Want more site visitors? These five top SEO (search engine optimization) tactics will help you rank higher in search results and attract more customers.
1. Choose and use the right keywords.
Lots of people use insider jargon on their sites. You may think you sell â€œperformance-enhancing stabilizers for over-pronatorsâ€ â€“ but your potential customers are searching for â€œrunning shoes.â€
Googleâ€™s free Keyword Research Tool is a great way to find the keywords people actually use to search for what you sell. Use these instead of jargon terms, and more people will discover your site.
2. Write a unique, accurate title and meta description for every important page.
The title of a web page tells search engines what the page is about, so be sure each page title includes the most relevant keyword or two for that page.
The page title appears in search results as the underlined blue link to the page. An attractive title with relevant keywords close to the beginning can entice people to click it in search results.
Search engines donâ€™t use the meta description to decide what a web page is about. But they do use the meta description as the â€œsnippetâ€ that appears below the title in search results. People read that snippet, so a persuasive meta description and accurate title are like an ad for your page.
3. Make sure search engines index your site.
If your site isnâ€™t indexed, it wonâ€™t appear in search results. Ensure search engines can find your pages by creating an HTML sitemap and/or an XML sitemap.
4. Get links from other websites.
Links from other websites, or inbound links, are like getting votes for your site. Inbound links are probably the single most important factor outside your site that help it rank higher in search results.
The best way to get links from reputable sites is by creating great content that people want to link to. Then promote it on Twitter and Facebook in a conversational manner. Donâ€™t just post links.
Because you want people to â€œretweetâ€ and â€œlikeâ€ your content, do the same for them.
5. Donâ€™t duplicate content.
When search engines see the same content on two web pages, they regard one page as the original, and the other as a lower-quality duplicate.
Low-quality pages wonâ€™t rank well in search results, and duplicate content doesnâ€™t help your prospective customers, either.
Duplicate content also splits link juice. If two pages on your site are identical, and people link to both, the power of those links to boost your content higher in search results is diluted by half.
If you do have two pages with good inbound links, redirect one page to the other using a 301 redirect, to concentrate the link goodness on a single page.
Google Webmaster Tools helps you discover whether you have duplicate pages. Sign yourself up, go to the Diagnostics section, and then find the â€œHTML Suggestionsâ€ tab. From there, you can check the â€œDuplicate Title Tagsâ€ section to identify duplicate content.
Aliza is director of sales marketing at AboutUs.org, the largest index of websites.
Download the entire FeedFront issue 16 here â€“ http://www.scribd.com/doc/69193074/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-16
FeedFront issue 16 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article00date/2011/10
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