SEO Best Practices

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Optimizing your website or blog to get higher search engine rankings doesn’t have to be a mystery. While it’s true that this field changes quickly, there are a number of current SEO best practices you can easily implement now to help you get the readership you deserve, without trying to cheat or trick the search engines. Essentially, you want your website to follow the “rules” of search engines so they’ll be more likely to find your site when a relevant search is made.

In many cases, the following suggestions will only require minor tweaks to what you’re already doing.

First Things First

Before you write your page, decide what the main topic will be. This sounds like English 101, right? Here’s why this is important: Your main topic will be your keyword or keyword phrase, and the more closely related your page is to this one keyword or keyword phrase, the higher it will be ranked in relevance. Ideally, you want to write a full page based on one keyword phrase.

Title

This is really important, and just might be the hardest practice to implement well. Your page title needs to not only capture the attention of readers, but also be carefully constructed following these guidelines:

  • Include your keyword or keyword phrase in the title.
  • Place your keyword as the first or second word of the title, if possible.
  • Include no more than 70 characters in the title (or else it will get cut off in the search results).
  • If your brand is not well-known and you’re including it in the title, place the brand at the end of the title.

Body

Follow these guidelines in the body of your page:

  • The body should contain at least 300 words, ideally based on your keyword (or keyword phrase).
  • But … don’t be a keyword stuffer. Use the keyword three or four times, but definitely no more than ten.
  • Try to include the keyword in the first paragraph of the body, and bold the first occurrence.

Hyperlinks

Links make the webby world go ‘round. Here are guidelines for including links in your pages.

  • Include one hyperlink for every 120 words of content, and spread them evenly throughout the page, starting toward the beginning of the first paragraph.
  • Always set your links to open in a new window.
  • Make sure you link to pages that are relevant to your keyword or keyword phrase.
  • When linking to pages outside your site, link to a specific interior page (not a home page) that supports the opinion or position of your post.
  • Make the anchor text (the word/s readers click to follow a link) relevant to the page it points to. For example, if linking to a page about vitamin supplements, it’s better to make the anchor text: vitamin supplements rather than: click here.

Of course, there is much more to know about search engine optimization, but with just a little bit of extra attention to your web pages or blog posts, you can make a huge difference in your search engine rankings. Happy ranking!

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