Everyone wants their website to rank highly with the internet search engines. The better ranking the website, the more visitors it is likely to receive and, in turn, the more business it is likely to produce. That is why it is important to have a strategy for optimizing your site in the search engine rankings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process through which, it is hoped, your website will be able rise through the rankings and surpass the sites of its main competitors. As this article will demonstrate, however it is not always a straightforward task and the person or organisation that is responsible for your own SEO campaign will need to ensure that the strategies that they employ are safe as well as effective.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is ensuring that the content of your website is original and is produced to a standard that is attractive to site visitors. The search engines are able to detect low quality sites with poorly presented or duplicate content. Websites that add to their content regularly, through a blog, a news feed or other regular updating, are also more attractive to the search engines, as they indicate a more helpful and informative experience for the visitor. Websites must also satisfy the search engines’ technical quality standards. Glitches such as broken links, missing pages and other bugs detract from the visitor experience and will be penalized by the search engines for this. The foremost – and safest – SEO strategy is therefore to construct and maintain a website of quality.
The inclusion of carefully researched key words is a vital part of the development and maintenance of your site’s content. These key words are designed to correspond with both generic and specific search terms that potential site users are likely to type into the search engines. The keywords should also be carefully positioned and should not be so numerous as to suggest that you are “keyword stuffing”. This is the loading of a site’s pages with keywords in an effort to manipulate its rankings. Not only is this a practice that will reflect poorly on your site’s content, the only likely effect that it will have on its rankings is a sudden and dramatic fall.
The use of social media sites such as Google+, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin is now thought to be crucial to any successful SEO campaign. A wide social media presence is likely to result in a greater overall online presence and the search engines will detect the important “social signposts” that are given by your site’s social media presence. The number of “Likes” “Followers” and “Shares” that your website receives will not only enhance its online status but will also bring an increased amount of traffic to it.
Genuine Link Building
An important factor when the search engines evaluate your website, although somewhat less so than in previous years, is the number of quality inbound links that it receives from other sites. There is only one way to achieve quality links and that is through a combination of the quality of your site and your product. Make genuine business connections with websites that complement your own site. Avoid artificial link building, either by purchasing links or involving yourself in widespread link exchange schemes, as these will be recognized for what they are – ways to artificially boost your site’s apparent popularity – and will affect the site detrimentally. A genuine link from a valued site, whilst not as coveted as it once was, will still add to the authority that the search engines give your website.
An increasingly popular SEO strategy is guest blogging. Many websites and blogs are looking for content on a regular basis. If you can produce content for them they may well incorporate a link back to your own website. If the content that you have written is informative it will be likely to create additional site visitors, as people will want to click on the link to learn more about you and your products and services. Equally importantly, the search engines will give your site credit for the fact that another site has published the material and the link back to you. The higher the ranking of the other site or blog, the greater the benefit to your own site is likely to be.
Follow the Guidelines
Although SEO is not a exact science, there are, as described above, some general rules of thumb when it comes to safe SEO practices. Indeed, the search engines themselves publish their own guidance on how to ensure that your SEO strategies are safe. Google, which is by far the biggest search engine, provides detailed advice and tools to help webmasters maintain good practices and that guidance is updated regularly to reflect any changes that Google makes in the way that it assesses site quality. If your own SEO manager is to maintain a safe SEO campaign, a close knowledge of and adherence to Google’s guidelines (which are also closely reflected in the policies of the other search engines) is essential.
SEO can be challenging even for the most experienced and skilled practitioner. However accomplished you may be in the field of SEO one indisputable fact remains. The only way of ever achieving successful SEO results is by adopting and maintaining safe SEO strategies.
Image Credit: Enrique Dans
What is a Safe SEO Strategy?