Home > Uncategorized > Some Simple Tips That Will Help Your SEO/SMO Rankings

Some Simple Tips That Will Help Your SEO/SMO Rankings

by Ernest O’Dell

So much SEO/SMO advice is being dispensed nowadays that it’s hard for businesses to know who to trust. Let’s face it: there are a lot of jackals passing themselves off as companies and “consultants” it’s difficult to know what you should or shouldn’t believe. It’s even more difficult for Internet Marketing newbies to separate the wheat from the chaff, because they’re so easily influenced by the latest “shiny object” that comes in their inbox.

However, there ARE some proven tips and techniques that virtually every SEO expert agrees work and are very effective.

Following are a few simple tips that will help you improve your organic search engine rankings:

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1. Have Fast-Loading Pages

Page load-speed is one of over 200 metrics used by Google to determine the ranking of web pages in their search results. It’s more important than ever that your pages load quickly: Slow loading pages are annoying to searchers and affect their ability to access content quickly. This is a negative user-experience and will be viewed as such by Google and can have an adverse effect on your rankings. (No, they don’t have someone running a stop-watch on your site: it’s all done automatically by bandwidth speed and algorithms.)

You can quickly check your page speed at Page Speed Online, a free web application offered by Googlelabs. This tool tests the speed of your page and gives it a score from 1-100, based on the performance of your page. The Page Speed Score indicates how much faster a page could be. A high score indicates little room for improvement, while a lower score indicates more room for improvement. In other words, the higher the score, the better. The Page Speed Score does not measure the time it takes for a page to load – just whether or not it loads quickly. Here are some things you can do to speed up your pages:

Avoid Redirects – a common redirect that many designers use is unintentional – they leave off the trailing slash on a URL which forces a redirect to the directory name with the slash. Redirects also happen when you move a page or site – change the URL to point to the new location when you link to a redirected page.

Avoid 404’s – while a useful 404 page is important for your customers’ experience on your site, you don’t want to link to them, as they generate another HTTP request that provides no value. This is especially important with images on your page.

Optimize Images – keep images small: use thumbnails or smaller images where possible. And avoid flash… besides, search engines can’t “crawl” flash anyway. No matter how “glitzy” your flash looks, it just takes too long to load, and it does absolutely nothing for your organics.

2. The Trust Factor

Trustworthiness of your site–or lack thereof–has an effect on your rankings. The more you can do to make your site appear trustworthy, the better. Some steps you can take to improve the trustworthiness of your site include having a clear privacy policy if you collect personal information. Tell people what you’re going to do with their information. They have a right to know.

Providing an ample amount of contact information will also build up your trustworthiness and credibility. Just having an e-mail address on your site for customers to contact you might be enough for some people, but makes it look like you’re hiding behind a wall. In addition, create an “About Us” page. Provide the names of the owner(s) and employees, if you have any. Be sure to include pictures and brief biographies. The worst thing you can do is give the appearance you want to be anonymous, which obviously generates suspicion. And, while I’m at it, don’t use a P.O. box for snail mail purposes: if you don’t have a business address, then rent a mailbox facility that provides you with a physical address.

Don’t underestimate the power of testimonials. Just make sure they’re legitimate and verifiable. Otherwise, you risk getting into trouble with the FTC. (Yes, government intrusion has finally come down–rightly so–on the scam artists.) If you use testimonials, do so only with people who agree to be contacted by your visitors.

3. Create an Effective Title-Tag

The title tag is a critically important factor in achieving high search engine rankings. For those of you who don’t know what a title-tag is, it’s the words displayed at the top of your browser. It is also used as the title of your website in the SERP’s (search engine results pages). Therefore, you should put plenty of thought into writing your title tag – to make sure it’s as effective as possible. Your title-tag should also contain specific keyword phrases–long-tail and short-tail–in addition to the name of your company.

For example, suppose your company name is “The 25/8 Web Co. | Twin Cities Web Designer & Drupal Web Developer,” a web development company specializing in Web Design and Internet Marketing in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, you would want your company’s website to appear in the search engine results for searches on phrases such as “web site developers in Saint Paul” and “seo drupal programmers in Minneapolis.” If you prefer to work with businesses only in the Saint Paul and Minneapolis area, you would need to be geographically specific in your title-tag. For example, “Saint Paul & Minneapolis Web Design and Internet Marketing.”

What about meta-tags? Are they important?

Opinions vary on both sides of the fence about the importance of meta-tags, but in my opinion, they’re not as important as they used to be. They won’t have that much impact on your rankings one way or the other, but if you want to use them, it certainly won’t hurt anything–provided you don’t abuse them (i.e. keyword stuffing).

4. Publish Quality, Relevant Content

Sites like EzineArticles, Buzzle and Associated Content got hammered by the recent Panda update.

Why?

Those sites have been around for years, and have a ton of quality content. Unfortunately, much of their content is also low-quality and written by amateur freelancers. When explaining the Panda update, Google said it was important for high-quality sites to be rewarded. By punishing the titans of article directories, Google sent a powerful message about quality. (Heck, even J.C. Penney got the axe, too…)

It’s not enough to just publish quality content. Your content also needs to be relevant to the overall theme of your site. Google places a tremendous amount of value on relevancy. So do everything you can to make sure your pages are as relevant as possible and accurately reflect your site’s actual content. Don’t stuff your site with a bunch of keywords that don’t have anything to do with the content of your site, or you’ll find yourself in the wastelands with the likes of the abovementioned.

5. Syndicate Your Content

Content syndication is a simple, effective and proven SEO method. There are two types of syndication in particular: RSS feeds and article submission. RSS (an acronym for Really Simple Syndication) syndicates your web content, making it easily accessible to other sites and helps build inbound links, making RSS an extremely powerful SEO strategy.

If you use any of the popular blogging platform like Blogger or WordPress, you already have a built-in RSS feed. If your website doesn’t have a built-in RSS feed and you’re technically savvy, you can create yours by following the instructions in Anatomy of an RSS File. Or, if you’re technically challenged then you can use a service like RapidFeeds.com.

Article submission is the second type of content syndication you can use: I use it more than any other strategy. Basically, there are two ways you can submit your artícles:

  1. To article dírectories and
  2. Directly to publishers.

Submitting your articles directly to publishers will give you more control over where your articles are published, while article directories will “blast” them all over the networks: sometimes in the wrong “neighborhoods.”

What do I mean by neighborhoods?

There’s been a lot written about “linking” to the right kind of sites and writing articles is not much different. A good article you can find titled “Building Quality Back Links to Your Web Sites” will put this concept in layman’s terms. This article was written over a year ago, but because it was optimized well, it continues to get a lot of traffic and readership, which in turn, will help encapsulate some strategies for your rankings. There’s even a link at the end of the article where you can download the article in PDF format, should you with to have an offline readable format. You can save it on your hard drive or print it off for reference.

There are tons of “experts” in this business, but before you “walk the plank” take a look at “The Dangers of Hiring Out SEO” by Ryan Johnson. Give him a call and let him walk you through the catacombs of what is acceptable in this business. Don’t fall victim to the black-hatters in this industry.

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