On Thursday I posted the second part of my SEO Tips (meta tags) . This is the third blog in this series about SEO, and I hope by the end I will have covered most of the bases, though clearly not all! as they are ever changing and I like to keep some secrets for my consultation clients (as premium content). There will be several appendices of this series following in short suit of this blog. SEO Tips Series - Read them here
After my recent postings I have been approached by several people asking about accessibility and how does it link to SEO, as they don't quite understand what I meant when I said this in my first blog that they go hand-in-hand. By hand-in-hand I mean that if you make a site accessible (as per the content) then you will make the site accessible to Search Engines (SE's). This will mean content easy to read, follow, and be read aloud, it will mean images have alt-tags and that links will have title tags and meaningful keywords attached (not click here!). This also helps because if people can get access to your site they are more likely to not only recommend your site but maybe become a client. Hope that clears it up, and also reasons to make a site accessible. Also there will be a blog series on accessibility soon
More for your internal workings
URL's - SEO friendly URL's are helpful for (believe it or not as the name suggests) SE's. This is where the likes of index.php?page=1&model=2 becomes /pagetitle/modelname. From this it is clear to see how it helps SE's because you now have a more descriptive URL for your pages. But how to do this. Well if you have wordpress, there is setting for this. If not research .htaccess files and in particular mod_rewrite functions, they are quite easy once you get used to them.
If you can't use .htaccess for whatever reason simply use directly relate directory names and file names, not useless rubbish like page1.html instead use aboutcars.html etc.
Sitemaps - This is a fantastic tool for showing google what is on your site and where. You need to submit them to google and other SE's for the best results. a simple search on google for sitemaps will bring up automatic generators if you cant make one yourself. though be careful some give the same priority to all pages, not the best of ideas.
So moving on to todays topic External Opportunities
Link Building - This in general is one of the more important features of SEO work, getting a site "good, reliable and continual growth links" is very hard work, but the more you get of these links the more SE's will rank you. If you get recommended by a website (for example BoagWorld, TWiT or Silicon [for web industry people]) SE's will take you more seriously and rank you better than if you, say, just have links from your friends unrelated site, the same applies to blogs. A good way to make these links is to offer a link exchange, though only do this with relevant sites, even offer to just have their link on for a while. If a site has a forum, talk in there, comment wisely but do not blatantly plug your website. build a reputation for being a good person and company then link, they will ban you for spamming, if you do spam! and you will instinctively if your not careful. Finally remember these are references, almost as good as word of mouth, have a good reference and a visitor to a site becomes a client of your company. Further to this it is important to know that you are better to have a link from one site with a page rank of 5 or above than several with a rank of 1.
Social Bookmarking / Networking - Although not as important for most sites, SB/SN is something that is become more and more important as the Internet continues to grow at a hugely under-estimated rate. If a site is Dugg (by digg.com), Stumbled (by stumbleupon.com), Red (by reddit) or Flurked (by flurk.net*), on a regular basis it will grow a ranking within these communities and more people will visit, your site will get known for being a great site and highly recommended by Internet users. However again these sites are tough on spam. Getting friends to help is a good way to avoid being seen as a spammer, the server see's a new ip and knows its not you (or should i say thinks)....proxy is another way but this is black hat so i don't suggest it. Further to the above sites that allow microblogging such as TWITTER (twitter.com/andykinsey) allow for blatant spamming, but if you are good, update a few times a day or week you will gain momentum and following (like a blog) and people will follow you and visit your recommended sites. Just looking at some of my recent twitters i should really stop blatant self promotion, but i wont because i know SE's like these sites (twitter and SN's).
Word of Mouth - this is the most important part of any SEO effort, believe it or not. If your site is recommend by a person by talking it will stick in the human brain more than if you just get linked to a site, its why podcasts do so well (in general). Talking is a great tool, so use it, go to meet ups for your industry make friends with everyone and become the envy of everyone as you get their work. more to come on network meetings soon.
Business Cards - This is one of the final/first chances you will have to make an impression, good business cards sell you and everything about you and your company. Having a good business card is a key weapon in beating your competition.
Finally - (well almost) - ensure you submit your sites to every directory and search engine you can (beware some cost money like yahoo directory, but their SE is free).
so heres what you have been waiting for... the overall summary, and i can finally release myself from my blog writing for this series, at least until your questions pile in again to adminatandykinsey.com Andys SEO tips are: