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Crash course on SEO and driving traffic to your site

Posted by derekbobo on May 6, 2009

I just wanted to do a quick post on some ways that will help you drive more traffic to your site. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should help get you started. I’ll start out with how to structure your HTML and content and then talk about some strategies that encourage users to visit your site.

  1. Let’s start with a doc type. I’m obviously going to suggest a strict doctype but that may not always be easy to pull off. Search engines like well valid/standards compliant code.
  2. Each page in your site should have a unique title. If you can get an exact name match on the search terms that you expect users to use then this will significantly help your rankings.
  3. Keywords and description  metadata (in the head section) are not nearly as heavily weighted as they once were, but they are still a good to include. Don’t go over the top here or it can have an inverse impact.
  4. In  your HTML include relevant keywords for the alt attribute on images, and for titles. Make them relevant to your content and do not just include buzz words.
  5. The content higher up on your page is usually considered more important because users are most likely to see it. If you have content that needs to be displayed lower on the page consider writing it higher on the page and then using divs to actually present it lower on the page. The search engines won’t know that it’s displayed lower and may weigh this content heavier.
  6. Your header tags h1, h2, h3, etc will have a higher priority than p tags. Have your keywords appear in heading tags where it makes sense.
  7. Write tasteful content. At the end of the day there is no substitute for good content on your site. Not only do search engines like it but your users are going to enjoy it more as well. If you give the users a a reason to visit your site they will keep coming back. Their hits alone will help you generate a better page rank.
  8. Consider adding a site description footer on your sites. I personally don’t care for the “tag clouds” you see these days, so I always try to make my descriptions flow. This is basically just a short paragraph description of your overall message or offering. It’s another opportunity to duplicate some key words and messages that your users may be searching you on.
  9. Once you’ve adhered to some of the best practices you want to start pushing users to your site. Include a link to your website in the signature of your email, put your website in your signature line on forums and blogs, etc. You can also create a link back from your MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking site.The only thing I will caution on this is to make sure you’re not just making posts to drive traffic to your site or it can have an inverse effect. Make comments that are on topic and contribute to the conversations going on. If you add a compelling though users will be more inclined to check YOU out by clicking to see your website.
  10. If your site is a blog or some other sort of site with dynamic content you might also consider adding it to social bookmarking sites and feed readers. If a topic comes across a feed as something that interests the users they’ll be more likely to check this out.

These are just some ideas and by no means constitute as an end all be all strategy. I hope they help out and if you have any additional items to add please feel free to share.

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