Search engine optimization, "seo", is a much-debated topic and there is a lot of misinformation on the net. Let's cut through the muck and discuss seo dos and donts.
SEO Dos and Donts
Before blasting into the dos and donts, we need to define seo. Seo simply refers to the manipulation of a site to gain top rankings on the three search engines that dominate the search traffic on the net - Yahoo, Google and MSN. If you do a search on Google, the seo listings are found in the large section on the left hand side of the page. Top rankings through seo are often called "organic rankings."
The first seo do is to the most basic and the one we find the biggest mistakes in. Pick the correct keywords for your site! The correct keywords are not what you personally think based on your knowledge of your service or product. They are not the phrases returned in the Overture inventory tool, an inaccurate tool if ever there was one. The only place you will find the exact keyword phrases you should use are in Wordtracker. The site gives you an analytical tool that provides the exact keyword phrases being used by your prospects, how often they are being used and which are easiest to get high rankings on. It costs a whopping $8 for a single session, but you'll want to get a year subscription so you can pick up different cycles of keywords. Your prospects will search for different things in summer compared to winter.
The second seo do is the isolation keyword strategy. Many people will try to cram as many keywords into a page as possible. Many seo gurus suggest a keyword total of 10 to 15 words. This is an old approach that works, but it will take much longer to get high rankings. Instead, you should develop a list of as many keyword phrases as possible. A single page should be made for each keyword phrase. For instance, the keyword phrase for this page is "seo dos and donts". The page is devoted solely to this phrase, as are the meta tags. You should never have to pick one keyword phrase instead of another for your site. Instead, you should make individual pages for each phrase.
A third seo do is the structure of the top and bottom of the page. The page should always start off with your keyword phrase as a heading. The first paragraph of text should incorporate your keyword phrase and the paragraph should also be your meta description. Following the first paragraph, you should list a bold subtitle of the exact keyword. Finally, the last paragraph of text on the page should also incorporate your keyword phrase as Yahoo tends to read it for some bizarre reason. You can see an example of this approach by analyzing this page.
A major fourth seo do is interlinking. The links from one page of your site to another matter a lot. When you create a link, make sure the link is the anchor text for the page the prospect will be going to. Anchor text is simply the keyword phrase on that page. If you look at the bottom of this page, you will see such a link going to our "search engine optimization" page.
Seo donts are a dime a dozen. Don't put your site name in your meta title, the search engines will list you high without it. Don't skimp on text, you need at least 250 words per page. Don't put database parameters in your urls because spiders have problems reading them. Stay away from flash as much as possible for the same reason. Stick to a single subject per page, don't wonder around like a drunken web designer! For the love of God, don't use frames. Finally, keep your html code streamlined so search engines can read it with ease.
The list of seo dos and donts is nearly endless. Follow these simple steps, however, and you will see marked improvement in your seo rankings.