SEO Best Practices: Do’s and Don’ts

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Search engines are frequently developing and improving their already intricate ranking systems for websites.

The two most important reasons for this are A: To ensure the most efficient, user-friendly web experience and B:  To prevent webmaster manipulation on SERP’s (search engine results pages).

Whereas in the past, webmasters had more influence in these regards—monitoring websites for deceitful practice was based on an antiquated system allowing webmasters the power to distort details such as meta-tags, index files and so forth in an aim to up their site’s rank. In doing so, users grew dissatisfied with search engines, as the resulting webpages were completely irrelevant to their search terms.

Fortunately, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have become considerably wiser. Crawling websites regularly for inspection, search engines use an algorithmic process that checks meta-tags, page content for irrelevant and over-use of keywords (keyword stuffing) as well as other such manipulations.

SEO tactics have evolved to sync accordingly; certain practices have proven more safe, savvy and sensible than others. Gearing Search Engine Optimizers toward legitimately increasing page rank, policies surrounding this field are made available through Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Although the rules are within reach, some in this field still refuse to abide by them—a slippery effort for quick results.  Yet in the long run, such acts prove fruitless and quite possibly detrimental to your brand. In fact, even websites of some pretty prominent companies have been either penalized or removed from SERP listings all together, due to guideline violations.

SEO is a long-term process. Gaining a higher page rank that is also durable—improving your website’s visibility via SERPs takes knowledge, understanding, patience and analysis, only to be acquired through practicing wholesome tactics in favor of the user.

What follows is an outline of effective, authentic SEO methods and their inadequate counter-practices:

DON’T BE A SUBMISSION –CYBORG

Relentlessly submitting your domain/ page link to directories and articles to websites, even if your site/article lacks relevancy.

DO DETERMINE WITH DILIGENCE: Submit your website to relative directories (local directories in your area, for example). Articles for submission should be sent to websites with similar content and high authority.

REASON: Low-quality articles are detrimental to your online reputation. Users want relative, enticing content. In the same way, adding your site to an insignificant directory is impractical.

DON’T BE A KEYWORD CORNUCOPIA

Keyword stuffing; persistent repetition a certain keyword on a webpage in effort to improve searchability.

DO CHOOSE WORTHY WORDS: Use keywords and phrases that accurately represent your website. This is far more attractive to users than repeating the same word multiple times. It differentiates high quality from low quality websites.

REASON: Not only do search engines disapprove this practice, but it also makes for poor brand image—redundancy and repetition devalues content.

DON’T BUY OR EXCHANGE EXTRANEOUSLY

Link-exchanging; Link-buying; Buying and/or exchanging links with unsuitable websites.

DO REMAIN GERMANE, GENUINE: Guest blog on content-relevant websites. Earn your link in a sincere manner. Craft new, quality content on your brand’s website. Include educational information, interactive videos and graphics that truly appeal to your audience/customers.

REASON: Short cuts are some of the easiest ways to get penalized/removed by search engines. Crawlers uncover links between mismatched sites, and once they notice such malpractice, the success of your brand will decrease significantly.

DON’T PRACTICE SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION

Posting numerous comments on a variety of review sites, blogs and the likes for the sole purpose of gaining a link back to your company’s website.

DO BE-FRIEND BLOGGERS: Only comment on  websites that fit your brand’s image. Show interest by thoroughly reading about the blogger, their posts, etc.

REASON: Shameless self-promotion is both annoying and blatantly ignores SEO guidelines. Your brand’s reliability is discredited as a result, as bloggers lose their respect and may even give your company bad press.

Seema Shariat is the Digital Marketing Analyst for the Imagemme New York City office.

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