Simple SEO Tips for Improved Web Rankings

Horton Group offers these SEO tips – some best practices for search engine optimization. Our clients want to know what they can do to improve their SEO, but also where they can be penalized. For your search engine optimization enrichment here is a starter list of 10 useful tips that will help you get on the road to success.

10 Tips for A Better SEO Strategy

1.  Content is KING
If you have the ability to add a blog to your website, do so. You should be diligent, commit to your plan and add content to your blog regularly. Content keeps your website fresh and current and also attracts more visitors from long tail search queries. Content improves rankings and helps sell your services. Not only is content cheap and easy to produce, it is an invaluable piece in online marketing and gets your message across to a complete stranger.  Great content will do the work for you … so put the work into it!

2.  Think before you write
Before you write content, think carefully about the subject matter. Your articles should answer commonly asked questions or address hot topics. The body of the article should provide pertinent details and highlight relevant information. Think of terms or phrases that relate to the main keyword(s) and include them in your content.

3.  Keep it above the fold
It’s important to place related keywords in the first 25% of each paragraph with the main keywords in the first 25% of the very first paragraph. This is because Google evaluates content much like we do. Rarely do we read an entire article, but instead skim the first sentence or two to get a quick overview. If it grabs our attention, we may read it all. With strategic keyword placement, we ensure that both the user and search engines will pick up on these words.

4.  Never plagiarize!
Plagiarizing will do a lot of harm to your website’s search engine ranking. Always use unique content on your website. It is okay to draw ideas from someone’s content and rewrite it to your liking, however, you cannot simply copy and paste.

5.  Social is FREE, use it
Take advantage of social sites to keep your customers engaged and loyal. It’s free and simple to use so there’s really no reason not to do so. Here are some pointers for incorporating social media:

  • Make sure to come across as personable.Share your content and include a link to your website. 
  • This is a welcome and very natural method of link building.
  • Include a wide variety of content. You’ll attract more people by diversifying your posts and thus casting a broader net.
  • Study your audience. Try to get a read on what days and times they are the most active on social outlets so you can better plan your posts for maximum impact.

6.  Stay away from automated SEO
There is no such thing as quick and easy SEO campaign. Any company offering you 500 links for a few bucks is often going to do more harm than good. Google didn’t become the world’s largest search engine overnight with a hope and a prayer. These guys are smart so don’t be foolish enough to think that you can outsmart them at their own game!! Automated SEO is defined by “bots” that go out and build links for you without you having to do anything. Big no no.

7.  Stay away from mass link building – Never buy links – Never participate in link schemes
This includes link farms, reciprocal links, hidden links and redirection links. Note that reciprocal links are OK on a small scale. What you do not want to do is use this as the only tactic for obtaining links to your website.

Link building is quite a sensitive area in SEO and the source of the majority of your rankings. With that said, this is also the area that gets commonly misused, causing Google to set up the most “traps” and penalties. Linking tactics that appear to work today can actually become grounds for penalty tomorrow. And just because your competitor does this type of linking with good results does not mean you should.

If a link was done with the sole intention of manipulating the rankings, you can almost guarantee it’s only a matter of time before Google puts an end to it with extreme prejudice and added penalties. Google’s algorithms will not favor you if they suspect you of unethical linking practices. If you are suspected, you stand a good chance of an immediate de-index from their database. In other words, you will be permanently banned from showing up in Google.

Instead of link building think link earning! Don’t build your links. Instead, create captivating content, funny social posts, tips, videos, etc…content that people will like and WANT to share. Remember that the number one reason people do not share something is that they don’t want people to perceive them a certain way. For example, it may be embarrassing to share content on how to remove pet urine because this implies having a dirty house, but sharing a post on how to house train your pet feels far less suggestive and targets a far larger audience base. Create good content and you will earn natural links every time without having to build a link ever again! Going back to number 2, think before you write!

8.  Reviews can do you wonders…or harm
Reviews are great when they are down to earth. They help convince future audiences to buy, give your site credibility and provide some SEO value as well. Having a bad review doesn’t hurt your SEO — it can actually help somewhat. A company that has all 5 out of 5 stars may be perceived as awesome while others may think the reviews are fabricated. A few not-so-good reviews thrown in with some positives relieve any suspicions that might exist. Let’s face it, bad reviews do happen. The trick is to responding quickly and making things right. This is ten times better than a good review, as people will immediately appreciate that they’re going to be taken care of in the end. As a consumer, that’s all we want! So never write fake reviews because it’s a sure-fire way of getting in trouble with GoogleBot. Instead, if you feel you need more reviews on Yelp, give customers an incentive, or what we call a value proposition. Offer something free or a discount if they write a review.

9.  Keep it natural
Put good content on your blog, work with social media, create a buzz with a giveaway or special offer and offer good advice on other websites. Most importantly, be an honest business person who cares for their customers. This will reflect in your content, your reviews, your social buzz and your likability on other websites and will ultimately be the reason your website is naturally liked. Never do something that is forced such as building a link just for SEO!

10.  Always add … rarely change
As mentioned above, adding content is great for your SEO. However, there is a sneaky and sinister evaluation period. Imagine yourself in a serious relationship (personal or business) in which your partner just told you everything you knew about them was false and then revealed their true identity. You’d be upset, wary…maybe even distrusting of that person. You would naturally take a step back to evaluate the changes and see if you still liked them.

The same goes for changing content. Google learns what your website is about by the nature of your content. When you change it, you change the core of your online presence and take away the trust you’ve gathered over the years. Google now places your website in an evaluation cycle that can take up to 90 days to complete while taking away website traffic. Bing also has similar measures in place. Google now needs to reevaluate what the website is about, determine if it likes the changes and choose how to rank the page. If you feel you need to change content on a page, please speak with an SEO expert before doing so to learn what your options are and what the immediate and long-term effects will be.

In summary, never force it. If the reason you’re doing something is solely for SEO rankings, you might want to rethink your links. Write articles to give advice or tips and not simply to highlight a keyword. Blog so you can establish yourself in the online community and get your brand name out there.  Post on social sites for the sake of natural links, but also so you can make your voice heard and engage your audience. If something you’re thinking about doing seems like it might be a little wrong, give it time.  In the end, such things do more harm than good.

The best SEO comes from rolling up your sleeves, assessing what your audience wants and delivering that experience to them. If your customers are happy, they will naturally share the love and you will notice the difference in your ranking.

If you have a website and are thinking about doing SEO, drop us a line and schedule a FREE, no obligation consultation to review your website and help get you started in the right direction.