SEO or Search Engine Optimization refers to the ability to make your website rank high on search engines for your selected keywords. It’s part art, part science. There are hundreds of variables at play here and people have devoted their businesses and lives to mastering the techniques to be in the top spots on Yahoo! and Google. So here are a few things I picked up in the past 48 hours while looking into SEO for Dynamic Legal Forms:
- Pick the right keywords. You can use tools like the Internet Business Promoter to figure out what keywords are being used by competitors. Also, Google has a section in their Ad Words website that gives you keyword ideas. Finally, WordTracker is the leading authority on keyword searches.
- Target the hell out of your keywords. Strategically place your keyword in your domain name or URL, text, meta tags (discussed below), picture files, h1 tags (discussed below), etc. Make sure to try to have a low-keyword density (i.e. the number of times your keyword appears relative to the rest of the text on the page should be relatively low) or else search engines will penalize you!
- Use titles, meta tags, and h1 tags. Titles are what appear at the top of the browser and should explain in a nutshell what the page is about. Meta tags are behind the scene keywords and description of the page. Be careful not to put too information here because search engines may penalize your website if the meta tags are not accurately reflected in the actual text of the website. Some search engines, however, ignore meta tags. Finally, use h1 through to h6 (heading tags) for your text so that search engines will believe the words that are categorized this way are important.
- Backlinks. Have as many links from popular, high quality websites linking to your website.
- Have a sitemap and robots.txt file. These files allow search engines to understand the layout of your website and also to search through the pages.
- Submit your website to search engines. You can purchase software that will submit your optimized website to search engines around the world either automatically or semi-automatically.
- Content, Content, Content! Search engines love blogs, forums, and articles that are constantly updated. These things tend to be SEO compliant, so make sure you contribute regularly to them.
- Have a great CSS template. A CSS or Cascading Style Sheet is a hidden and central web page that contains all the different sytles of text that you may use. Without a CSS, you would need to change the text style of every page yourself, which is a big waste of time. Changing a central file that contains all the styles is much easier and allows for quicker loading (because you won’t have all the code on every page).
- Avoid Broken Links! Search engines hate broken links, so make sure you don’t have any.
- Evaluate and Adjust: You can purchase web analytics software to monitor your progress (e.g. visitors, pages, keyword searches, time spent on pages, most popular pages, and much more) and make adjustments.
At the end of the day, it takes a lot of patience and effort to be in the top spot on major search engines. You need a strategy and you need dedication. But, at the end of the day, when it pays off, you’ll have an SEO website that is the envy of the Internet. Happy SEOing.