SEO Secrets – 101 SEO Secrets A Shoddy SEO Specialist Doesn’t Want You To Start Questioning Them About

I’m going to be blunt with you, SEO is not that hard. In fact, compared to what we generally do, (designing and developing websites for companies) its pretty dang easy. The thing is, it takes time, patience, and understanding – and you never see big results over night. There are however, a few SEO pointers to get you heading in the right direction…

The hardest thing I find with SEO is getting people to understand how simple it really is. This industry is littered with shoddy seo specialists and self claimed experts confusing things and ripping people off. If the cowboy’s won’t tell you what they are doing to your website and offer the smoke screen ‘It’s all very technical, just leave it to us’ then use this list to fight back.

As for ‘SEO Secrets’, well… I don’t think there any many of those around either. Maybe I’ve been left off the secret Google email every SEO Expert gets once a week. Or maybe I’m just not part of that special members club yet. Plus I don’t claim to be an expert – maybe that’s why.

So, what should a SEO Specialist really be doing?

  1. You don’t need a huge website to start things off, 5 pages is enough to get going. But not just a single page.
  2. Getting a new website into Google should take about 7-10 days if done correctly. Not 6 months.
  3. If your website is already in existence for a while now, you do not need to submit your website to Google, chances are they already know about it. Use the “site:http://www” search to check.
  4. You do need to submit your website to Yahoo & Bing.
  5. You should have a Google account and register the site with Google Webmaster Tools.
  6. … And Yahoo’s site explorer.
  7. …And Bing’s Webmaster Center.
  8. Don’t lose sleep over the other search engines. Most scrape content from the big 3, no one uses them, and they generally suck.
  9. Create a Local Business Center account with Google.
  10. Setup a 301 redirect to direct traffic going to the to the (or the other way round)
  11. You should generate a sitemap (in .xml format) of your website
  12. Submit that sitemap to the search engines in the webmaster areas
  13. The Meta Keyword tag is rubbish for search engines, Google ignores it, as do Yahoo, and Bing will soon probably.
  14. The Meta Description appears in the search results, and searchers will read it – don’t miss this opportunity to start talking to people.
  15. Make page titles unique for every page on your website, and they must accurately describe the page content.
  16. Yes, having a fast loading website is important for SEO, but even more so for user experience. That said, a SB shouldn’t pump thousands into a high grade blue chip level dedicated server.
  17. But you can…Make sure your images are squeezed and compressed to death so they load fast, but still look good.
  18. Only JPEGs or PNGs please. Forget Gifs and BMPs. And god forbid the evil TIFF, leave that on the 4gig DVD.
  19. Compact the HTML, nice and neat. No junk code or stray tags in the background that will give the search engine spiders a hard time. Try and get your code as close to validating as possible. Don’t even get me started on strict validation.
  20. Keep Javascript in the head of your website to a minimum.
  21. Use shorthand CSS when building the site, and use as many standard properties as you can.
  22. In fact, remove any unused CSS.
  23. And no inline CSS, it’s so 1999 man. Don’t use ‘@import’ either, and make sure you put the stylesheets in the appropriate order in the head.
  24. Use heading tags to show search engines the importance of your content. As in H1-H6, although I tend not to go further than H3. Important stuff in the H1. Main article content in the paragraph tag, not a heading tag.
  25. Make sure your images have descriptive ALT tag text, that yellow thing which appears when you hover. Consider using ‘image’ or ‘picture’ in the tag to increase the image search results.
  26. Make sure the width and height of images are specified in the code, and the image must be resized to the correct dimensions before it goes on the web.
  27. Use keyword descriptive filenames for your content.
  28. Avoid flash intros and splash pages. Like the plague.
  29. Don’t require users to download a special plugin or some other rubbish 3D effect java applet you think looks cool to view your website or contact you. They won’t.
  30. Make sure your navigation is accessible to users and search engines. If I ate your mouse, could you still use your website with a keyboard? What if I ate your keyboard?
  31. The main navigation should not be huge image block using image maps for links. Bad.
  32. Your navigation should consist of the CSS property <ul> and <li> and regular old plain text with a title attribute.
  33. Consider also using breadcrumb navigation.
  34. Internal links are important, and help users and search engines read and navigate your website. Use keyword related links to strengthen pages for that keyword, go deep with your links too. And make them absolute links.
  35. Make sure you don’t have any broken links on the site that are generating nasty user errors.
  36. Server location will effect your rankings. Hosting in France but have a target audience in Australia? Get a hosting provider in Australia.
  37. Is not a nice thing to show the search engines.
  38. is though. See the difference?
  39. Don’t put white text on a white background. This spammy technique lasted about 15minutes back in the late 60’s.
  40. And don’t use this colour scheme either: Forget SEO for a moment, its just plain wrong.
  41. Internet browsers have no bearing on SEO rankings
  42. Content is still king. So keep adding it to your site, it gets easier once you see it generating traffic to your website – I promise.
  43. And not just to your website either, blogs, articles, newsletters etc.
  44. Never steal content. Ever. Duplicate content is the fasted way to get de-indexed by Google, and also hunted down and punched by the rightful owner.
  45. Don’t fill the site with adverts at the expense of good quality content, that’s lazy, and are you really thinking about the user?
  46. Make sure you target keywords to make your content writing pay off. A good place to start is over at the free google keyword tool and wordtrackers free version. Make sure you search for exact matches, not broad.
  47. Don’t keyword stuff your content, write for humans.
  48. Install a blog on your site under a sub directory on your website (www.youromain/blog)
  49. Don’t know how? Get a free one over at and link back to your website.
  50. WordPress has been praised as the best blog for SEO by Google’s Matt Cutts, and has a wealth of useful plugins available for free. Google’s blogger is cool too though.
