Search Engine Optimization is the most important part of online marketing. If search engines cannot understand your website, then it will not rank well in the search results, so you will lose out on a lot of traffic. The SEO industry is a rapidly evolving one, and SEO experts have a lot of tricks that they use to catapult websites to the front page of Google. Keeping up with all of those tricks is an almost impossible task for someone who does not work in the field, but there are some basic website SEO best practices that every webmaster should follow.
Meta Tags Still Matter
Meta tags have been around even longer than true search engines have existed. During the early days of the World Wide Web, meta tags were used to describe websites, and primitive “meta search engines” would catalogue websites based on the content of those tags. Meta search engines died out many years ago, partly because they were unreliable. Webmasters frequently engaged in a practice known as keyword stuffing, inserting irrelevant but high-traffic keywords into their meta tags to fool search engines into showing their site in the search results.
While meta search engines are no longer used, meta tags are still important. Make sure that your site has a unique meta title and meta description on every page. Many search engines will use those fields to populate your site’s name and description in their search results.
Use H1 Tags Properly
Google’s crawler has come a long way in recent years, and it is pretty good at understanding the contents of most websites. However, it still uses some simple rules to make decisions about content. One such rule is to assume that the first H1 tag it encounters is a title. Follow that rule in your own web page design to ensure that Google figures out what your page is supposed to be about.
Supply A Sitemap
A sitemap is an XML file which contains a list of every page on your site, along with a brief description and some information about how frequently that page is updated. If your CMS does not automate the creation of sitemaps, use an online tool to build one manually, or install a plugin to take care of it. If you do not have a sitemap, you cannot guarantee that Google or Bing will see every page on your website.
Don’t Sell Or Buy Links
Google has recently started tightening up on websites which buy or sell links for the purposes of manipulating Page Rank. Do not take the risk of buying or selling links. If your site is identified as one which contains paid links, then Google will penalize you, and none of the links on your site will pass page rank any more. If you buy links from a site, and that site gets penalized, then you will have wasted your money because the links will be worthless. Instead of buying and selling links, try guest blogging or PPC advertising to increase your traffic.
Website SEO is a rapidly evolving field, but the basic rules are simple. Create good content and make sure your site is fast loading and accessible. If you focus on the basics, good rankings will follow.
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