FREE SEO Advice
If you are having an SEO crisis, hire a professional. From my professional perspective, SEO is sometimes more art than science, as search engine rules change frequently and Web Developers experiment to see what works. Web professionals generally keep up to date on this information and if your web site is an important part of your business model, spend the couple hundred or thousand dollars and hire a pro. You'll earn your money back.
With that said, there are plenty of things YOU can do to improve your web site's rankings in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Some of these require you to live dangerously and mess with the HTML code. BACK-UP YOUR SITE FIRST!
- Page Titles. Give every page on your site a unique title that uses keywords. Make sure it has your name, your geographic location if important and a couple keywords that describe your business. For example, "Big Shot Web Designs • Liverpool, NY • Web Design, Graphics and Marketing."
- Meta Tags. Use both Description and Keyword meta tags on all your pages. These tags allow you to give a succinct desription of and keywords for each page of your site regarding it's purpose, business, people, location, etc.
- Alt Tags. Make sure your important images have Alt Tags. You might have an image (jpg, png, gif) on your site that has your company name, logo or even paragraphs of text. Search engines have no idea what it is or says. You might have a photo of a sunset. Search engines have no clue. Alt tags tell them what it is.
- Good Content. Write quality copy for your site and update it regularly. Even if your goods, services or product descriptions are the same year after year, change the copyright date and reword some things so your site appears updated and not abandoned.
- Inbound Links. Know anyone with a web site or blog? Ask them if they could put a link to your site. Make badges available on your site for people to cut and paste into their sites and blogs. Have multiple sites? Link them to each other. Post a comment on a blog. Most blogs allow you to put your name and URL in the post info. All of these create links to your site and help with SEO.
- Choose a Domain Name that is keyword friendly. Your company name might be "Big Shot Web Designs" and your located in Liverpool, NY. Don't use an abbreviation such as "www.bswd-lpool.com". Search engines don't have any way to decipher your abbreviation or other cryptic phrases.
- Utilize Webmaster Tools. From the Google Webmaster Tools site, "Google Webmaster Tools provides you with detailed reports about your pages' visibility on Google." It will give you data about your traffic, allow you to submit a site map so Google knows all your pages, and show you how Google crawls and indexes your site.
- Claim your business on Google Maps. Read this from my friends at White Ivy Design.
- Generate Some Traffic. I know what you're thinking. How do you get traffic when your SEO stinks. Put something new and cool on your site, post it in your Facebook status and ask your friends to visit. Give away something for free. Have a raffle or drawing for a free cool item to giveaway if people join your email list. Site traffic is important to SEO.
- Social Media. Set yourself up in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and others. All these places can drive traffic and create inbound links to your site.
- Good code. You can validate your code at the W3C Validator to make sure that it meets current standards. Here's a great article from the Search Engine Journal about the importance of valid code and SEO.
For the areas that require you to mess with the code, you can rely on the W3C Schools to help. It's a free online school. Everything you need to know about Title tags, Alt tags, and Meta tags is there.