Ranking high on Google, Yahoo, and Bing can impact your business significantly. When you optimize your website and when you improve off-page relationships your website will rank higher and become more relevant to those searching for exactly what you’ll be targeting. Listed here are 7 fundamental tips to increasing your search engine rank.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
1.) Written Content
The content must be relevant, appealing, well-written and not plagiarized. You cannot copy and paste content from another site that’s ranking well, it doesn’t work. The algorithm knows if you are duplicating content. When content is fresh, unique, and useful you’ve started the first and most important step in building a successful ranking website.
2.) Keyword Rich Title Tag
The <Title> tag is an overlooked and monumentally important feature in successful SEO. A title tag helps users and search engines determine the topic and relevancy of the page. The <Title> tag is the most important aspect when optimizing a specific page. The keywords should be used early in the tag.
Where the Title Tag Appears in Search
Where the Title Tag Appears in Your Browser
3.) Keywords in the URL
Keywords listed in the URL separated by (-) will be given priority over a URL with similar on page content but lack a keyword rich URL. (Don’t) over do it and (DO) be relevant to the on page content. Please see the image above for an example of the difference between the <Title> tag and the URL. The URL is /website-design-in-elk-river-minnesota/ while the <Title> tag adds “and Surrounding Area”. Don’t get too carried away and create VERY long URLs, be specific and make it useful for people to read. Having in mind what an end-user will like and see as useful will typically mean successful search engine rankings too.
4.) Keywords in Headings (<H1> <H2> etc)
We’ll use this page you’re reading right now to indicate visually what headings are. Right above this text is the forth item in our list of 7 Fundamental On Page and Off Page SEO Tips, it’s an <H2> and it was styled that way when we created this website. Every time I create a new blog post using WordPress I’m able to type in the content I want and select from a drop down list what heading I want the text highlighted to be. If you aren’t using a CMS like WordPress this is something that is simply added using an HTML editor. Another example above is “On Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)” that’s <H1>. You’ll notice that I’ve used keywords in these headings. When the search engine crawls the page it puts an emphasis on the headings. It is also useful to use various layouts for content throughout the site so the layout is as fresh as the content.
In our blog post titled “Top 8 Incredible WordPress Plugins for 2011” we highlighted the Google XML Sitemap Generator at number 8. A sitemap is a great way to communicate with search engines. Sitemaps notify the search engine when content is added or updated on your website.
Off-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
6.) Inbound Link Anchor Text
The anchor text serves two roles. First, it gives the user an idea of what the link is about (where will they be redirected when the link is clicked). Second, the anchor text, if used correctly (with specific keywords) will improve ranking of the page being linked to by search engines. An example of useful anchor text would be Website Design -here the link is to our homepage. We’re Spark Logix and I could have just as easily put a “click here” for information about web design with the “click here” being the link or used our company name “Spark Logix” as the anchor text. However, those two options are somewhat useless if I’m trying to rank high for “Website Design”. A successful anchor text uses keywords in which you want to rank for.
7.) External Inbound links
Understand that linking to myself from my own website isn’t what we’re talking about. We’re talking about when another website includes a link to our website. If that link is on a website that has a high rank that link is worth A LOT! If the website is a low ranking website the link is still somewhat good. If the link is from a website with similar content and has a high page rank, JACKPOT! And while you might be thinking now all I’ve got to do is post my links all over the place and I’ll rank high, this isn’t the case. Many websites have a “rel=nofollow” line of script within the HTML. If this is the case that little bit of code tells the search engine not to count that link. Basically, you won’t get any “link juice”. You’ll need to know what websites, directories, blogs and so on allow dofollow links. When you find these you’ll want to apply the the inbound link anchor text rules.
SEO Success for Small Business
Having a great website is important. It needs to be easy to navigate, user friendly, and have a call to action. However, if no one knows who you are or where your website is even the best designed and developed website is useless. The first priority in creating a successful online presence for your business is to set the foundation with a quality website. Next, you must ensure the Onpage SEO is as near perfect utilizing the fundamental tools discussed here. This involves expert and dedicated keyword research and competitor research. When your website begins to rank higher than your competition you will find success. There are very few niches or industries that wouldn’t benefit exponentially by beating out their competition when it comes to online search.
There are hundreds of techniques, tips, and tricks to boost your website’s ranking, this list is to serve as a basis to the fundamentals of successful search engine optimization.