If you want to use search engine optimization best practices or want to get updated on the latest search engine optimization techniques, then there are a lot of good SEO resources to keep you up to date. So, if you’re confused already about search engine optimization in 2010, here are my expert thoughts, based on my experience, about search engine optimization in 2010.
First off, before I go any further, I need to explain what I mean by “search engine optimization”. When I say “search engine optimization”, I’m referring to getting your website noticed in the search engines, in the “free” or “organic”, natural search results. Not Pay Per Click (PPC), search engine optimization refers to the free search results. When I refer to “search engine marketing”, that generally is the PPC, where you have to “pay” to be listed. That said, let’s get on with my list of issues that you need to be aware of when it comes to search engine optimization.
On Page Factors
When it comes to search engine optimization, it’s extremely important that your website is search engine friendly. The search engines can crawl your website and find all of the pages on the site. Each of these web pages contains unique content (enough content so that the search engines can figure out what your web page is about). Each web page must have generally accepted “best practices” applied to them, which includes:
– a proper title tag
– proper meta tags, including a meta description tag and a meta keywords tag
– proper use of .css style sheets, headings and sub headings, and SEO friendly navigation
– no hidden text or content that’s not viewable by humans
– good use of internal anchor text (the text that you use to link to other web pages on your site needs to describe what you’re linking to: if I link to the “search engine marketing services” page, then the link should be “search engine marketing services” or something more appropriate.
– proper internal link structure, which includes having more links to your most important web pages
– proper use of URLs (i.e., search engine friendly URLs), which includes using keywords in the URL. Don’t use parameters, do rewrite the URLs whenever possible.
– adding good on-topic content on a regular basis to your site. This could be in the form of articles, a blog, news items, new videos, PDFs, a message board, a directory, a glossary of terms, press releases, and other content. The most important idea here is to be adding content and growing your site, not just leaving it alone to be a static site.
There are a lot of other on-page factors that are important, and you can review the latest search engine ranking factors, for example, that are important. There really isn’t enough time here to cover everything that’s important. For now, let’s move onto the search engine optimization off-page factors.
Off Page Factors
When it comes to search engine optimization, the off page factors (things we can do to promote our websites on other websites rather than adding content and optimizing your own website. The first part order of business is to get your site “trusted” by the search engines (mainly Google). There are several things you can do to get “trusted”, which includes doing a few press releases (and distributing them through the proper distribution channels), as well as getting a few important directory listings (Yahoo Directory, BOTW.org, DMOZ.org, Business.com, etc.). Your website generally also needs to be in your more important “niche” type of directories, which will depend on your industry. If there are industry trade magazines that have “buyer’s guides” or other on-topic listings, then you might start there. The whole idea here is to get listed on websites that require a “human element” or “human review”.
So, here are the important points:
– Get Your Site Trusted (TrustRank)
– Human-edited Directory Listings
– Analyze competitors’ links
– On-topic links are key
– Focus on links from many unique domains
– Create off-site content, link back to site.
– Deep links are key (not just to home page).
– Get “links to your links”
– Get a few links each day
Combine your SEO efforts with Social Media marketing efforts. For example, once you post on your blog, make sure that you promote that blog post on the social media websites. Get links to your social media links. Read more about Google’s Top Links feature, as I first reported recently.
In 2010, exact anchor text is not necessarily good. Sure, it’s okay to have a few exact anchor text links and I would not go out and remove the ones that already have exact anchor text. But you need to vary it. Here are some examples:
Example of Anchor Text: Search Engine Marketing
Example of good anchor text: Bill Hartzer, a Search Engine Marketing Expert
Even Better: At the Pubcon Conference in Dallas, Bill Hartzer, a Search Engine Marketing Expert from Texas, says that you need to vary your anchor text.
Links within sentences are ideal, search engines are aware of information before and after the anchor text.
Learning about Search Engine Optimization in 2010
If you want to go a bit further and learn more about search engine optimization, here are a few great resources–places where you can go do learn about search engine optimization.
SEMPO Institute – This is the place, part of the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization, where you can take SEO courses and other internet marketing courses and get certified.
DIYSEO – If you’re a small business and want to be coached through the entire SEO process so you can essentially “do it yourself”, then DIYSEO is the place to go.