SEO 101: Six Essential SEO Tactics to Deploy Today

Some say SEO days are over, yet this statement couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. SEO is well and very much alive. Of course, you won’t get anywhere with keyword-stuffed scribbles, but even if your content is excellent and engaging, there are still basic SEO essentials you need to follow to increase the amount of traffic you get from organic search results.

1 Keywords and Metadata:

Tell the search engines what you are about.

Keywords are those words and phrases that effectively summarize the content of a web page. Keywords were originally stored in metadata tags and were used to determine the relevance of a page to a search query. However, Google has discontinued their use as a ranking signal in favor of keyword matching in the website content. Here is how you need to think about keywords and their usage today:

  1. Define a keyword lexicon that matches your business. Use online tools to determine what people are searching for in your market. Also, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Use these keywords throughout your website and social media.
  2. Make each web page on your site primarily about one of your keywords.
  3. Use a keyword several times on the page. It is best to place the keyword as high up in the page as possible. Note, however, that search engines penalize overuse of the same term. Also, keyword stuffing negatively affects user experience. To avoid being penalized, use supporting terms. For instance, if telemedicine is your keyword, a suitable supporting term may be remote health care.
  4. Use a keyword in the page title.
  5. Make sure the page’s URL also includes the keyword,
  6. Keywords should also appear in ALT tags for images and videos, as well as the H tags. In particular the H1 tag, as it is the largest visible text on the page.
  7. Monitor which keywords are gaining interaction and which ones are irrelevant, and adjust your lexicon and site content accordingly.

2 Link Building:

Tell the search engines what you do is important

Search engines use inbound links from other sites to yours as a way of validating the relevance and importance of your site. Generally,“more is good” is the rule here, but links must be appropriate. For instance, a link from your friend’s roller disco derby site redirecting to your eHealth site serves no purpose and may even damage your SEO results. A link from Humana Hospitals group, however, would be highly desirable here. This is how you should use link building:

  1. Garner links from businesses that add value to your site. Here are the criteria:
    • they are relevant to your market
    • they have a higher SEO ranking than your site
  2. Make sure the inbound link uses the appropriate keyword for the link’s landing page. It is also best if the source page is about the same subject. For example, a newspaper article on eHealth linking to your telemedicine page is more valuable than a link from a “useful links” page on a general healthcare site.
  3. Don’t just link to your home page. Build links redirecting to specific pages within your site.

3 Signposting

Help the search engines find all your pages.

Search engine crawlers are now very sophisticated, but it never hurts to make sure they index only the pages you want them to, and ignore the ones you don’t. Here is how to do it:

  1. Implement a sitemap: A sitemap provides crawlers with a hierarchy of pages within your site and enables crawlers to find them. This is especially useful for sites that use Flash or other plugins that have links embedded in them and might be invisible to the crawlers.
  2. Robots.txt Is another good tool for shaping search engine spider traffic. By utilizing the robots.txt file you are able to close off whole sections of the site from the search engine index.

4 Mobile Visibility

Ensure the end user can see your work.

Avoid plugins.

Many sites have been built using Flash, JavaScript menus, and other plugins which not only hide information from search engine crawlers but also cannot be rendered on mobile devices. These should be removed in favor of HTML constructs which do the same work, but can be rendered on mobile devices.

5 Responsive Web Design (RWD) and legibility

RWD means your website dynamically adapts to the format of the viewer’s device, whether it is a desktop or a smartphone. Your website must be responsive, or else you’ll risk losing out in SEO results. Other key factors to take into consideration when developing your RWD website are:

  1. Choose appropriate font size to ensure high legibility of the text
  2. Ensure the layout will fit and fill only the visible area of a mobile device

Page Speed

Page Speed is increasingly important in Google’s search algorithms. However, the term is unfortunate because it does not refer to and does not measure the time it takes to load a page. Instead, Page Speed is a measure of the application of web optimization rules and HTML rendering on mobile and desktop browsers. If that means nothing to you, don’t worry. All you really need to know is that the higher the score of your website, the better. To test your page speed metrics:

  • Navigate to Google Page Speed nd type in your page URL. Google will calculate your score and will then tell your web design team how to improve it. Test your site speed >

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Author image: Joshua Goldfein
About the author

Joshua Goldfein is the Founder of WPHelp Center and CEO of Mercury Digital Agency. Joshua has over 15 years of experience helping businesses the world over strengthen their digital brands and improve customer experience.

Joshua Goldfein CEO / Founder mercury creative