General SEO Do’s and Dont’s
Let me tell you WHAT TO DO by telling you WHAT NOT TO DO:
Don’t Ignore Your Audience
Write about topics your audience cares about. Like what? Find out, by conducting a poll (like I did), scan some relevant bulletin boards or forums, look for common topics in customer emails, or do some keyword research. There are great free keyword tools like the Google Keyword Tool or SEO Book’s Keyword Tool and loads more. The plan is not to spend your life doing keyword research but just to get a general idea of what your visitors are interested in.
Don’t Be Dense About Keyword Density
Once you have a topic for readers; help search engines find it. Keyword Density is the number of times a keyword appears in a page compared to the total number of words. You want to make sure your keywords are included in the crucial areas:
- the Title Tag
- the Page URL (friendly URL)
- the Main Heading (H1 or H2)
- the first paragraph of content.
- at least 3 times in the body content (more or less depending on amount of content and if and only if it makes sense).
Most people aim for a keyword density of 2% (i.e. use the keyword 2 times for every 100 words). But what if your keyword phrase is “SEO for Web Designers and Web Developers” how many times can you repeat that before it sounds just plain unnatural? Write for your readers not for search engines. If you follow the tips in this article you’ll be writing naturally for your readers; which works for the search engines too.
Warning: Do not over fill your page with the same keywords or you might be penalized by search engines for keyword stuffing.
Don’t Ignore Relatives
In this article, it makes sense to mention topics like “keyword research”, “search engine crawlers” and “title tag use”, but what if I mentioned a highly trafficked term like “cell phone plans”… kind of out of context right? So use other keywords and topics that make sense to your audience, the search engine measures keyword relations to determine relevancy too.
- Cars and Tires (yes)
- Web Design and Flying Monkeys (no…well sometimes)
Don’t Be Afraid of Internal Linking
Do you want the search engine to see every page on your website? Help the search engine spider do its job. There should be a page (like a sitemap or blog archives) that links to all the pages on your site.
Tip: You can promote the more important pages by inserting text links within body content. Make sure you use relevant linking text and avoid using “click here” (as mentioned earlier).
Don’t Ignore Broken Links
You should always search for and fix the broken links on your site. If you’ve removed a page or section, you can use the robot.txt to prevent the spiders crawling and indexing the broken links. If you have moved a page or your entire website, you can use the 301 .htaccess to redirect to a new URL.
Tips: You can use the Google Webmaster Tool to find broken links and your 404 Not Found errors.
Don’t Be Inconsistent With Your Domain URL
To search engines, a www and a non-www URL are considered two different URLs. You should always keep your domain and URL structure consistent. If you start promoting your site without the “www”, stick with it.
Don’t Be Scared of Semantic Coding
Semantic and standard coding not only can make your site cleaner, but it also allows the search engines to read your page better.
Search Result Position
Coding and setting up your site to be SEO friendly can improve how well a search engine can access your website, it doesn’t guarantee you’ll end up at the top of the search engine result page (SERP). There are many factors in determining the search result position, but here are the basics:
Some professional SEO’s pay attention to Google’s PageRank and some don’t. In my experience it doesn’t hurt to have a high Google PageRank. It’s a nice little benchmark to let you know how important Google sees your web page as. You can improve your PageRank by following the tips above and building-up quality backlinks. If you want to learn how PageRank works, Smashing Magazine has a very good article.
Domain Age Before Beauty
You might be surprised to learn that domain age is also a factor in the search engine algorithm. Older domains have a history, and their content is looked at as more credible than the website that got started last week. Older domains sometimes get the edge in search results.
You may have done every single thing right., but your site is still not showing up in the search engines for your target keywords. Why? Because everything takes time. It takes time for the search engines to index and rank your site (especially for new domains). So, be patient.
Another reason — it could be the keywords that you’re trying to target are very competitive. Try altering the keywords on the page and you may have different results. Remember, you are competing with millions of web pages on the internet.