’t only promote yourself. Promote other posts and websites you like. People will honor your kindness and link back to you.
- Don’t use black hat techniques or mirror html sites. If you try to trick Google, they will find out. Promise. Recently, some pretty high-profile portfolio sites were recently punished by Google for such practices. Being sneaky will do more harm than good.
- Don’t use flash. Flash is virtually invisible to search engines. Use WordPress. Period.
One of the quickest and easiest way to optimize your page ranking is to download and install an SEO plugin, like the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
This list can go on and on. As mentioned above, there are over 200 criteria, Google is using to determine your ranking including lesser-known criteria such as age of domain, duplicate content, meta description and tags, how active the website is and many more criteria.
Last but not least, don’t try too hard! Concentrate on publishing unique, relevant and quality content. If you do that, everything else will be a cake walk.