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Learn SEO basics

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a web site from search engines via "natural" ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results for targeted keywords. In this article find out how to do basic SEO, code search engine friendly pages and how to do a basic promotion of your site.

For this I will use one of sites I’ve made, it is AdSense site and it follows SEO rules and it is good example what to do and what not to do. This site is http://www.aboutdoghealth.org/ so let’s start from the top.

Things to do
  • Keywords in URL
    For example http://www.aboutdoghealth.org/ use whole words – keywords to best describe your site. 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 and it shouldn’t be long 5-6 words max, and use keyword at the beginning.
  • Keywords in anchor texts
    Also very important, 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 in the beginning of a document
    While coding your page put your main content before side bar. Because this also counts, though not as much as anchor text, title tag 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 important factors for good rankings. It is best if you have a keyword in the anchor text but even if you don't, it is still OK.
  • 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 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 both 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 it is not so great when you only make small updates to existing content.
  • Site Accessibility
    Another fundamental issue, which that is often neglected. If the site (or separate pages) is unaccessible because of broken links, 404 errors, password-protected areas and other similar reasons, then the site simply can't be indexed.
  • Sitemap
    It is great to have a complete and up-to-date sitemap, spiders love it, no matter if it is a plain old HTML sitemap or the special 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, especially 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 for 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
    When you have the same content on several pages on the site, this 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, of course), 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 flash home page without HTML one.
  • 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 is likely to affect the nonbanned part as well 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.
Submit your site

And also a good and easy way to promote your site is to submit it to inspiration galleries, you can see most of them here

Once you have mastered the basics and are ready to learn more, take a stop by the SEOBook site and download their free tools.

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201 Comments So Far

  1. Fantastic blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that
    I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Kudos!

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