There is no one perfect formula that can guarantee you a top spot in the search engine rankings, and for that matter, there is no one top spot. There will easily be dozens of key words and different combinations that you hope your website will appear under. Trying to nail down a secrete method to achieve your desired ranking in the ever changing and highly competitive market of the Internet is like building your house on shifting sand. SEO is not a science where results can be tested and consistently reproduced, some consider it closer to alchemy, which isn’t too far off, but I like to think of SEO as an art! In SEO, like in art, different medians will require different methods, and styles may change over time, but the basic principles of color, form and shape stay the same. Following these 3 basic principles will help to build your website on a solid rock.
1. CONTENT IS KING!!
I can not say this enough. This is what it is all about and it kills two birds with one stone, because not only is content king in SEO, it is what visitors to your website want to see as well. I have seen ugly and hard to use sites achieve high rankings simply because they had rich in-depth content.
By content, I mean, the stuff that your website is about. Let’s say you have a coffee shop in Wichita Kansas. Don’t just put up a website with a picture of some coffee, your address, business hours and your prices. Those are all good, but talk about the coffee, where is it made, Columbia, Brazil, Somalia? Is it free-trade? Freshly ground? Talk about the extra care you put into each cup, your exceptional friendly service. Talk about your location in Wichita, Kansas. (we will touch on that more later).
Notice how many key words about coffee that I managed to pack into that one paragraph that someone might search for. Write your content with particular key words and phrases in mind that you would hope someone would be able to use to find your website, “free-trade coffee in wichita kansas”.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have enough content to keep a human on your website for more than a couple of minutes then a robot probably won’t find it very interesting either.
2. Public Opinion Has Sway.
How does this relate to SEO? Search robots scour the Internet by following links. The more links from other websites that point to your site, the more popular you are and the more weight your site will have in the rankings. And just like in high school it didn’t affect your popularity much if all of the losers liked you, but if had to be the right people that liked you. If the lead singer in a hot local band or the head of the football team thought you were cool, then everyone would accept you as cool. So on the Internet, sites with more authority carry more weight.
Unlike in high school, if everyone on the chess club liked you, it would do nothing good for your social standing, but on the Internet, get 50 chess club sites to link to you and you will be considered an authority in chess. The sheer size of the Internet and the number of people using it allows for very particular niche sites to come into their own. You may have a site dedicated to Boston Terrier porcelain dog figurines made in Malaysia in the late half of 1962, but even you can be popular among a select group in the world market.
3. Location, Location, Location.
Yes, I know I already said that, but this is in a different context. If you are starting a website to market something to the world, then you can ignore this basic principle. But if you are wanting to reach a specific town, city, region etc., then you need to make that known on your site. I suggest you make it known on every page of your site. It could be as simple as including it in the footer of every page, but finding a way to mix it into the content as well will help. Notice I have already worked in the city and state I live in.
Think about it, if you are looking for a plumber you don’t just type “plumber” into Google search, no you type “plumber Wichita Kansas”, because you could care less about some plumber on the other side of the country. Oh, there I go again mentioning my city and state.
There are a myriad of other good SEO practices, such as regularly updating your site, creating a specific page for each particular service or product you offer, giving the file names of your pages relevant keyword names, using header tags to help mark important phrases or keywords, using robots.txt files, including an xml sitemap, using “name” and “alt” tags to pack even more content into your site, but that can all come later. Just remember that 1) Content is King, 2) Public Opinion, evidenced by outside links to your site, has sway, and 3) Mention your location/service area if it is relevant. If you stick to these basics you will be miles ahead of 90% of the competition and we can address more details
Question: How in the world can you have a post about best SEO practices and not mention the meta keywords or description?
Answer: Because Google which has the vast majority of search engine market share has finally admitted to NOT using the meta keywords or description in determining their rankings.