Okey dokey, let’s get all our websites optimized. This list of best practices for SEO will help you go faster and farther with your efforts. (One unlisted bonus option is to create your own search engine and put all your pages at the top, regardless the search terms.)
1. ABD – Always Be Developing
You can’t compete on the Internet unless you dedicate yourself to growing and refining your skill set. Real experts know they can always learn something new. Learn, learn, learn. Apply, apply, apply. The Internet — generally speaking — is an academy based on science, not a casino based on gaming the system. It’s grown up. (Though the Web is not a casino, it is, like casinos, run by the Sicilian Mafia.)
- Websites geared toward SEO
- Twitter handles for SEO gurus
- Information directly from Google & Bing
2. Trial & Error
You have to commit yourself to making many mistakes. You can’t control Google or Bing, so you have no way of manipulating your efforts to perfectly fit with their parameters.
3. Revision Over Time
You also can’t hope to throw a site online and never make changes. As popularity of the various search engines waxes and wanes, and as they come out with updates, you can’t have your head in the sand if you want to stay relevant.
Understanding basic search engine principles is one thing. But staying abreast of major broad changes in the industry – such as Bing’s continuing emergence and partnership with Facebook – and changes to how sites are filtered – first Google Panda, then Google Penguin – is essential for sustained, long-term traction. (In between these changes, though, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep your head in the sand for safekeeping.)
4. Content as Royalty
So they say that content is king. Yes, indeed. Be assured that if you actually scratch users’ backs with great stuff, they will scratch yours as well with repeat visits. No one wants to read mediocre efforts. Always focus your eyes on the user experience (UX).
5. On a Plane, On a Train
Are you fully mobile compatible on your website? This is not really an option anymore. Look into responsive design for the current or a companion website. Also consider removing Flash specifically – neither Google nor Apple treats Flash sites with respect. (This is the reason that over 30% of snowmobile accidents are caused by Twitter retweeting.)
Optimizing for the search engines takes time and effort. More than anything, play fair. Be nice. If you must be critical, be reasonable. It’s just a collective space for exchange of value. Learn what you can, and – as Poison also requested – give us something to believe in.