Here is a top 20 list of SEO Tips and Tricks that I use when doing search engine optimization work for our websites and our clients websites. Some of them are the obvious ones and a few are more creative and gorilla style marketing techniques.
I have them listed in no particular order of importance just so you try them all out at one point or another:
1. Create accounts on social sites like Myspace, Linkedin and Face Book and link to your website. Myspace re-writes outbound links so you don’t get credit for the link back but you can get traffic to your site. Linkedin in has an area where you can edit your profile and specify websites. Choose the other drop down so you can custom name the link. You can put up to 3 websites in your Linkedin profile. (see Brian’s LinkedIn Profile). Make sure you then build your contacts as a dead profile doesn’t do anything for you. Face Book also lets you list a website in your profile. There are a ton of other social sites that have these features. It is important before you go and invest a bunch of time with this to make sure they don’t have “no follow” tags on the outbound links.
2. Create accounts on all of the “Linkerati” websites like Digg, Reddit, Technorati and Del.icio.us and claim or submit your site. Be very clever with your titles and descriptions so you don’t appear to be just spamming their communities. Start engaging with the communities by commenting on articles, posting new topics and voting on stories. Invite all of your office buddies to join your networks as friends too. Add a Del.icio.us button on your home page so people can easily bookmark you in their del.icio.us accounts.
3. Submit your site to the top search engines free submission pages. duh. A list of those can be found here: Search Engine Submission
4. Syndicate your site’s content by using an RSS feeds. Submit your RSS feeds to agregator sites like FeedBurner, Squidoo, FeedDirectory, FeedFury, Feedboy, Jordomedia, FeedBomb, FeedCat, and RSSmad.
5. Write an article related to your sites content, publish it on your site and then submit it to article sites.
6. Get an account on StumbleUpon and get your friends to Stumble your site. Again, you need to connect to your friends to get some traction with Stumbleupon.
7. Create a custom 404 page so that even if someone lands on your site by error they are re-directed to a nicer page with maybe some Google AdSense ads. This is more important for older sites that might have had tons of pages that are now broken or have been removed.
8. Add a link to your site in the signature of any forums or bulletin board communities that you post on. This is also called “Sig-Whoring”. It will also help establish yourself as a trusted source if you are a good contributor to the forums.
9. Don’t worry about Google’s PageRank – worrying about PageRank is as effective as using Alexa to determine your sites popularity online. Google has their own internal PageRank that they use for weighting. The visible PR is mostly to drive SEO people crazy when dealing with their clients. Google PR in the toolbar is all about vanity. We have sites with zero PR that still show up in top organic results.
11. Stay away from 2 and 3-way link trading schemes. Build your link backs organically through a few stragegic link trades with sites that have similiar or relevant content as yours. One way links are the best way to go. Get the technorati’s talking about your site.
12. Get a press release written and sent out on the wire about your site and some special feature or offering you have. Be sure to place a nice anchor link in your press releases back to your site. Anchor links still have a lot of weight in scoring if done properly.
13. Title Tags are KING. Make sure your title tags and H1 header tags are matching or close in context of what your pages content is about. The engines are spidering and indexing meta tags but little to no weight is being assigned to them. (I know this one hurts and is hard to swallow but is very true.) Write your description tags so that they are effective in communicating when a person is reading the abstracts in the SERPs. Make sure your URLs are easy to read too and that they correspond to the title or content of the page. (example: look at the title of this page, the URL and the Header of the article)
14. The Algorithm that Google uses is “Markov Chaining” to help calculate scoring & rankings. Do some research on it online and you’ll understand why they are using an algorithm like this.
15. Do NOT use frames. Funny how people still have sites in frames. Their should be some sort of W3 consortium against frame websites.
16. Do I submit my site to DMOZ.org? I personally think it is a big waste of time and an empty community of about 10 editors that actively approve sites. Who has used a directory in the last year anyways?
17. Create an XML sitemap of your site and submit it to Google, MSN and Yahoo. They are all using the same sitemap protocol. You can submit to Google through their Google Webmasters central and Yahoo through Yahoo Site Explorer. It is a good practice to also have a sitemap linked on your site from the home page to allow users to be able to navigate easily and for the crawlers to pick up your content for indexing.
18. Do your site in CSS and submit your site to CSS communities. CSS goes back to the search friendly design and the engines love how nice CSS renders.
19. Ask the Blog-o-sphere and other websites to review your site and/or products for you on their site.
20. Validate your HTML and CSS. It’ll help ensure your site displays well in all browsers.
What engine should I optimize my site for? Well, that is an easy one since Google receives about 50% of all search queries, Yahoo 25%, MSN and Ask about 10% each.