I found this article and wanted to share it with the group. SEO is something that should be near and dear to every bloggers heart and Bhaskar has written a good quick and dirty guide to it.
The Ten Commandments of Search Engine Optimization
By Bhaskar Thakur (c) 2008 - in Site Pro News
Most of the time when we pitch to a new client we are asked for SEO guarantees. "Your competition has guaranteed top results and submission to 100,000 Search Engines and Directories". We go all out educating clients that Search Engine Optimization is all about smart work and not just adding random keywords and submittíng to every directory possible. I'm writing this article to reach out to the SEO buyers and help them distinguish the crooks from the genuine SEO cos. I've compiled my Search marketing experience over the years in this article. I hope this helps you in selecting your Search Marketing initiative.
Commandment 1: There are No Rank Guarantees. (Period)
Search Engines alone control their indexing and ranking algorithm. Do not try to trick Search Engines. The only way to improve your search engine rank is by playing by the rules. And the rule is very simple: make it logical. Web content is primarily for the site visitor and not crawlers.
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If your Search Engine Optimizer sold you magic "Top rank on Google in 10 days flat". Forget it. There are no short cuts. Top ranking in Search Engine Natural Results will take time. Hard work is imperative especially in developing the content on your website and the links to your site.
Commandment 2: Ranking is Not the End, It's the Means.
Ask yourself what will a top search engine rank get you? Most businesses are interested in increasing sales on a website or at the least driving qualified traffic. Ranking for the right keywords (keywords used by your target audience) is important. There are SEOs who will try to show case results for keywords that occur only on your website. Beware such gimmicks.
Commandment 3: Know Your Competition.
"Rank" is relative position and more so in the Search Engines' natural results. How well you do in the search engine results is a function of how much hard work you have done in relation to your competition. Analyze your competition's keywords, links, keyword density and spread, but be sure not to copy your competition.
Commandment 4: Use Search Engine Friendly Design.
A search and visitor friendly design is a must for any successful website. Your website should be compelling enough for repeat visits by search engines and potential customers. Make sure you have search engine friendly URLs and avoid those long URLs with query strings.
Commandment 5: Select Keywords that are Worthy.
You must research your keywords before targeting. There are tools that give you a good idea of a keyword's search potential for example. It is important to know the number of searches for a keyword in the last month, last 6 months and last year. You should also find out the number of web pages that are targeting the keyword. It is advisable to start a campaign with keywords with moderate competition and a high number of searches.
Commandment 6: Write Great Content.
Even if your website site is technically perfect for search engine robots, it won't do you any good unless you also fill it with great content. Great means it has contextual and editorial value. Great content brings repeat visits and increases the chance of conversion. Great content is factual and appeals to your target audience. Your web page should have your desired action embedded in the content and you must ensure that the content is fresh. Keep adding and editing content regularly.
Commandment 7: Use Good Hyper Linking Strategy.
Hyperlinks make your content accessible and contextual. You must hyperlink in the right context within the website and to other websites. Good links are appreciated by the Search Engines and by visitors. No one likes to be taken to a mall selling "Macintosh" when shopping for "apples".
Commandment 8: Write Relevant and Original Meta Content.
Meta content is like a business card. Just as your business card tells who you are and what you do, Meta content tells the search engines the relevance and context of a web page. Resist the temptation to include everything in the Meta content, but make it detailed. Confused? The idea is to include only what is relevant to the page in the Meta Content but to include everything that is relevant.
Commandment 9: Acquire Relevant Links.
The links you acquire are the roads to your web page for search engine bots and visitors. Good links improve your webpage's equity on the World Wide Web and bad links make a dent in your equity and credibility. Be selective in reciprocal linking. Both reciprocal and one way links work, if you are prudent in selecting the links. Submit your website to the relevant sections in relevant directories.
Commandment 10: Consult Experts, If You Need To.
If you have the competence, there are two ways to learn - learning from your mistakes and learning from others' experience. You can choose either. If you have the time and can wait for the online dollars, do it yourself. If you want to get started now, it may be useful to consult the experts.