If you have a website, you may have heard about SEO or Search Engine Optimization. These terms refer to the strategies used to help websites have better rankings on Search Engine Results Pages (aka SERPs), therefore making them easier to find through online searches. While SEO is part of Internet Marketing, it is relevant to pretty much every aspect of a website and has an impact on the User Experience (aka UX).
In the complex world of SEO there are many details to keep in mind at all times, and the internet provides a wealth of information on the topic. Unfortunately, the ever changing nature of SEO makes some practices become obsolete or even unacceptable over time. The following are ten of the most important and up-to-date SEO "do’s and don’ts" to consider when working on your online strategy:
- DON'T put all of your keywords on one page. Instead, make sure you are using specific, relevant keywords on each individual page. This will help prevent your own pages from competing against each other for rankings, and it will make it clear to search engines and visitors what each page is about.
- DO incorporate keywords that are relevant to the page. In other words, the keywords used in your content should relate to your page title. Search engines will check for consistency.
- DO make your Metadata Description representative of the page content. It is also important to include keywords because they will appear bolded in related searches and grab the attention of potential visitors.
- DON'T engage in keyword stuffing or unnatural phrasing. Keywords should be naturally incorporated into the content. If the page content doesn’t seem to make sense to you, it’s likely that other users (as well as search engines) will feel the same way.
- DO have other websites linking to yours, but don't link back to them! Google does not like link exchanges. They want to see that websites earn links because the content is valuable to searchers, not because the webmaster has a link trading network.
- DO have presence on relevant social media. It’s important to keep profiles updated, have interactions with other users, and periodically post new content. Social media is a powerful business tool when used wisely.
- DO create and verify a Google+ page for your business. Google+ is not ‘just another social network’. This one is by Google, and they have publicly stated that if you are not on it, then you are on your path to irrelevancy when it comes to organic search rankings.
- DON'T ignore negative reviews. Even if they seem old or untrue to you, it's important to respond to every comment, whether it's negative or positive. Searchers don’t know the context, but they will see how you handle both satisfied and unsatisfied customers.
- DON'T panic if your rankings seem to drop suddenly. There is always an explanation for any variation in rankings, which can be as simple as Google testing an algorithm update.
- DON'T make any significant changes without consulting an expert, and avoid making any assumptions. Allow an SEO expert to help you define and maintain a strong SEO strategy to help your website’s overall performance.
These ten "do’s and don’ts" are a useful shortlist of guidelines for SEO reviews. Google’s ranking algorithm incorporates more than 200 factors, but these guidelines will help you keep the fundamentals covered.