SEO Best Practices – an Introduction
No matter how much you think you know, or what advice you choose to listen to, there are some very basic principles of search engine optimization that just cannot be ignored if you want real long term results. I won't lie to you – it is possible to get quick results – just don't expect those quick results to last too long. When the warm spring sunshine arrives even the most exquisite ice sculpture tends to disintegrate into an unrecognizable puddle. Those of us who do SEO don't necessarily thrive upon being the bearers of bad news, but hey, don't shoot the messenger. We're just telling it like it is – we don't make up this stuff, nor do we make up the rules. At best, we know how search engines rank pages, what they look for on a web page and what works – or doesn't work.
Search engine optimization is an ongoing, organic process. Search engines update their databases regularly. As well, they change their algorithms and continuously update their systems in order to improve the results they return back to their searchers. There are many factors that affect these rankings and optimizing these factors takes time.
The best way to get your URL listed on the top search engines is to make your URL as relevant as possible. All search engines index web pages based on information. The more information you provide about your products and services and the more relevant that information is to a search engine user, the better your search engine placement will be.
There are no shortcuts and there is no substitute for a solid search engine optimization strategy, which must include the following factors:
These are just a few factors to keep in mind when dealing with SEO Best Practices.
- Keyword rich content - This is the core of your site.
- Clean, simply navigated design - Both search engines and end users will thank you.
- Well-written source code – including title and meta tags, alt tags for images, and anchor tags for links.
- Patience and hard work – there is no magic formula, no #1 with a bullet, period.
- Be careful about the quick fix. If you receive an offer from a company promising you that #1 position on Google in a week or two, then run, don't walk. Their tactics almost certainly involve techniques known as "black hat SEO," designed to manipulate search engine rankings. Just as certainly, once Google becomes aware of these unethical practices, your website is very likely to be "sandboxed" and never seen again in the search results.
- Writing for the web has special considerations. Keep in mind that you are writing content for a dual audience when you write website content – both the end user and the search engines. If your searching audience cannot find you, then all your effort spent on that well crafted, mesmerizing copy is pretty much a waste of time.