SEO is Easy if you Study

It was the first half of the 1980s and classes were done for the day, I was a member of the cross-country team and practice for the day had not yet started and we were chatting up with some classmates who were getting ready for football practice.

One fellow was talking about how hard geometry class was. I was in the class at the time and I exclaimed it was easy if you studied and did the homework. The fellow who was griping retorted back Of course it is easy if you study obviously, the guy did not want to put any effort into it.

The constant chant of advice Google gives on SEO is similar. Create good content and good user experience and your SEO follows!

That is the same as my advice to study However, like my HS friend, many people do not want to do the work required to obtain good search engine placement. Instead, they dream up or follow black (or at best gray) hat tricks to fool the search engines to ranking their stuff higher than it is worth.

For instance, I had a friend tell me about cloaking. What is cloaking? Cloaking is the practice of placing content, normally invisible to people but not search engines, into a webpage. One way to implement such a scheme is to make the cloaked text’s font size very small and the text’s color identical to the page’s background color. I thought about that, but never implemented any such tactics on any of my websites.

Another trick is intentionally misspelling keywords, especially those subject to misspelling. I notice frequent visits from misspelled keyword searches and sure enough, I misspelled the keyword on my page. Rest assured though, such misspellings are not intentional and I usually go back and correct the misspellings. Still, I bet a few people out there work intentional misspellings (they might even cloak them too) into their material in order to pick up on that traffic.

One last annoyance I have is syndication. There is a fine line here, as there is good syndication and bad syndication. For example, the last couple of weeks I have seen various articles talking about ski safety. However, they are only various articles to the Google alerts I get, they are just the same article appearing on different websites. No variation, same material verbatim and they occur on generally the same sort of websites and those are the various publicly accessible knowledge base sites. I don’t know exactly how that works, but I can imagine it is one author spreading his/her work to as many sites as possible, or perhaps these knowledge base sites do this amongst themselves or are controlled by a single entity?

Good SEO requires a few disciplines though. Remember, web browsers spiders/robots are computer programs and need good clean HTML & CSS to work with. They will struggle to understand pages littered with code errors.

Use clean and plain titles for your site and your material, be cute only if it does not obscure what your post is about. I was initially thinking of titling my Columbia Omni-Heat jacket review I Need a New Facebook Profile Picture . The jacket does drive a need for a new Facebook profile picture, such a title gives no clue to potential readers as to what the post is about let alone search engines. Fortunately, I caught myself and that post is getting regular search engine traffic.

Use social networking to promote your site. Get your stuff cross-posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. Aim for quality friends and followers not quantity. If your site is about South American cooking make sure you are following and are followed by others interested in South American cooking, that person who displays interest only in Inuit cooking will add to your follower/friend count, but probably not be very interested in your content.

In addition to garnering quality social networking friends & followers take the time to personally interact with them. Do not treat your social networking channels as write only but instead read the pieces put out by your friends and followers, and reach out to them in such a manner they know you are not a real live person with similar interests.

Other helpful hints.Take the time to write well. Despite the possible good side effects of misspellings make sure your post would make your high school teacher proud of their efforts. Think about making the site as painless for the user, in terms of speed and navigation.

Yes, this site does fall short in a couple of these areas, but after some priority things are cleared out of my task queue, I’ll be addressing them.

Good Stuff!

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