Well it seems we are getting some fresh blood here lately in the WPW which is a great sign of the forum growth. I think some of the recent posts on WPW are pointing to the need for Newbie thread. I have usually pointed people to the HR newbie thread but I think we could create a useful one here.
I was thinking this thread could serve as great starting point for a recommendations on newbie thread. So if you have a few things that you would tell newbie to do to get kick started in SEO what would it be?
Here are mine:
1. Internal Navigation
2. Why Are you The Best?
Maybe the 2nd most important item in marketing your website online is setting yourself apart. If your just another website that offers DVDs (or whatever) online for the same price as BMG, Best Buy, etc what makes your website better? The internet is network of interesting content, products and services. You must make you content, products and services stand out above the rest. How you do that is another story all together.
OK in a perfect world you could make a great website with awesome content and it would rank fine. Our world is hardly perfect and the search engines not even close. The search engine will more than likely use some sort of linking weight in their algorithm, so after you build this great website, let the world know. Contribute in blogs, forums, messages boards relating to your website. Write articles. Contribute to the internet. Become an authority on what your website deals in and before you know it you will be getting those one-way links without even asking for them. This is truly the link you want. Remember their are no short term link building strategies, that work long term.
a) OK obviously you cant just have a website made up of images and one sentences on each page. Text is the meat that those search engines love to cook and grub on. The more relevant text you can write on each page the better it is for the search engines and the better it is for your end users. One thing to remember here is not to squeeze to many subjects onto one page. Break pages out as much as possible. Check out this example:
What a great page full of great content, but much different content. The search engines rarely associate many keyword combinations to one page. So break it down for them. Each of the caring tips for the orchids should be broken down into its own page and expanded on even more.
b) I think a second point to consider when writing content is natural langue queries, personalization and local search. these will be the future of the search engine algorithm, so consider them when writing.
c) I will tell you right now. If you don't have a blog create one now. Blogs mean easy in-bound links to you, fresh content, and are easy to crawl, nuff said.
5. Title Tags
Another no-brainer. Looking at the example above, the website owner is not using unique title tags one each page. You must have this throughout your website.
Sure we have heard all kinds of confusing horror stories on content duplication. Sure you want to avoid doing it, but I have yet to see Google or other search engines actual penalize for it. What the search engines do is rank one page over another and yes sometimes if they find a duplicate they will toss it in the supplemental index. If you call that a penalty fine, but I call it Google choosing one version to rank over another. Make sure you provide them with only one to rank! Also if you write an article just make sure to publish it on your website and WAIT a couple of weeks and then syndicate it. it will give the search engines time to associate you as the author/owner of it.
Please recognize who your competitors are. If you are going head to head with websites that have been online for years and maybe even decades then you should realize your SEO battle will be uphill and difficult.
If you are on a shoe-string budget or just have been burned by SEO's in the past and don't want to invest more money into now, this is OK. But please understand the leg work is now on you. Only expect "high-level" ideas and recommendations from forums. The best thing to do is to dive in and do the work yourself with the support of the forum. Don't rely on the forum as cure for your website marketing sickness, but rather a antibiotic that works within your body to heal.
You better do it! If you don't know if your website is making you money, then who cares if it is optimized. Who cares if it is ranking? Who cares what Google PR it is? Two hundred #1 rankings mean nothing if you not making money off of them. That mind set is important. If you not tracking leads/sales then start now.
How long have you been online? Less than a year? More then 5 years? This makes an ENORMOUS difference. I don't care what anyone says. The longer you have been online the more likely you are to have good results. If you still don't have good results and you have been online for a while, don't fret. Your fixes should be take hold quicker in the search engines once you make them.
11. Code Bloat/Download Time
12. One Change At Time
Sometimes even minor fixes of one of the concepts above is enough to make the jumps you target in the search engines. Take your time and evaluate changes one at time. Changing to many things at once can cause "Chasing Your Tail Syndrome"
These are just a few off the top of my head. I sure some other super members of WPW will have more.