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Basic Failsafe SEO Practices You Cant Go Without

May 29, 2008
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the implementation of certain techniques that will increase your site's findability in the search engines.

There are two main forms of Search Engine Optimization: White Hat SEO and Black Hat SEO. White Hat SEO is the act of making your site adhere to the policies and guidelines the search engines have set forth so that they can more easily find your site and rank it according to its relevance to the keyword or phrase searched on. Alternatively, Black Hat SEO is the act of using techniques that are contrary to the terms of service of the search engines. Any technique that could be considered spammy, deceptive, or unethical falls under this category. The following basic SEO best practices will all stem from White Hat SEO techniques.

Keyword Research - The first step in the SEO process is to decide on what keywords or phrases you would like your site to show up for. Start with relevance. If you were someone searching for your site on the search engines what words or phrases would you type in to find your site? Try to be as specific as possible. Yet make this list as large as you possibly can. If you have any sort of analytics on your site or if you have done any online paid marketing, an analysis of these sources would be very valuable. You may also want to perform some type of competitive analysis at this point as well that will help you to see what your competitors are trying to show up for, and may also help you to define your niche in the industry.

Once you have this initial list, you need to prioritize the list according to relevance and search traffic. There are many free tools online that will give you a rough estimate of search traffic for your keywords. Use one of these to sort your list by the amount of searches each keyword or phrase gets. From there, choose the ten keywords you consider to be the most relevant and targeted for your business. These keywords will be the ones you optimize your site for.
On Page Optimization - The next phase of SEO is to go through your site and strategically implement those keywords on your site. The idea here is to make is so that the search engines (and anyone else for that matter) will easily be able to tell what each page of your site is about. Here are the two basic steps to take:

Content: Each page of your site should contain unique content that is focused around one of your keywords or phrases. Include the exact keyword or phrase at least once in the content of the page. Be careful not to overdo it. Your content should flow naturally to any visitor of your site and shouldn't look like the only reason you have content is for the search engines.

Titles: Each page of your site has a title tag encoded into the language of the page. This title tag should be unique and relevant to every single page of the site. Be sure to include your keyword or phrase once within the title of the page. This keyword should match the keyword you focused your content around.

Link Building - The search engines work much like humans do. If I have one friend that I trust tell me he thinks a site is worth looking at, I may go check it out. But if I have 100 friends I trust tell me they all think the same site is worth looking at, I'm definitely going to check it out. It's all about credibility. Both the level of trust and the quantity of trusted people play a role in the credibility.

The same goes for the search engines. The more sites that link to my site and the more trusted those sites are, the more credible and relevant the search engines will see my site.

So how do I get other sites to link to mine? There are many different solutions to this question. The solution the search engines like best and the one that actually works the best as well is termed "link bait." This is exactly what you think it would be: creating something so enticing, unique, and captivating that people will just naturally link to it because of its value. This could be anything from a press release to a funny video to a free giveaway. The more creative you are and the more enticing your link bait is, the more links and traffic you'll get to your site.
About the Author
Jordan McPelt is a professional writer specializing in search engine optimization and
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