Expert SEO (Search engine Optimization) is vital in order to dominate Google search results. Using creative search optimization techniques can improve Google PageRankings and drive content to the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Every business must compete for organic search traffic because the vast majority of all Internet traffic originates with search, and in particular, Google search.
1. Get rid of “junk” URL space
Search engines, including Google search, only return a certain number of URL characters in their search results. It is important to squeeze as much SEO juice into every part of a search result, so why waste parts of the URL?
Unless you have a good reason for doing so, don’t include www in your site’s URL. Instead, edit your .htaccess file to redirect to the non www version. Those three characters could be used for valuable SEO keywords and phrases.
Here’s an example of how to redirect requests from www to non-www in .htaccess (Note that the rewrite rules must be placed after the rewrite engine on command):
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://mydomain.com/$1 [L,R=301]
Replace mydomain in the example above with the domain of your own site, and away you go.
In the hyper-competitive world of SEO, three characters can give you the edge you need to out-compete business rivals online.
2. Dominate long-tail search and SEO
Did you know that around 70% of all organic search traffic originates from the “long tail“? Long tail SEO terms are any SEO keywords or phrases that do not drive as much traffic as highly competitive, more popular search phrases.
For example, the SEO phrase “Panda penalty” is pretty competitive. But, many people wonder whether content syndication might incur a Panda penalty too. The long tail SEO phrase “Panda penalty content syndication” might not drive as much traffic, but it is more focused, and this allows you to monetize the traffic generated from it much more effectively.
Learn more about how to dominate long-tail SEO by reading the following SEO articles:
- Killer SEO tip: How to make the long tail pay
- SEO Blogging tips: How to use Google analytics search data to inspire new content
- SEO basics: Increase website traffic with long-tail Google keywords
3. Dominate image SEO
Organic search traffic arising from Google image searches is increasing all the time. Search traffic from images is just as valid as search traffic coming from web searches – i.e. you can make just as much money from those visitors.
It makes sense then to get ahead of the curve and ensure that your images are properly SEO’d.
Here’s what Google looks at when it crawls and indexes images:
- Image file name
- ALT tag
- TITLE tag
As a result, you need to ensure that highly relevant SEO phrases are used in the ALT, TITLE, and filename of the image. The SEO terms you include in the image optimization should be the same or similar to those used within the body of the article, so that Google understands that the image is closely related to the context in which it is shown.
Learn more about Image SEO and its benefits by reading “SEO how to: Using Image SEO to appear higher in Google search results”.
4. Add long-tail SEO “qualifiers” to the URL
Instead of competing directly for highly competitive SEO terms, why not give your content the best chance of dominating more long-tail searches by including what I call “SEO qualifiers“. An SEO qualifier is an information about your content that also contributes to the SEO of the content.
For example, the SEO phrase “best online business ideas” is hyper-competitive. But, “best online business ideas 2012” is a phrase that is still up for grabs. In addition, the inclusion of the SEO qualifier “2012” serves to focus the content better. It tells people that this is fresh, new, and likely to be more relevant than an article written 5 years ago.
Many CMS (Content Management Systems) use a generic folder name like “content” to store all blog posts. “content” doesn’t add anything to your SEO. Instead, provide folder names that describe the content itself. Look at the folder name of this article – “small-business-SEO“. It’s relevant and it contributes to the SEO profile of this article.
Drupal tip: Drupal users can set automatic path aliases using the Path module, or add aliases manually at creation time.
5. Regularly re-optimize and refresh older content
Have you ever looked at an article and thought, “if only I’d known then what I know now, I could SEO that page right to the top of Google“? The great thing about SEO is that it’s never too late.
Every few months, I use Google Analytics to tell me which pages are not performing well. This could be low traffic, high bounce rate, low conversions, or whatever. If there is content on your site that is not contributing to organic search traffic or revenue, then either improve it or get rid of it.
Re-optimizing content for SEO is easier than writing that content in the first place because you have the benefit of hindsight. In other words, you already know how that content performs. You should know where you want it to rank highly in search results, and you’ve just read four of the best SEO tips you can use to get it there.