If you have a website, you need to think about search engine optimization. However, it can seem like the rules change every minute. So how can you know what tactics will work the best for your site in 2013? We’ve compiled some helpful hints and tips so you can maximize the success of your SEO campaign in the coming year.
For starters, you need to make use of title tags. Title tags help search engines figure out what subject matter your site covers. Be sure to place them within the head tag in the HTML. Every page of your site should have a unique title tag to increase exposure and to reduce the likelihood of getting dinged by Google for duplicate content.
You also need to make use of the meta description tag, which is often included in search engine results. You’ll want to make sure that this description accurately describes your site and reads well, as it may be what convinces someone to click on the link to your site. Steer clear of generic descriptions and try to be as detailed as possible without duplicating the actual content on the page to maximize your SEO. Also, be sure that every single page on your site has this description tag.
Another thing you want to look out for is how your links are setup. Make sure your URLs are easy to remember and make sense structurally. Site links that contain parameter names or session IDs are more difficult to link to and don’t tell the user what your site is about. On that same note, make sure that the URL isn’t overloaded with keywords and instead is just straight to the point.
Streamline your SEO even more, you need to make sure the navigation on your site is straightforward and makes sense. Avoid using flash or Java script or even images as links. Instead, use basic text links. This makes your site easier for a user to navigate and for the search engine to crawl.
Along that same vein, make sure you create a site map for your website. It should be in HTML and you should create an accompanying XML site map file to go with it. This will make it even easier for search engine to index the site.
Everything you can do is to create a useful 404 page. Many sites have these to indicate the page doesn’t exist on the website, but you could make yours useful to your visitors by including a link back to your home page or links to your current most popular content.
Speaking of content, one of the biggest things you can do to influence your SEO efforts is to focus on writing useful content for your visitors. It should be relevant to your subject and should be updated continuously. Having a blog on your website is a great idea because it’s an easy way to add new content on a daily basis if you’d like. Additionally, be sure that your anchor text, the text that forms a hyperlink, is optimized. You don’t want to overuse keywords but they should be sprinkled throughout your content.