I’ll admit it…I’m kind of a dunce when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I know the basics, but there are a lot of aspects of SEO that simply confuse the hell out of me. That’s why I’m happy to include this guest post, from Joe out of the University of San Francisco that gives a bunch of quality tips on the subject…
Promises, promises. You’ve probably seen those flashy ads promising to drive hoards of traffic to your website. But without the proper internet marketing training, who can tell which ad is legitimate and which isn’t? Free advice on search engine optimization, page ranking and keyword phrase strategies isn’t always current — most free help is outdated and is based on a system that’s been overhauled since major search engines like Google, Bing and others took over.
Because an abundance of search engine listing tips, tricks and services are completely misleading and can harm your online business, you’ll need to be aware of what advice to follow and what to ignore. To properly drive traffic to your website, take heed of this sound SEO advice:
5 SEO Tips to Avoid
#1. Hiding and Disguising Links - Don’t do it. Here’s how SEO works: a search engine looks for keywords in specific areas (within the title and elsewhere within the content). If you list keywords outside the content or in a way that it is hidden by users, you could get penalized and this just won’t help achieve your goal. Web crawlers are designed to decipher which pages match specific queries, so if your content it isn’t formatted properly, then it could be missed.
#2. Stuffing Meta Tags Gets Better Rankings- False. This method is obsolete. You can’t tell search engines what your webpage is about, which is what many meta tags attempt to do. Search engines don’t use meta tags to determine page ranking. However, if you prefer a more standard description for search engines, use the description meta tag and Google will pick it up to be displayed.
#3. Using Link Exchanges with Unrelated Content- This won’t work. While it is true that using inbound links from other websites could help position you higher in the search listings, this only works if they’re from related content. Web crawlers are very good at cross-referencing content, so using this method is ineffective and wastes time.
#4. Hiring Someone to Submit your Site to ‘Hundreds’ of Search Engines and Directories- This is a scam. With only a small handful of search engines available, you can bypass this offer completely. Most search engines are probably already controlled by Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Ask, with the first three performing almost 100% of all internet searches. If you’re already linked in to the Internet and made your pages accessible to visitors, your website will get indexed for free. There’s no need to pay anyone to help you get listed.
#5. Hiring Someone Who Promises a #1 Search Engine Ranking- There is no guarantee that you’ll be #1. While you can control certain variables to help you get ranked, such as keywords, some inbound links and optimizing your website for crawlers, there’s a lot you cannot control. For instance, inbound links of competing websites and pages, and the strength and popularity of a competitor’s site are just a few variables that you (or anyone you hire) cannot manipulate. There are countless variables used to determine page rankings that we just don’t know about, so no one can guarantee or promise high rankings.
3 SEO Tips to Follow
Now that we’ve covered what not to do with your SEO strategy, here are some valuable tips to further guide you in the right direction.
#1. Quality Not Quantity- When it comes to SEO, the single most important rule to follow is to provide quality links. If you offer numerous links that don’t give the user what they’re seeking, it’s a waste of time and can be detrimental to your business.
#2. Create Great Content- Do you want a sticky site? Create great content, including using links and calls-to-action with your keywords vs. a “click here” or “read more” link.
#3. Get Links from Authoritative & Related Sites- Make sure your links are from authority sites and not blogs or outdated websites (think MSNBC vs. your friend’s travel blog). Plus, using links from related sites are far better than those from unrelated sites.
When it comes to your business, knowing exactly how to effectively market through SEO is absolutely imperative. With the right internet marketing training, you’ll successfully drive traffic, create awareness and increase your bottom line!
Steve’s Note: This is a guest post by the University of San Francisco who offers online Internet marketing courses. The views expressed here are the sole responsibility of University of San Francisco and do not necessarily reflect the views of SteveScottSite.com
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