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SEO Checklist for Beginners

SEO strategy, tips & questions. How to optimize web pages. Search engine algorithms. What affects your rankings. This is where you'll find all discussions related to Search Engine Optimization.

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SEO Checklist for Beginners

Postby RyanMoran » Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:39 pm

Hey... I know I haven't been here too long, but I wanted to repost something I just made at Sitepoint that is helping a lot of people... hope it helps some people here too.

Hey everybody... I’ve been lurking here and reading the SEO threads, and I’m really impressed with how responsive and helpful everybody is here.

SEO is one of my specialties, so I wanted my first thread to serve as a means of clearing up some of the misconceptions about ranking in the search engines. Much of what has been misunderstood has been about basic or outdated tactics, so I’m not going to dive too deep in this post – we can get into advanced methods another time. So, if you’re an expert, sit tight… I’d like to address the SEO beginners first.

On-Page SEO factors:

When I put up my first web site, I believed that Google would naturally bump me up into its rankings as long as I used certain phrases on my site and optimized the on-page factors. I started off by bolding terms like “work from home” and “make money online,” thinking that Google would think I was cool and rank me really high.

Of course, we all (hopefully) know that that isn’t the case. However, there has been discussion in this forum concerning meta tags; let me set the record straight… THEY DON’T MATTER. Heck, I rarely use meta tags in my sites unless I want the description to be something very specific. The keywords meta tag means absolutely nothing nowadays, while the description meta tag serves only to choose what displays as an excerpt when your site is ranked.

On page factors ARE important however. Here’s a break down of what a well optimized site would have:

- < h1 > tag - This is your header. Only use this once or twice on the page.

- < title > tag – I recommend using your keyword twice in your title. Use something like this format: “(Keyword) – How I (Keyword) Quickly” So if your keyword is “How to Jump Higher,” you could use: “How to Jump Higher – The Quickest Way to Learn How to Jump Higher”

- < alt > - You use the ‘alt’ tag when describing a picture. Having your images optimized for the search engines helps your overall on-page optimization.

- Keyword density of 2%. This means that you use your keyword (or a variation of it) twice for every hundred words that you have on your page. If you’ve got 1000 words, you should have your keyword on the page about twenty times.

- Bold the keyword at the beginning and at the end of your page. What I usually do is bold it the first time that it’s used (preferably in the first sentence) and in the footer. In the footer, I’ll have the copyright symbol followed by my keyword, and I bold it there.

While all of this is well and good, it only makes up about 20% of the SEO process. The other 80% is made up of your sites’ structure and the links that you get to them.

A bit about site structure: Google likes to see that your site is well organized. You don’t need to freak out about this, but you should have relevant pages linking to one another, and they should “silo” out. In other words, you should have a sub-page that links to other relevant pages, and irrelevant pages should not link to one another.

With that in mind, Google sees no difference between an internal link and an external link, which means that your most relevant pages can be good sources of link-love to one another. However, links from irrelevant pages do little to help your ranking.

Of course, the most important part of dominating in the search engines is by getting links to your site, and it is very important to focus on getting one-way links to your site. Google can easily see reciprocal and three-way linking structures, so it is best to focus only on one-way links. Remember that Google sees one-way links as a “vote,” and getting links from high PR sites is a more emphatic “vote.”

Instead of doing link exchanges, here are a few places to get quality one-way links to your site:

Directory Submissions: Classic and outdated, but they still work. However, you can usually only submit your index page and have one link to the site. Still, it helps with your main keyword.

Articles: My favorite and most used form of getting one-way links is from articles. The more you write, the more link love you get. I usually write and rewrite my articles to get unique content without having to be overly creative. Then I submit unique versions of my articles to different directories.

Social Bookmarks:
I bookmark just about everything, but having links from Propeller, BuddyMarks, and StumbleUpon are all very high quality links that will get attention to your sites.

An even better strategy is to write good articles, submit them article directories, and then bookmark your articles. That way, the PR of your articles is elevated, which passes more link juice back to your money site.

It’s important to remember that SEO is a long process; you’re not going to rank overnight. But the payoff is far worth the effort. Once you’re ranked for your key terms, you have an endless source of free traffic coming to your sites.

Questions are welcomed, and I’ll do my best to get to them. If the desire is there, we can address more advanced SEO tactics as well.
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Postby angienewton » Thu Jun 25, 2009 7:06 pm

Thanks for the tips, Ryan. After over a year, I finally am starting to 'get' SEO. Glad to see we have a pro among us!
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Postby terrapin719 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 8:15 pm

I like the idea of bookmarking your articles in the directories. So simple, yet I was totally missing it before you mentioned it. Great tip ;)
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Postby tms_seo » Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:37 pm

Great Tips Ryan.
Glad you shared it here in SSWT :)

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Postby kristy19 » Thu Jun 25, 2009 11:00 pm


Thank you for sharing your information.
its very good as well as informative.
keep posting on.
waiting for your next post.
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Postby raymondr » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:11 am

I just wanted to extend my thanks for how informative and straight forward you were in this article. The internet is flooded with misinformation regarding this topic and I really appreciate your personal ideas on the matter. Thanks, RaymondR
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Re: SEO Checklist for Beginners

Postby ferrywayes » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:12 am

Wonderful tips.Pretty open and great for SEO learners.
Very good tips for a beginner in SEO, it will definitely increase the traffic a little.
Thank you for sharing it.
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Re: SEO Checklist for Beginners

Postby williamssara88 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 1:06 am

Google post, it will definitely help to beginners.
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