Tips & Tricks for Search Engine Optimization

By Curtis Dicken

Introduction

In Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Getting Started we explored the basic concepts of search engine optimization. We'll now take the next step and look at some of the best tips and tricks to improve your rankings even more. If you are new to search engine optimization we encourage you to read Part 1 in order to familiarize yourself with the meta tags, titles, keywords and descriptions before delving into these topics.

More is not always better

If you've done any kind of search engine optimization you've probably had the "What if…" conversation with yourself. For example, "What if I repeat my page description using my important keywords in different ways?" This results in descriptions like "Curious about search engine optimization (SE0)? We are all about search engine optimization (SE0). We give you search engine optimization (SE0) ideas. We also have search engine optimization (SE0) tricks. We know about search engine optimization (SE0)." Lovely to read and incredibly informative isn't it?

The fact is that this type of mind numbing repetition will probably not improve your rankings one bit. When optimizing there is one cardinal rule:

  1. 1. Never try to "trick" a search engine because it's probably already been tried.

Search engines employ thousands of brilliant minds and they know how to filter out the tricks. In fact, using little tricks can often lower your rank or in some cases get you banned completely. The bottom line is that it is just not worth the effort or the risk

The power of the link

We've all done it - "Click here for details". It works and if the viewer reads the preceding content it makes perfect sense. However, from a search engine's perspective it makes no sense at all. The search engine ties the words "click" and "here" to the content of the destination page instead of relevant keywords that pertain to the destination page.

When creating anchor links always try to compose the wording in the anchor to contain keywords relevant to the destination page. A well constructed anchor to this article would look something like:

  <a href="thisPage.html">Learn more about Search Engine Optimization</a>

The <H1> factor

It may sound outdated but <H1> tags still have some relevance when it comes to search engine optimization. The simple logic, according to search engines, is that if the words are bigger they must be more important. This is basically a holdover from the early days of the internet and internet search engines. With the now widespread use of CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) it seems like this type of optimization would have been phased out long ago but it still has relevance with most search engines.

Now, does that mean I should use <H1> tags around all my body content and define H1 in my style sheet as content sized text? Absolutely not. Again, that is one of those tricks that search engines have already thought of and this type of practice will not benefit you in the least. Your best bet is to use <H1> tags logically on your page and define the style as larger text within your style theme.

For some of you this will mean redefining your styles and page content to use the H1 style defnition instead of a custom style like "ContentHeader" that you have already defined and implemented. If you have a large site to optimize this can seem like a daunting task. In those cases I suggest you simply duplicate your custom style with a H1 style definition and then slowly change your content over time as it makes sense with your optimization goals.

Now, your next question is likely to be "Is this worth the effort?" That's the big question. As I have stated before, all search engines give different weight to different factors and no two engines are exactly the same. It's up to you to determine if the reward is worth the effort. My suggestion is that you set up an H1 style and test it out on about 10 pages then see how much it makes a difference before committing to a complete overhaul of your website.




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