Top 5 SEO Practices

Everyone who has an insight into SEO has an opinion as to what are the best 5 things you can do to improve your Search Engine ranking.  I believe that any top 5 must not be absolute and should be defined in relation to the family of sites that are under consideration. For example, the top 5 SEO techniques for newly launched private web sites will be very different from the top 5 for well established sites in a very competitive business market.

Why the top 5 and not top 10, 20 or more? I believe that optimisation should be done in bite sized chunks and 5 is my ‘bite size’. So, these are my top 5 techniques for newly launched sites (Part 1). In subsequent articles, I will provide part 2 for new sites and will deal with other families of web site.

Before you start…

Before you can optimise any page on a site, you need to spend some time deciding which words or phrases you want the to achieve a high ranking on. Don’t only think about single words, think about search phrases because people search on phrases and it is easier to rank on phrases than individual words. Try to find 3 or 4 phrases for each page.

Top 5 techniques (New Web Sites – Part 1)

Use the title tag

While tags are not directly visible and there is a lot of debate over the use of keyword tags, the title tag is one of the most important components on the web page. The title tag is visible as the heading on the browser tag and the title tag is used by search engines to determine the topic of the page. Make sure that the title tag is distinct for each page on the site and ensure that the title tag is pertinent to the content on the page. Also, make sure that your most important keyword is included in the title tag.

Optimise your page content

The content on the page contains the words that search engines will use to index the site and to determine a ranking for the page in terms of these words. Consequently the relevance of the words, the word frequency, the proximity of different words to each other and msot important the position of the words on the page are factors that need to be considered when developing content for the page.  While it is important to develop your content with these factors in mind, you should not optimise your pages for search engines, they must be optimised for your target audience.

Don’t put too much information on the page

If your page gets too long, split it. Think of the page as a container. If you keep the contents of each container clearly defined, it will be much easier to find what you want in all your containers. The same applies for search engines.  If you find that it is difficult to restrict yourselt to only 4 key phrases, and you feel that you need more key terms or phrases then it is likely that you have too much on the page.  Too much information is likely to dilute your key messages which then may lead to a lower ranking for all your key terms.

Include links to and from your site

Include links to authorative sites from your page where this is pertinent. Also try to get yous site referenced from other sites.  However be careful not to use link farms of dubious sites that are prepared to link to you. You could even be penalised if you have too many ‘bad sites’ that link to your page. The value of the incoming link is only as good as the site that the link is coming from, so try to get authorative links. One approach to getting good links is to write articles or blogs on other unrelated sites and to reference (link back) your page from these articles or blogs. Bear in mind, when you link out from your page, you sould set the target to a new page so that you do not take your reader away from your page.

Avoid any black-hat techniques

Developing page content primarily for search engines is likely to lead to black hat techniques. Black hat techniques include repeating words too often (keyword stuffing or keyword spamming); invisible text on the page containing keywords; fake pages that transfer the user to some unintended location. Don’t be tempted by black hat techniques because these can penalise of disqualify a site from the major search engines.

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