Too many people make the mistake of spending thousands of dollars on just Pay-Per-Click (Sponsored Ads) campaigns before they realize that most people click on the non-sponsored listings more than “Sponsored Ads”.
There are several hundred techniques to achieve a higher ranking in the search results, but these Top 10 SEO Tips are in my opinion the most valuable and timeless. They are also current, as I’m making a point to update this list respective to changes in search engine algorithms.
The Tops 10 SEO Tips contained in this tutorial were created after years of experimentation and practical application with hundreds of client websites, mostly with final results of achieving higher ranking within the first page of search engine results. We hope you find these SEO tips valuable.
SEO Tip #1: Find the Best Keywords
It would be a waste of your time to optimize your website for keywords that are not even being searched for. Even if you do get top placement for a broad keyword that isn’t what most users are looking for, Google will calculate the number of times users did not select your listing, and the number of times they returned to the search results to choose a different website. Trying to beat this calculation is futile and more often than not, just a huge waste of time and energy.
Therefore you should invest some resources into finding the best keywords; that turn searches into purchases or leads. Buying Sponsored Ads and paying for high-end design and usability is the best place to start. However, there are several SEO tools and SEO software available on the Internet to help you find the best keywords; most of which are offered by the search engines themselves and are completely free.
Here is a core principle of the Top 10 SEO Tips: When using any SEO tool for doing keyword research, start by keeping your searches ambiguous, creating categories, and drilling down to create small clusters (or silos) of keywords. The results will always return new suggestions and ideas, sometimes surprising ones that you may not have thought of. In the Sponsored Ads, these clusters become your ad groups. With your SEO, they become the directories (or taxonomy) of the content you’ll want to have on your website.
Behavioral-targeting and using Long Tail Keywords are excellent ways to get a higher ranking quickly for keywords that generate sales and will have longevity to them in the search results. Poor keyword examples would be, kindle, Nike shoes, roommate new york. Here are some examples of keywords that are ideal for SEO:
- Buy Used Amazon Kindle Online
- Nike Shoes Kobe Men’s Size 10
- Find a Roommate in NYC
SEO Tip #2: Discover What Your Competitors are Doing
It’s a fact and one of my Top 10 SEO Tips, that search engines analyze incoming links to your website as part of their ranking criteria. Knowing how many incoming links your competitors have, will give you a fantastic edge. Of course, you still have to discover your competitors before you can analyze them.
Your analysis of competitors should include these extremely important linking criteria (super SEO tips), such as:
+ Competitor rank in the search engines
+ Quantity AND quality of incoming links (prioritized)
+ What keywords are in the title of the linking page?
+ % of links containing specific keywords in the link text
+ The Google PageRank™ or MozRank of linking pages
+ The popularity of the linking domain and the linking page (measured by links & mentions)
Aside from using some of the awesome SEO software mentioned on this website, here are some things I personally do when researching a competitor:
+ Click the link to their Site Map page and see what keyword you find in the links
+ Get a savvy web person to find and parse their XML Site Map to find keywords in page names
+ View the HTML title and meta tags of your top competitors to compile a list of needed content
SEO Tip #3: Write Very Linkable & Sharable Content
An article is not a sexy thing to look at here in today’s online marketing world. Generic content can’t be slapped together and thrown online with the hope that it will get a high ranking for the life of that page of content. Think about the book the Long Tail that I linked to above. I do because the content was meaningful and useful to me in my career as an SEO Expert. The content could have these attributes if it has any hope of earning and sustaining a higher ranking in the search engine results (many of these came directly from Google):
+ The content is useful
+ The content is original
+ You can’t help but link to it
+ There are supportive facts and references
+ There’s enough detail that nobody can memorize it
+ Something fun or interesting is included (like video)
+ It’s not just blah, blah, blah, content
+ There’s enough call to action to invoke engagement
+ There are visual examples, charts, and references
+ You had multiple contributors who all link to the content
+ You thank or compliment someone who shares it with others
+ You have an offer, discount, or promotion included
+ How To’s and tutorials are a great way to get people to link
+ Create a controversy
+ Answer questions
+ Conduct research & discuss the results
+ Get involved with social media
+ Create lists (Top 50 Link Building Techniques, etc)
+ Get a blog and establish yourself as an authority
+ Run a service or create a product (ie: Firefox extension)
SEO Tip #4: Optimize Your Title and Meta Tags
HTML titles and meta tags should be different on every page of your website if you wish for most search engines to store and list them in the search results. Us SEO experts have experimented with these two pieces of code to help us reach an accepted conclusion about how best to use them and what happens when you optimize them.
