If you’ve been dabbling with SEO, then you know there are two main aspects of website optimization: internal and external. From those, external optimization (i.e. link building) is virtually endless – meaning you can arrange virtually unlimited links, whereas you can only do internal optimization up to a certain point. Does that make sense?
Even so, it doesn’t mean you should neglect internal optimization. In fact, it means you should be especially attentive to it, since it’s something that can be done and gotten over with. Put extra effort into the implementing the following internal SEO elements while conceiving your website, and you’ll be ahead of the competition even as you start developing your link building strategy.
By far and wide, the simplest way to get most SEO points with least effort is by choosing a keyword rich domain. Whenever possible, try to include your main keyword in your domain name. In highly specific niches with moderate competition, this will sometimes be enough to ensure a good ranking.
Some people even take this approach to the extreme with the so-called “sniper method” (look it up); this is not nearly as effective as it used to… but still, having relevant keywords in the domain name can bear a very positive impact in your subsequent efforts.
Next to your domain name, the titles you use for your pages carry the most optimization potential. Mindfully craft your titles to look attractive to readers while including the most relevant keyword towards the beginning. Sometimes it takes a little creativity to come up with a title that sounds right and includes the right keywords, but it’s certainly worth the time and effort!
You should structure the permalink structure in your website or blog to look like a condensed version of the title. Unlike titles, the permalinks don’t call for flawless grammar, so strip out stop-words such as “and”, “or”, “the” to make your URI shorter. Make sure to keep all the good keywords and even combine new relevant variations into the mix, provided the result does not sound too redundant.
If you’re not breaking up your content with headlines, you really need to start doing so. Because not only do they make your articles more scannable and attractive to the human eyes, headlines also help the search engines figure out what your website is about. Needless to say, try to make your headlines keyword-rich, while still making them attractive (just like the titles).
It’s always a good idea re-reading your content after you publish it, to do a final round of proof-reading and adding strategic highlights: use bolds and italics to emphasize short passages that summarize important points (and possibly include relevant keywords). Underlining text is not such a good idea, since it can be mistaken for links, detracting from your visual consistency.
Pictures and Rich Media
Anytime you include a picture, video or rich media (such as Flash content) in your website, you absolutely should fill up the alt tags. Because search engine bots can only recognize text, which means… if you don’t describe what those pictures and videos are about, they will do nothing to further your website’s internal SEO.
Since filling up “alt” tags is something many webmasters are too lazy to do, it’s more power to you: quite often your images will rank naturally and bring some extra organic traffic, just from you adding a relevant and keyword rich alt tag. Captions are also great to take you optimization efforts a step further, not to mention that people love reading those!
The hyperlink is a cornerstone of the Internet, and for good reason. You need to get in the habit of linking your pages internally, in a way that’s useful to the reader. When done right, this can significantly improve your pageviews/visitor (which in term can indirectly boost your website’s authority). For extra SEO points, make sure the anchor text (the clickable part) of your internal links is a main keyword for the target page.
Once upon a time in the early days of search engines, meta tags were the secret weapon of the early SEO moguls. Back then, ranking for a specific keyword was sometimes just a matter of pasting the
keyword multiple times in the website and page meta tags.
Fast forward to 2012, meta tags are rendered almost obsolete after years of being abused for ranking manipulation purposes. But still, making sure to fill them up right certainly won’t hurt your cause. Writing enticing text into the description meta tag can be a great way to got those humans to click towards your website, even when you’re still ranking lower down the search results.
There are too many websites who are much too wary about including outbound links in their website, in fear they’ll lose “link juice” to a competitor. This is arguably quite narrow thinking, and if you don’t see why, then go look at some pages from the Wikipedia (which as you may know is a serious SERPS hog). Do you get it?
They include many, many outbound links in their pages… although there’s generally a common trend. Those links tend to point only to authoritative and useful sources. This is something you should also strive to do: complement your content with qualitative citations that expand on the subject matter you’re presenting.
Social Share Buttons
When used right, social share buttons can help your website grow in multiple ways: for one, they will expand the reach of your content, by encouraging readers to share pages in your website via their social media channels.
For two, did you know that social media activity is an increasingly important ranking factor? It only makes sense… after all, the search are very interested to give the users what they want. And social media activity on a page is a very good indicator of page quality. So make sure to include social share buttons cleverly as part of your design, and don’t be ashamed of encouraging your readers to share the message with their friends!
In fact, if you liked this article, why not help us out by sharing it with your friends using the buttons bellow? It really helps! And we certainly hope you also found this article useful.
Pedro Cardoso was the guest writer for this entry, is also behind the lifestyle blog Slices of Life, where you can find all kinds of interesting tidbits – from this impartial dub turbo review to popular articles on the real world Shrek, to plentiful lists of all kinds: such as the most expensive cars, richest kids, or the most ambitious engineering project in the world. Come see us anytime you could use a break!
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