Does the whole idea of Internet marketing intimidate you? Are you thinking of hiring a professional? Well, we’ve got great news for you. It’s really not difficult to do search engine optimization (SEO) yourself – you can save hundreds of dollars, and get the same results as the professionals do. You will probably get better results from highly qualified professionals, but you should definitely perform these do-it-yourself actions first. Once you’ve done some of this kind of work it will be easier to determine if a professional is worth his/her salt.
Basic SEO is very simple and easy – all it takes is the willingness to put in the work. Once you know the ropes, it’s not that difficult though it can be time consuming. The content of your website the focus of what SEO is all about. Here are the top points to think about when you’re doing it yourself.
1. You will start by registering a domain name, which should reflect what your site about. Keep it short, as long as it’s somehow related to your site. Being more specific can help. You could choose to name the page after one of your products or services, for example. Another method is to get a sub domain of a popular domain. This will generally help you get indexed more quickly though it will not appear quite as professional to your visitors. There is a trade of here, sub domains are quicker (and generally cheaper), but domain names are more memorable, and, in the long run, better for your indexing.
2. The next thing you should look at is your page’s title (i.e. the HTML title tag), which is critical in letting search engines see what the page is about, and is the first item looked at by search engines to determine your relevance. You should put your most important keywords in your title tags – you don’t need to worry about singular or plural forms as search engines account for these changes in most cases. Whatever you do, don’t call your home page ‘Home’ – make the title a mini-description of the page.
3. The two primary meta tags aren’t as important as they used to be, but the description tag is still used by some search engines to display information about your website to users and help them decide whether they’ve found what they are looking for. Not all search engines bother with this, though most will put some bearing on it (even if it is minuscule).
For very short descriptions the alt tag can be used. Alt tags let you describe an image or graphic file – they’re the pop-up descriptions that appear when you hover your mouse over a graphic, or when the graphic can’t be downloaded for whatever reason.
Text within comment tags is never displayed on the page – it is used by coders and designers to remind them of what that part of the page is for. Some coders used to put lots of keywords in the comment tags, so that they would be seen by search engines but not users, but search engines have now stopped paying attention to any text that isn’t seen by the user. Keep this in mind when trying to post invisible text (i.e. white text on a white background). This kind of behavior can get you banned from a search engine.
4. Having keyword density in all of your content is good, but keep in mind that each search engine has its own requirements when it comes to how many times that a keyword or phrase should be in the content for the page to be relevant. Somewhere between 5 and 8 percent is a roughly optimal level – but this isn’t always possible, and you shouldn’t force it. Don’t overdo it, or the search engines might mark you down.
5. Many search engines judge web page importance on the number and quality of incoming links from other sites. You should link to some related sites, but not too many. Don’t overdo incoming links either, and keep them related your site’s content. It’s also good to get sites to use your keywords as the text of these links.
If you follow the advice above, you can do it yourself and do fine. SEO, if done right, can keep you on top for as long as you want to be.
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