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Fundamental SEO Tactics Every Marketer Needs to Know

Some Essential Tips You Can't Afford to Ignore.
 
Paul Smithson - 26th March 2009
   
paul smithson Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is extremely important to anyone who does business on the Internet. Whether you’re a modest little niche web site or a monolithic giant such as MySpace or the BBC, it doesn’t matter - SEO should always play an integral role in your marketing plan.

SEO comprises of two major factors - on-page and off-page.  On-page factors are things like your title tag, your keyword density, and alt text on images. Off-page factors include things like the links coming into your site and the anchor text used for them.

Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

You should make sure you use your most important keywords in your title tag.  This is one of the most important parts of on-page SEO. Your title tag needs to have keywords in it, but don’t stuff it with keywords. Your title should have between five and ten words. 

Keep in mind that the title of your page is what search engine users will usually see as the clickable link to your site, so it needs to be something that will encourage clicks. Ideally, your most important keyword phrase should appear very early in your title tag, then you can have another phrase or two after that. 

You shouldn’t overlook the Meta Description tag.  Although many search engines don’t use the description tag for ranking, they do sometimes use it as the description that is shown in the search results.  This means you have a great opportunity to convince people to click your link instead of the other links on the page.

Next, you should be sure to use your keywords on your page at least twice.  Just type naturally.  Don’t try to worry too much about keyword density.  Just use your main keyword phrase, plus an additional one or two related phrases, at least twice in the text. Any more than that and you risk being penalized for over-optimization so try to use variations rather than exactly the same phrase every time.

More and more search engines are putting code into their algorithms that look for natural writing.  It’s very important that your content appears to be very natural. Always write for readers first and search engines second. The search engines are getting cleverer by the day and the time is coming to an end where pages over-stuffed with keywords rank well. Indeed, many sites that overuse keywords are disappearing out of the rankings.

Off-page factors can actually carry more weight than on-page factors. An increasing number of search engines are realizing that on-page factors can easily be manipulated by the webmaster of the site, so they’re taking off-page factors into account and giving them much greater weighting than they may have done several years ago.

Perhaps the most important part off-page optimization is anchor text.  Anchor text is the text that is used to link to a web page.  If your site is about polka dot bikinis you should aim to try and get people to use that when linking to your site, e.g. “Click here for more information on Polka Dot Bikinis”. Obviously, you don’t always have control over what anchor text people linking to you use, but you’d be surprised how often people are willing to change the text if you send them a friendly thank you e-mail for adding the link to their site and a gentle request to use your suggested wording.

However, if you have far too many sites linking to you with the exact same anchor text, it doesn’t seem natural.  If this happens, you could be penalized for it if the search engine algorithms think that the linking has been artificially created.  Also, as you’re gaining backlinks, be sure not to gain them too quickly.  If your site is new, don’t get more than 100 or so backlinks per week in order to appear natural.

The suggestions above are just the tip of the iceberg as far as search engine optimization is concerned. Luckily, there is an ever expanding wealth of knowledge on the Internet and you should make it part of your on-going learning program to try to keep on top of the latest developments to ensure that your sites rank as well as they possibly can.

About Paul Smithson - Paul Smithson is the founder of Intellimon and the driving force behind the best-selling XSitePro web site development tool. Since graduating in Business Strategy and Direct Marketing from two of Europe’s leading business schools, Paul has set up five multi-million dollar companies, one of which is now owned by the BBC. His areas of expertise include business strategy, e-commerce, on-line and off-line marketing, software development, and maximizing the potential of on-line businesses.


For more information about this, and many other Internet Marketing-related topics, visit Paul Smithson's site, www.xsitepro.com.

Source: http://www.xsitepro.com/fundamental-seo-tactics-every-marketer-needs-to-know.html


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