  51. Add content to the blog every week. An empty blog will do your business more harm than good. Not up to writing content? Outsource it, or don’t bother.
  52. Write lots of short articles over one massive article, but make sure they read well and are useful to the user. Aim for at least 4-5 core articles before you launch the blog.
  53. Have a ‘Most Popular’ or ‘The Best Of” category menu in the side bar of your blog.
  54. Keep your blogging software and plugins updated to the latest versions to make sure everything is secure and in ship shape. That goes for your hosting providing too – are they up to date?
  55. Upload a robots.txt file to your server, and block private directories (like the admin area of your blog) from being indexed by the search engines
  56. Use blog tags or similar on each of your blog posts, make sure these display on the front end.
  57. Enable comments and spur the discussion on by responding to your readers.
  58. Consider developing guest posts to feature on other blogs in your industry.
  59. And remember to comment on other blogs relating to your field.
  60. Write ‘How to Guides’, Top 10 (or even Top 101 if you daring) lists because people read and like linking (hint, hint) to them.
  61. Format and spell check everything before you publish it. Remember you are representing your company with everything you put online, so don’t start submitting after 6pints down the local.
  62. Now start making more content for article websites, in particular EzineArticles.
  63. Submit 10 articles immediately to Ezine to upgrade the account to ‘Expert’ author status to speed up submission turnaround times.
  64. And don’t feel you have to be an expert to write articles, you definitely do not. Don’t concern yourself too much on first grade quality, just open up Word and start typing.
  65. Spend most of your time thinking of a good headline title with strong call to action.  A good headline title will make or break the article.
  66. Use the resource box wisely at the end of each article, test and experiment with different call to actions. Obviously, make sure you use links in the resource box at all times.
  67. Ensure you use different pen nick names (its an Ezine thing) to handle different topics; did you know using a female name and bio picture converts better when writing about beauty products?
  68. Get Press Releases written about the daily ‘normal’ business stuff that doesn’t fit in the blog/article site.
  69. Submit these to a small number of PR sites.
  70. Make sure you have an RSS feed setup on the blog to notify users and search engines of your new content.
  71. Remember to ping the RSS feed when you make a new post, using any of the popular pinging services like pingomatic
  72. Social bookmark (Digg it!) your new content if you feel its relevant to the people on the sites.
  73. Make it easy for others to share your content on their social networks, plenty of plugins are out there to help.
  74. Links are the very mechanics of how the internet works, are vital for SEO, and an important part to Google’s ranking algorithm.
  75. Try and get links from high pagerank websites, which are setup to ‘Do-Follow’ so your site benefits from the authority of the site. Lots of high pagerank sites linking to your site will increase the pagerank of your website.
  76. Don’t let Pagerank dominate your mindset when gauging the SEO performance of your website, it’s a moving target and the updates only happen 3-4 times a year.
  77. Keep links pointing to your site or blog relevant.
  78. But don’t get tens of thousands of links over night, links need to build up gradually over time. Unless you make Digg’s front page, then that’s ok.
  79. Tread very carefully when you venture into buying links, Google doesn’t like it and has blacklisted many sites as a result.
  80. Find the top blogs relating to your subject by searching for “industry keyword blog” and put links to them on your blog.
  81. Then ask them to return the favour. Be polite and honest about their site, and don’t just copy and paste a generic message to hundreds of people.
  82. Find the competition links – Identity them online, and run their site though Yahoo Site Explorer or use the search query “site:http://www.” Into Google. Now get your site listed on those sites that come up.
  83. Whenever you sign up to anything online (a forum, newsletter, blog, social media service) and get asked for a website or URL, use it. It’s a free backlink.
  84. Get listed on the BOTW web directory
  85. and the Yahoo (paid) directory aswell for that matter, expensive but worth it.
  86. Don’t submit the site to hundreds of free directories, it’ll do you more harm than good. If you website is seen in a ‘bad neighbourhood’ it could be penalised, no questions asked.
  87. Avoid the free listing due to the amount of email spam, junk post mail and phone calls to the business that happens as a result. Paying for a directory listing is rarely worth the ROI.
  88. Craft yourself as an expert in the field – its your industry, you know it better than anyone else, so own it!
  89. Answer questions online, help out at Yahoo Answers and join forums to offer your knowledge. You know more than you think you do, so share it.
  90. Develop a series of online videos to use on your site and send to your customers. Keep them short (max 3minutes) and to the point. Practice makes perfect…
  91. Add your keyword tags and descriptions to the video uploads on sites like YouTube.
  92. Get your name registered on Twitter. Yeah I know, but these days ‘Tweets’ get indexed like normal website content I’m afraid. Starting using it every day.
  93. You also need a Facebook fan page
  94. As we move into Social media, make sure no one else grabs your company name. Consider a bulk name reservation service like knowem to avoid that problem.
  95. Populate the profiles, connect with others and sync them to one another as best you can, display the twitter feed in LinkedIn, and your blog feed in Twitter for example.
  96. Install Google Anayltics on your site, let it run for four weeks before drawing any conclusions on the data, you need that benchmark before you start testing.
  97. Website ‘hits’ are a near useless metric to gauge SEO performance, you need the unique visitor numbers, bounce rates, top landing pages and entry keywords.
  98. See what keywords people are using to get to your website, and then search for these keywords yourself. If a high traffic keyword is generating visits to your site, and you are on page 3 of Google, it makes sense to focus on getting to page one for that keyword.
  99. The amount of people clicking on your website has no bearing on SEO rankings.
  100. Spending £500 a day on Adwords and looking to move up the organic listings? No chance. Adword spend does nothing to organic results. Period.
  101. Don’t spam.

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