The Top 3 Must Haves for Good SEO!22 Feb 2010, Posted by SEO in
After years in web development and spending the past five years trying to understand Google and the Google Dance and Yahoo! and Bing and all of the search engines and why one ranks you number one for all of your keywords and the others won’t even list you, I’ve discovered the secret to great SEO. Here are the top three things you need to make your site rank higher than your competition.
1) Clear mission: This sounds like business-talk and it is. Most good business people will tell you that you must have a clear mission and set of goals before you embark on a successful business. Why should a website be any different? Before starting a website, ask yourself, “What is it that I’m trying to accomplish?” If the answer is “Make Money” you need to start over. All businesses want to make money. You must dig deeper and determine how you will make money. What is going to drive people to your site and why? What will keep people coming back to your site? If your main mission is to make money, you will fail because even if you get people to your site, you won’t keep them and they won’t come back. They’ll see through your tactics. You have to offer something of value. For example, say you found an affiliate that pays you 70% for all referrals. Sounds great, right? You sign up and start selling the product. Have you tried the product? Have you researched and made sure it doesn’t turn people’s urine purple? Seriously, you need to be the expert on that product. Obviously with 70% return, you’ll have a lot of competition and you have to stand out from the crowd. You become the expert and people will come to you. Your mission here is to become the expert on said affiliate product. The result will probably be that you will “make money”.
2) Market that Puppy: Blog, Tweet and By All Means Tell People You Are Out There!: One of my favorite lines is from Field of Dreams where they say over and over, “If you build it they will come!” Well, if we all had an all-star ghost baseball team lined up ready to play for us that might be true, but for those of us trying to make our way ahead of millions of other sites, it’s going to take a little more work. You must let people know that you are there. Some of the easiest ways to do that is by social marketing yourself. Signing up for twitter probably takes 90 seconds and that’s while you’re getting yourself another cup of coffee. Seriously, sign up, write a profile, and add a link to your page. Find some friends. If you start following people and you are a legitimate person or business, chances are they will follow you too. If you start tweeting about things that make sense, are important to people and are interesting, more people will following you, you’ll get retweeted and things will actually start to roll in your favor.
Also you need to blog. If you don’t have a blog on your own site there are plenty of places you can set up shop for free, like blogger.com. If you have a blog, make sure to register it on business specific sites, and sites like technorati.com. Also, go out and start commenting on other people’s blogs. Make a name for yourself. Marketing is a huge topic, but you get the idea.
3) Clean code: I’m going to get a little “techie” on you. The more valid your code is and the more direct, concise and easy it is to read, the better. Why does anyone care what my site looks like on the backside, it works and looks good! ? Well, the less cumbersome your code is on the backside, the easier it is for the bots (Googlebot especially) to find and properly index your site. Less tags and code on the backside make it easier for your keywords to be spotted and keyword density to be noted. Also, the pages will load more quickly and bandwidth will be saved. I highly recommend a tableless design with a separate css page. Sometimes this last step is easier said than done, but if you start cleaning up your code, Google (and others) will reward you for it. I’ve personally optimized two sites with the same area of focus, one with clean code and one without (I did not build the one without – I tried my best to make it better though). Even though the site with the not-so-good code had more backlinks, exposure and a blog, the site with the squeaky clean code actually ended up at the top of the natural search results. Go figure!
A combination of all three of the above must haves will keep people coming back to your site and help your popularity. You must realize that true results require a lot of hard work and dedication. This doesn’t happen overnight. Anyone who tells you they can get you to the top in seven days is either lying or is utilizing “black hat” or inappropriate techniques to help your rank and in the end you will be penalized. Google will find sites that don’t play by the rules. I think this list is actually just common sense. Have a business plan, market yourself and do it well. Easy!