SEO RANKING BASICS

At the request of many of our readers on the old site, I have decided to post an updated version of our “Advanced vs. Basic” SEO series of articles. So today I get started by discussing SEO 101, so anybody interested in learning SEO and how the search engine indexing process works, will benefit from this and coming post. Make sure to follow them closely, as these topics are inter-connected and directly effect one another.

The first thing you should know about SEO is that Consistency is the “key word”. Even after achieving the #1 ranking, the last thing you can do is thinking that you are done. As long as you have competitors, you need to maintain it. Because of that, in this article I will cover the immediate areas that relate to solid Search Engine Ranking for particular number of key phrases and that have a long, lasting term approach. This will apply to any type of website, on any industry you are targeting. This is good info for all of you.

Search Engines Rank web pages, not web sites. Many think the contrary, but this is why you should be thinking “target page” for a “target phrase”. You should have unique Titles, Descriptions and Keywords in your pages. Therefore, there should be only one page per keyword phrase you are targeting, highly focused on that phrase. You can also target as many related combination of your phrase as searches are using to find it, as long as you have pages focused for them.

Your web site has to be relevant to searchers, not just the search engines. Your target audience are humans, the search engines are messengers. Always SEO with both in mind. One very important area of SEO is to be well-balanced. There many variables that matter when it comes to optimizing a site, there is not a specific area were all the effort should be on. Instead focus on achieving a Top 10 Position, and here is why: It is OK to be number 5 or number 3 in any given rank… If you are in the 1st spot and you are clicked simply because that spot gets more clicks, are you really going to get more of whatever your site’s goal is just because you are the number 1? Hmmm…. Don’t worry, I discuss Conversions on this site as well.

Less is more, when it comes to targeted keywords. In fact, the average web page should not target more than 2 keywords with its content. If you have like most, an average site, focus on 10-15 keywords initially. Build your entire site around these keywords. Remember to be relevant to searches using these keywords. You should rather have one keyword for which your site is on the Top 10 (first page), than ten that are on secondary pages. Put those keywords in your Title, Description, and Keyword areas, and remember the uniqueness factor. And do not not play the keyword “density” game or “keyword stuffing” practices, or their “modern” version “synonym stuffing” like some search marketers suggest. They have just looked at one way of the issue and then arrived to a fallacious conclusion. This might explain why many of these tend to misquote outdated papers and even suggest that in order to make documents “LSI-friendly” these should be stuffed with synonyms and related terms. There are lot of myths in SEO, I will cover these in more length later, as this just the basics.

Build real content for people, not for machines. Again, just in case you missed the point earlier, its about the relevancy of the content your page provides to searches. It is said that “content is king” for good reasons. It is very important. I prefer context over content personally, but I will discuss that later. When two sites highly optimized in a particular industry for a particular key phrase compete, this is one of the most important areas Search Engines evaluate for relevancy, and therefore positioning. Keep your content updated either by adding new, or by editing existing one. The relation between content and its freshness is a must.

Tell me who links to you, who you link to, and I will tell you who you are. Yes, linking is that important in SEO. You must have incoming links, but what really matters, is that you must have quality incoming links, and you must build them all naturally. Search Engines reward sites when their links are build steadily over time. To put it down to the most basic link in terms of relevancy, a quality link comes from the most relevant page of the giving site, with an optimized anchor text, to the most relevant page of the recipient site for that given keyword.

Provide a road map of your web site, and search engines will follow it. Called the “sitemap”, this very simple page contains links to every page on a web site and serves one very important purpose. That is to get your sub pages crawled, and into a search engine’s index. Its important to keep this links updated, at least every quarter, and at least reflecting the active pages of your website that you want to rank on the search engines.

Search Engines look for the robots.txt file, so make sure you have it. As its name implies, this is a text file that tells robots what to and what not to index. Its content consists of so-called records. Only mention files and directories that you don’t want to be indexed. All other files will be indexed normally if they are linked on your site. Having a proper robots.txt file gives your pages the rankings they deserve. If search engines know what to do with them, then they can rank. Also, most site owners don’t know that you can so a lot more than that with this file. I will cover those extras in the Advanced SEO series.

Submit your site to related categories in niche directories. There are fewer directories these days that pass SEO value, but they remain an important part of indexing and link building relevancy. Internet directories have become very important because they represent an easy path for inbound links creation. Now, when you submit your site to related categories in your industry you get that extra link factor, quality. Links from these categories can have a very positive effect on the ranking of your web site.

Writing articles about your site, a great way to get new content. This will help you get good positioning on search engines and quality incoming links as well. Always keep your articles as informative as possible. Other web sites will link back to your articles if you do. Write about the topics that your visitors are interested in, and don’t forget to send them to syndicate sites. They will in turn offer them to others. Just make sure that you always have a link back to your web site so that all sites who publish your article will automatically link to you. If you cannot get enough articles created on a given time period, there is a technique I will later discuss called “Article Partitioning” that will allow you to use existing content.

Become an authority in your field. Visit relevant forums and blogs. Only join forum and blogs that are relevant to your industry/product/service. Use your expertise as a site owner in your industry to give information and advice. Of course, put your URL into the signature of your posts. Being the authority is simply knowing your industry, and giving people the info they need to trust you and your site.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, call  1.510.473.6949 or email me at jose@hirank.com and I will gladly reply to your inquiry.

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