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A Succinct Guide to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Aug 17, 2007
Search Engine Optimisation is becoming increasingly important in today's marketplace. Would you like to do your own SEO? If the answer's yes, let's begin.

*** Choose the right keywords ***

Identify the most popular keywords for your site using web and PPC data. Try the SEO Keyword Generator at http://www.searchengineoptimising.com/keyword_generators/overture.htm, the Google Keyword Tool at https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, or the free trail of WebCeo avilable at http://www.webceo.com (Trail has a 5 keyword limit).

Use the information gathered to estimate the likely conversion ratios or use some pay per click advertising to identify your best performing keywords.

*** Optimise your Site ***

1. Get your best keywords inside the title, h1, h2, tags and menu items. You can also use bold to place emphasis on your keywords. Target 1 to 3 keywords per page.
2. Make sure there is no duplicate content. For example, does http://example.com and http://www.example.com show your pages but act as separate sites? If so, add a redirect to your .htacess file to redirect http://example.com to http://www.example.com.
3. Use mod_rewrite for dynamic pages to show them as static. Ensure they all have at least the title, description and keyword meta tags.
4. Ensure there is a good internal linking structure: Ensure links are visible in source code. Do not use JavaScript. It is possible to use a combination of CCS and JavaScript to produce attractive search engine friendly menus. For example, http://www.htmldog.com/articles/suckerfish/dropdowns/example/
5. Check for and fix broken links: Try: http://validator.w3.org/checklink
6. Ensure your HTML and CSS Validates. Try: http://validator.w3.org

*** Build Links ***

Now that you have a search engine friendly site, it is all about getting links.

1. Check the back links of your competitors and get your link where you can. Yahoo provides a much more complete list than google type links:www.yourcompetitorsaddress.com into the search box at http://www.yahoo.com.
2. Do whatever possible to get authority links. Link bait such as free tools, free guides or tutorials will make it easier.
3. Submit your site to web directories. A good search engine friendly list can be found at http://info.vilesilencer.com/seo-friendly-list.xls.
4. Write Articles and submit them to as many sites as possible. Don't forget to add a link to your site in the Author section.
5. Use social networking sites, blogs and forums to build links to your site.

*** Keep the Link Juice Flowing! ***

If you ever need to change the domain, the structure or a web address within your site always implement a 301 Permanent Redirect, that way you can make the changes without risking your hard earned SEO results.

For an entire site: Redirect 301 / http://www.example.com
Just a folder: Redirect 301 /olddirectory http://www.example.com/newdirectory
Just a page: Redirect 301 /oldpage1.html http://www.example.com/newpage1.html
About the Author
Adrian McLean is the Managing Director of Search Engine Optimising (SEO), one of the leading search engine optimisation firms in the UK. For more information, please visit www.searchengineoptimising.com.
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