It should go without saying that there are a lot more variables that go into Google’s organic algorithm. Most small companies, however, don’t have the ability to focus on many of the intricacies of SEO like the big firms do. In steps the 80/20 rule – do 80% of the product in 20% of the time. With that in mind, here are some of the top factors you should consider when producing web content:
- Title Tag – Here’s your chance to sell your company in 160 characters or less – choose wisely. Your title should be accurate but not jammed with keywords. Remember, sometimes less is more. Using TripAdvisor.com as an example (Go Steve-O & Reed!) the index page’s title is simply, “Hotels and Vacation Reviews – TripAdvisor”. That’s only 41 characters which tells Google to those are very important terms. Google, in turn, weighs them as such and gives them a very high relevancy.
- Good content – It sounds simple but having good, unique, and relevant content on your site is one of the most important SEO factors out there. Content “newness” is also a topic frequently discussed but never understood. Keep your site up to date with your industry trends and product information. Google spokesman, Matt Cutts, is asked to weigh in on the issue and says (in part), “great content has to be the foundation of any good site.”
- Keyword Focused Anchor Text Links – This one is tough for small businesses but is something to be aware of. Google looks at the anchor text of links pointing to your site. If you only sell 1999 baseball cards and somebody has a link to your site over the text, “1999 baseball cards” than it will hold more value in Google’s eyes than if they simply wrote, “click here”. The additional text helps reinforce what your site is about. Similarly, link quantity and quality (links from well known and trusted sites) also play a part.
Items not to worry about –
- Keyword use in the META keywords tag – This might be the most over-rated practice by small business owners. There are numerous articles discussing the irrelevancy of keyword tags – and for good reason, they’re essentially hidden text (without the negative penalty). Google has realized that keyword tags are simply too easy to falsify and have, therefore, all but abandoned them. Google verifies, “basically not at all”.
- Keyword use in the Meta description – Write it like ad text, not a term list. It should be accurately descriptive of your site. Remember that Google tracks user actions so that back button can work against you. [Google’s take on it.]
- Nofollow tags – As Professor Matt Cutts has stated, Google simply doesn’t use them.
Want even more information? Definitely subscribe to Google’s YouTube channel, “Google Webmaster Help” and specifically, Matt Cutts’ SMX West Presentation where he offers a lot of great, easy to implement tips. They publish some great content for quick tips and official information. SEOMoz has a nice piece on all search ranking factors, as reviewed and weighed by industry experts. Check it out at SEOMoz.org.