The meta “keywords” tag won’t be discussed in too much detail here, since Google has announced that they do not use the meta keywords tag in their ranking criteria. Because Google has a 64 percent market share in search, that should be enough to convince you to not spend a lot of time on this attribute.
Optimizing Your Homepage Title
There are different theories about how long your homepage title should be. Since Google only displays the first 66 or so characters (with spaces), my Top 10 SEO tips for the title on anything other than the homepage would be to keep the title under 66 characters and relevant to the content on the page.
However, some (including myself) argue that the value of the homepage title may warrant additional search term inclusion. Let’s take a look at Amazon and eBay homepage titles:
+ eBay – New & used electronics, cars, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods & more at low prices
+ Amazon.com: Online Shopping for Electronics, Apparel, Computers, Books, DVDs & more
+ Local SEO Services, Local Search Engine Optimization, Mobile Search, Online Advertising for Local Businesses | LocalSplash.com
+ Buy.com – Computers, Electronics, Digital Cameras, Books, DVDs, Music, Games, Software, Toys, Sports
Optimizing Your Homepage Meta Description
The same best practice applies here. Get those top terms into a description that isn’t spammy and is a clear indicator of what your website is about. Below are the meta descriptions from eBay and Amazon.
+ Buy and sell electronics, cars, clothing, apparel, collectibles, sporting goods, digital cameras, and everything else on eBay, the world’s online marketplace. Sign up and begin to buy and sell – auction or buy it now – almost anything on eBay.com.
+ Online shopping from the earth’s biggest selection of books, magazines, music, DVDs, videos, electronics, computers, software, apparel & accessories, shoes, jewelry, tools & hardware, housewares, furniture, sporting goods, beauty & personal care, broadband & DSL, gourmet food & just about anything else.
The rule of thumb here is to get your most important keywords into your homepage title and meta description.
Optimizing Subpage Titles and Meta Tags
Let’s take a break for a moment and discuss Click-Through Rate (CTR) and Bounce Rate. When you perform a search in a search engine, what shows up in your web browser is called an impression. When you make a selection, that selection is called a click. Google and other search engines record each impression and each click to help them understand which listings are being clicked on the most. They also record patterns (so stop thinking about getting all your friends to search for and click your listing). If the majority of normal search volume selects your listing, you’ll have a higher CTR and higher ranking; the same applies for Sponsored Ads by the way.
That being said, if a healthy percentage of searchers return to Google’s search results (called a Bounce) and select a different listing, your CTR value will be reduced and ultimately so will your ranking.
To get and stay at the top of the search results, you need to be the most attractive listing in the search result, and you need to provide enough content to prevent the searcher from leaving your website to find a different listing.
This one SEO tip could make or break your SEO campaign. Click-Through Rate (CTR) plays an instrumental role in how relevant Google thinks your website is. By compelling users to click with clear call-to-actions (buy, order, download, beat, fix, etc) and by using value propositions (guaranteed, on sale now, etc), one can improve their CTR and search engine ranking. Oh, don’t forget to squeeze your keywords in there as well.
If you ever forget this SEO tip, just perform a search in Google for “title tag principles”, where you’ll find my listing invoking these principles. Told ya I was good at this stuff, didn’t I?
SEO Tip #5: Optimizing Your Headings and Subheadings
In college and some high schools, essays are written using a standard guideline created by the Modern Language Association (MLA).
These guidelines included how to write your cover page, title, paragraphs, how to cite references, etc. On the Web, we follow the W3C’s guidelines as well as commonly accepted “best practices” for organizing a web page (page structure).
Headings play an important role in organizing information, so be sure to include ONLY ONE H1 tag when assembling your page, and optionally using one or more subheadings (H2-H6). Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS),
I was able to make my h1 at the top of this page more appealing. Here’s a piece of code you can pop into your heading.