10 Things A Newbie Learned About SEO

Seo Sang Don ( 서상돈) in Daegu, Korea

Seo Sang Don ( 서상돈) in Daegu, Korea by michaelseangallagher, on Flickr

A new challenge on my Facebook Writers’ Group! Write an article about learning SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and see how high you can get it to rank. So let’s see what we can do with that …

  1. Write for humans, not search engines.

    The algorithms are actually so good nowadays, that they are looking for real text and real people sharing it. If you write stilted, unintelligible prose, nobody will care and neither will the search engine.

  2. Make sure your keywords are on the page, but don’t overuse them. 

    Search engines look for keywords, but the latest Google Penguin update penalises sites that overuse keywords in their text, a technique known as “keyword stuffing”.

  3. Get your Meta Description on. 

    That’s the little blurb that Google and other search engines will put under your link. People like to read those, and so do search engines.

  4. Fix your broken links. 

    If you have links on your page to somewhere else, make sure they all work, or you will lose your web crawlers, both human and algorithmic.

  5. Link to your own content. 

    If there’s any consistency between your blog posts, you should be able to refer to previous posts in your current one. Make that link, it’s a good and friendly one, people like it as a way to get to know your blog better, and so do search engines.

  6. Get real referrals and avoid “link farms”. 

    One of the abuses that Penguin was designed to thwart was the use of fake websites to produce lots and lots of inbound links, to make it look like others were intensely interested in your content. That’s great if it’s true, it will kill your rankings if you try to fake it. Delete all those emails offering to sell you link juice. Ask your friends for links instead, if you must.

  7. Choose your anchor texts wisely.

    If too many inbound links have the exact same anchor text, the search engines won’t like it. Try to avoid “click here”.

  8. Try to avoid duplicate content.

    If you have two pages on the same site with almost identical content, neither will rank very well because the search engines will be confused. Combining them into one could be a good idea.

  9. An alt text is worth a thousand pictures.

    Search engines can’t read images, so make sure you have some kind of alternative text set up to tell them what your images are about. This is also kind to humans with slow connections.

  10. Write interesting content.

    If people are interested in your content, they will share. There is absolutely no better way to improve your SEO than to have your page go viral.

Much of this information, although by no means all, comes from the Moz Beginner’s Guide to SEO. I would love to know what you think of my list – is something unnecessary? Am I missing something important? Do let me know!

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5 Responses to “10 Things A Newbie Learned About SEO”

  1. Holly Jahangiri Says:

    #1 – Halleluia and pass the potatoes!

    #2 is closely related to #1. I don’t think there’s a magic number of keyword mentions, but we’ve all seen the pages where the keywords are just randomly inserted into blocks of irrelevant text…

    #3 – I’ve heard conflicting info on this. Does Google still use meta description? Or are those excerpts better built by using the excerpt fields in your WordPress blog post editor?

    #4 – you could write a whole post on the best tools to find and fix these…

    #5, yes. #6 should go without saying. Or just don’t say it – anyone who thinks this is a good practice deserves to have their blog buried in obscrurity… 😉

    #7 – I’ve read that with the recent updates, a “click here” won’t kill you. But it doesn’t really help you or your readers, and who wants to rank better for “click here” anyway? 🙂 Sometimes, it’s just the most natural place to put the link, though, and it’s not illegal or immoral or anything.

    #8 a little duplicate content shouldn’t hurt you, either – but why would you want to duplicate it on your own blog? Anyone who has ever syndicated a post has duplicate content out there. Probably not 500 copies of the SAME post, mind you – but it hasn’t hurt Gizmodo to get scraped and syndicated out the wazoo, either. Having completely duplicated blogs, in their entirely, probably hurts a lot.

    #9 – from an SEO standpoint, you’re absolutely correct; however, the real reason for ALT text, its only original purpose, really, is to make images more accessible to HUMAN BEINGS with low vision/blindness. Use it to describe the action in the image. Don’t just write “girl” on a picture of a “girl eating a grilled cheese sandwich” or “hard drive” on a picture of “to remove the hard drive, first disconnect all the cables” – you know?

    #10 – Amen, Sister!! 😉
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…How to Introduce Yourself to Strangers (Hint: No, That’s NOT the Way)My Profile

  2. Joan Y. Edwards Says:

    Thank for sharing your SEO tips.
    Joan Y. Edwards recently posted…Would You Give a Written Testimonial for This Blog?My Profile

  3. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Holly, thanks for your detailed response! As to duplicate pages, that’s not so much for blogs as for commercial sites – the example given was raincoats for boys and raincoats for girls with very similar content – you would do better to combine them into raincoats for kids.

    Joan, thanks so much for commenting! I love your blog!

  4. Linda Says:

    Holly–yes, Google still uses the meta description. If it’s supplied, it’s what often shows up in your search listings for that particular page. If not, they sort of make one up based on the text on the page.

  5. Hadass Eviatar Says:

    Nice to hear from you, Linda! I’ve not been putting in the meta description, maybe I should … thanks!

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