SEO Techniques that have stood the test of time: Part 1 of 11:

SEO TechniquesFrom time to time I like to showcase other digital marketing experts in the WSI network, and today I’m featuring my guest blogger, Linda Waterhouse, a friend and associate of mine from New Jersey.

I came across the article “55 Quick SEO Tips Even Your Mother Would Love” recently and thought it really hit the most important aspects of SEO. Then I saw when it was written – 2008! It amazed me that although Google’s algorithm has changed hundreds of time since then,  basic SEO techniques  have stayed remarkably consistent.  It’s the devious methods of manipulating the results that have caused Google to make so many changes.

Readers are still leaving comments which shows how  well-written the original post was. Since many wanted the quick tips expanded,  I am going to take 5 tips at a time and go into a bit more detail.

1. If you absolutely MUST use Java script drop down menus, image maps or image links, be sure to put text links somewhere on the page for the spiders to follow.

OK, so talking about Java script drop-down menus does sound a bit ancient (most new websites use CSS to create menus), but using ALT text for your image links is crucial.  Google can’t read pictures (yet!).  Not only does ALT text help the search engines know what your image is about, it also helps people who use screen readers able understand your page better.  And accessibility *is* a ranking factor.

2. Content is king, so be sure to have good, well-written and unique content that will focus on your primary keyword or keyword phrase.

“Content is king” has become a cliché, but is still true.  Content needs to be grammatically correct, free of misspellings and relevant.  What many people forget is that visitors don’t read long paragraphs.  They skim through text.  After you’ve written your page, read it again from the visitor’s point of view.  Is your main idea how great you are?  Or is it how your product/service is going to improve the visitor’s life? WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) is also becoming cliché, but visitors are definitely more interested in themselves.

3. If content is king, then links are queen. Build a network of quality backlinks using your keyword phrase as the link. Remember, if there is no good, logical reason for that site to link to you, you don’t want the link.

Does anyone else visualize a penguin dancing around here?  We have all heard stories about businesses whose rankings dropped dramatically overnight because they had low quality backlinks.  How to create good backlinks?  Some ideas are guest blogging, directory submissions, press releases and social bookmarking (e.g. Digg or Reddit). 

4. Don’t be obsessed with PageRank. It is just one itsy bitsy part of the ranking algorithm. A site with lower PR can actually outrank one with a higher PR.

There is not really much more I can say about this one.  Don’t be obsessed with any single ranking factor. Diversifying your SEO techniques is like diversifying your financial portfolio.  If one area decreases, another will increase.  Your end result should gradually increase over time.

5. Be sure you have a unique, keyword focused Title tag on every page of your site. And, if you MUST have the name of your company in it, put it at the end. Unless you are a major brand name that is a household name, your business name will probably get few searches.

Some people get fixated trying to figure out if Google displays 70 characters from your Title tag, 65 characters, or something else.  It appears that now the “something else” reflects the number of pixels in your title tag.  Say what?  Basically it means that if you have more i’s than m’s, Google will display more characters because i’s take up less space. But we write webpages for 2 audiences – the visitor and the search engines.  The search engines will read your entire Title tag, so make sure the keywords reflect that page’s topic.  Visitors will see only what Google displays so take the time to make your Title tag engaging in the first 65-70 characters. Step one is to get your listing on page one.  Step two is to get people to read it!

Look for Part 2 coming soon to your neighborhood!

Linda Waterhouse is a Web Presence Strategist and Thrill Seeker of Knowledge at WSI Web Systems who delivers online lead generation solutions.