Do's and don'ts of SEO and Internet Marketing.
You've heard this one before: there'sgood news and bad news.
The good news is that this “manual”is tried and tested in real life, by myself, and it costs little, butworks.
The bad news, is that not all of itnecessarily works all the time and everywhere, not to mention thefact that search engine algorithms are constantly updated.
Do #1. The first “DO” is, in myhumble opinion, the most important one, and that is providing qualitycontent. Not only is good content quintessential to comply withsearch engine algorithms demands, it is also becoming more and moreimportant to do what you can to keep your visitors' interest,persuade them to stay and entice them to buy.
Don't #1. The most important trap toavoid, is trying to “outsmart” search engine engineers. Blackhatas well as questionable tactics that are “allowed” today, aremost likely to lose their function sooner or later. A decade or soago, knowing how to manipulate metatags was usually all it took toget your site on page 1. Metatags went out, keyword stuffing came in.Keyword stuffing went, linkbuilding came in.
Search engines are big business if notto say mega business. The market leader took the route of making theuser experience top priority, combined with being “whiter thanwhite”. Because the world's best talent thinks that is the wayforward. This means that the hunt is open on any method that bumpslow quality sites over sites with lots of helpful, useful andoriginal content. Other providers are bound to follow.
Do #2. Learn and evolve. A wise (andrich) marketing guru once said: the best time to change your campaignis when you have reached number 1. The world changes, your customerschange, your competition changes. What is new today, is old hattomorrow.
Don't #2. Never rely on what “alwaysworked”; in (internet) marketing, yesterday is a long time ago.
Do #3. Vary. Some people want details,others the big picture. Some want to read about it, some want to seewhat it looks like. Some want to study it for weeks, some want aneasy way to buy it. Who is right? They all are. Make sure that youoffer the subject in many different ways. This applies to themarketing itself as much as to seo.
Don't #3 follows directly from do #4;avoid at all cost being rigid. That doesn't mean you are not theforemost expert on your product or service, you must stand behindwhat you offer. Just realise that you may think colour doesn't matterbecause it doesn't change how your product works, but I don't likeblue, I want a green one. The same goes for the form in which youpresent your site.
Do #4. Compare, choose and combine. Usedifferent tactics and various methods. Learn from different sources,both in terms of from whom as in how.
Don't #4. Do not put all your eggs inone basket, even if there is a seemingly clear method that is best.Even if it works today, it only takes one algorithm to change and youare instantly bumped from page 1 to page 10.
Do #5. Make sure that your strategymatches your market. My first site was aimed at a specificgeographic area, very local; HALF of a 10 mile circle. The less Iget called from the other half of the circle or any outside thecircle, the better. That requires a totally different strategy fromthat for a whole state, let alone global.
Don't #5. Just forget about wanting itall or aiming for everybody. If you sell rubber balls, don't addplastic squares and latex triangles just because one in a hundredbuyer may want plastic square instead of a rubber ball.
Do #6. It's a classic in traditionalmarketing, and it is just as important in seo/internet marketing: aUSP. The Unique Selling Proposition is what sets you apart from therest: the reason why people should buy from you rather than from me.Your website needs a USP as well, both in structure and in looks.
Don't #6 follows directly from Do #6;don't be like all the other drones. If you are/look like all therest, you will be competing with all the rest. That means that thevisitor will probably have only one reason to buy from you: you arethe cheapest because you earn the least. Give the visitors somethingof real interest, and they will stay longer, come back more often andbuy from you.
Do #7 Evaluate on a regular basis toverify that your site's aims are being achieved and going in theright direction. Google and Bing as market leaders offer tracking andanalytics tools that are pretty good and free of charge, use them.
Don't #7. Analytics are great to checkthat you (and your site) are on track, but there is little point inspending more time on analytics and tracking than on your actualsite/seo/marketing. It's a tool, not a goal.
Do #8. Be neat. Structure, organise,check for typos as well as coding errors and avoid adding things thatare pointless both in code and visible text/images.
Don't #8. Adding and updating is good,but limitless expansion for the sake of, is not. It is easy to lookat a page that you haven't worked on for a while, spot something thatis missing, and add it. Do that 5 times, and the page is bound to bea mess. Your visitors won't like it, and neither will Google.
Do #9. Ask them. Ask yourvisitors what they liked and what they you can add. Ask them to name1 thing, just 1, that they didn't like. Ask your customers what theyliked and didn't like about your site. Ask them all, expert users andfirst time visitors, kids and pensioners. These are the people thatpull their wallet/credit card and provide you with an income; theiropinion is worth more than the world's leading marketing guru.
Don't #9 is simply the opposite ofthis: don't limit yourself to statistics, analytics, graphsand research software only; good and helpful as they may be, they areonly theory and hypothetical options.
Do #10. Last, but certainly not least.If you want to make more of your site, improve your seo, increaseyour visitor numbers, your through clicks and all those other thingsthat help your site rank well, but you are not a professional SEOexpert, check out David Amerland. Read his books, or better buy themso you can read them again, visit his website and read his blog. Heis a proven expert and he writes in plain English for people like youand me.
And it works. Probably half, if notmore, of all I have learned (and successfully applied) about SEO andinternet marketing, comes from this single source. A number of pagesfrom my site for dozens of keywords come up #1 and more than halfranks on page 1, and all that achieved with an almost zero SEObudget.
Don't #10. You guessed it, do NOT skipDavid's work.
10B. Keep visiting Sitepoint, but youprobably knew that already.