Learn SEO Basics

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing a website’s visibility and attracting more high-quality traffic from search engines through organic search results for specific keywords. In this article, you’ll discover the fundamentals of SEO, including creating search engine-friendly web pages and implementing basic promotional strategies for your site.

Things to do

  • Keywords in URL
    Use whole words – keywords to describe your site best. Don’t rely on this if you don’t have keywords in other parts of your site.
  • Keywords in <title> tag
    This shows search results as your page title, so this is one of the most important things, it shouldn’t be long, 5-6 words max, and use keywords at the beginning.
  • Keywords in anchor texts
    It is also essential, especially for the anchor text, because if you have the keyword in the anchor text in a link from another site, this is regarded as getting a vote from this site not only about your site in general but about the keyword in particular.
  • Keywords in headings (<H1>, <H2>, etc. tags)
    One more place where keywords count a lot. But beware that your page has actual text about the particular keyword.
  • Keywords at the beginning of a document
    While coding your page, put your main content before side bar. This also counts, though not as much as anchor text, title tags, or headings.
  • Keywords in <alt> tags
    Spiders don’t read images, but they do read their textual descriptions in the <alt> tag, so if you have images on your page, fill in the <alt> tag with some keywords about them.
  • Anchor text of inbound links
    This is one of the most critical factors for good rankings. It is best if you have a keyword in the anchor text, but it is still OK even if you don’t.
  • Origin of inbound links
    It is important if the site that links to you is a reputable one or not. Generally, sites with greater Google PR are considered reputable, and the .edu and .gov sites are the most reputable
  • Links from similar sites
    Having links from similar sites is very, very useful. It indicates that the competition is voting for you, and that you are popular within your topical community.
  • Metatags
    Metatags are becoming less and less important, but if there are metatags that still matter, these are the <description> and <keywords> ones.
  • Unique content
    Having more content (relevant content, which is different from the content on other sites in wording and topics) is a real boost for your site’s rankings.
  • Frequency of content change
    Frequent changes are favored. It is great when you constantly add new content, but not when you only make minor updates to existing content.
  • Site Accessibility
    Another fundamental issue that is often neglected. If the site (or separate pages) is inaccessible because of broken links, 404 errors, password-protected areas, and other similar reasons, then the site can’t be indexed.
  • Sitemap
    It is great to have a complete and up-to-date sitemap, spiders love it, whether it is a plain old HTML sitemap or the particular Google sitemap format.

Things not to do

  • Keyword stuffing
    Any artificially inflated keyword density (10% and over) is keyword stuffing, and you risk getting banned from search engines.
  • Keyword dilution
    When you are optimizing for an excessive amount of keywords, wildly unrelated ones, this will affect the performance of all your keywords, and even the major ones will be lost (diluted) in the text.
  • Single pixel links
    When you have a link that is a pixel or so wide it is invisible to humans, so nobody will click on it, and it is obvious that this link is an attempt to manipulate search engines.
  • Cross-linking
    Crosslinking occurs when site A links to site B, site B links to site C, and site C links back to site A
  • Duplicate content
    Having the same content on several pages on the site will not make your site look larger because the duplicate content penalty kicks in. To a lesser degree, duplicate content applies to pages that reside on other sites but obviously, these cases are not always banned
  • Doorway pages
    Creating pages that aim to trick spiders that your site is a highly relevant one when it is not, is another way to get the kick from search engines.
  • Cloaking
    Cloaking is another illegal technique, which partially involves content separation because spiders see one page (highly optimized), and everybody else is presented with another version of the same page.
  • Invisible text
    This is a black hat SEO practice, and when spiders discover that you have text specially for them but not for humans, don’t be surprised by the penalty.
  • Illegal Content
    Using other people’s copyrighted content without their permission or using content that promotes legal violations can get you kicked out of search engines.
  • Flash
    Spiders don’t index the content of Flash movies, so if you use Flash on your site, don’t forget to give it an alternative textual description. And also, don’t have just a flash home page without HTML.
  • Frames
    Frames are very bad for SEO. Avoid using them unless really necessary.
  • Redirects (301 and 302)
    When not applied properly, redirects can hurt a lot – the target page might not open, or worse – a redirect can be regarded as a black hat technique when the visitor is immediately taken to a different page.
  • Bans in robots.txt
    If indexing of a considerable portion of the site is banned, this will likely affect the non-banned part because spiders will come less frequently to a “noindex” site.
  • Session IDs
    This is even worse than dynamic URLs. Don’t use session IDs for information that you’d like to be indexed by spiders.

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