I read a post today from someone who’s experienced the frustration of focusing on the Search Engines for their website traffic.
The problem is – the search engines keep changing their algorithms in order to improve the relevance of their results and to block loopholes the black-hatters find. And this can really blow your search engine rankings.
I had the same experience 18 months ago when I was depending on PPC via Adwords for my traffic: the Adwords algorithms were changed every couple of months (or more frequently) which often screwed up my campaigns. Extremely frustrating.
So I stopped relying on Adwords and looked for other ways of getting traffic. And gradually my traffic is building up and remaining consistent – meaning that it’s resistant to changes in the search engine algorithms.
Although I’m by no means an SEO wizard, I now follow 10 basic rules for every site I put up. Here they are:
- Complete all your META tags – individually for each page. More details here
- Create a sitemap and submit it to Google. Remember to create and submit a new one each time you add or remove a page
- Use your H1 and H2 tags properly and include your keywords or closely related words in each
- Avoid flash and scripts as far as possible
- Use CSS with an external stylesheet
- Run a PHP based RSS feed on an ‘articles’ or ‘news’ page – making sure the content it pulls in is totally relevant. (PHP based because the SE’s can read it – they can’t read java based ones)
- For every image link also include a text link with good anchor text
- Complete an ‘alt’ tag for every image, describing what the image is depicting.
- Link to your site from wherever possible (Squidoo, Hubpages, your blogs, profiles on the Social sites, etc) as long as the links are relevant
- Write well-written, well-presented, well-researched and detailed articles.
For a new site I sometimes set up a small PPC campaign to get things going but once I’m getting the same amount of traffic from the natural search results as from the PPC I ditch the PPC campaign.