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Darren Chow is a full time writer, web developer, and Internet marketer. He graduated from the National University of Singapore and started dabbling in web design while still studying. Today, he spends his time writing for established websites and promoting websites for clients.
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Add cool and useful content and the search engines will love your site and send you lots of visitors. True or false?

You can test this hypothesis out for yourself. Chances are, you will find yourself spending loads of time writing content, but no one is reading those high quality 100% original articles?

Why? Because for search engines to index and rank your site, you have to play by the rules. If you break the rules, you risk being penalized and in the worst case scenario, your site may be banned and removed from the search index.

Over the years, I see SEO as a subject that has been over-thought. It has been made complex by gurus, and there is a lot of guesswork and speculation as to what works and what doesn’t.

The rules of SEO are actually quite simple.

Here are 3 golden rules that you should observe.

1) Positive experience – that means you have to spend time making your site look nice for web visitors. If you don’t have a flair for design, you can try publishing top notch content to try and compensate. But having a professional looking site will give you an edge.

Providing a positive experience also means that your content should be relevant to the search keywords. Search engines are forever trying to guess what the searcher is looking for. Your responsibility, as the publisher, is to give the user what he or she is looking for.

For instance, if the blogging searches for “blogging software”, and your page lists the best free open source blogging platforms, then you stand a good chance of getting ranked high in the search results. Better still, if you are the developer of the software and yours is the official download site, you stand an even better chance of ranking well.

 

2) Easy navigation – Navigation should be intuitive and content should be easy to find. Usually, most CMS will do the trick (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, etc). Avoid using messy Javascripts or Flash navigation menu.

 

3) Spot on on-page SEO – I find that for most niches, after so many years, many webmasters still don’t know how to perform on-page SEO properly. This is what this post is all about.

On-Page SEO Fundamentals

Post title: Avoid run-on titles that exceed 60 characters. Use your primary keywords within your main titles. If you have to use a run-on sentence as a title, use a plugin to create a custom title just for the title tag.

Meta tags: According to the search engines, use of Meta tags do not influence search rankings. But the information is sometimes used to display relevant info to the searcher. When you have a Meta description in your page, the search engine will show that description. If the Meta description is missing, the search bots will try to guess and display snipplets from the post content. Usually, that means using the first sentence that the bot encounters. As you can imagine, this may not be ideal. Your Meta tags can be used to entice potential customers to click on the title and visit your website.

For example, instead of having something generic, your Meta description could read something like, “SEO ready made websites available at an affordable rate of just $49! Contact us for a no obligation consultation.”

See how the description can help attract targeted customers?

Keep the Meta description to less than 155 characters. Anything longer and it’ll be cut off by the search engines.

In addition, when you have unique Meta tags for each web page, you’ll avoid the risk of search engines mistakenly classifying all content as duplicate content.

Loading speed: This is less of an issue with smallish sites. But if your site grows to be very popular, there are 2 options to improve loading speed.

First, you can consider upgrading to a VPS or dedicated server. Your website will load a lot faster with dedicated computing power.

Second, if you insist on staying on shared hosting, look into using some kind of cache plugins. All popular blogging platforms come with cache plugins.

Also, bear in mind that bells and whistles affect loading speed as well. So when you are adding stuff (e.g. widgets) to your site, think whether you really need it there or not. If it’s not going to serve a useful purpose, get rid of it.

Image SEO: Image SEO is a matter of adding the “alt” tag to the images and surrounding the images with relevant keywords. But the simple act of adding “alt” tags have frequently been neglected.

Press Release Distribution Service Stats & Keyword Densities

Based on the above, I recently added a couple of new features to our press release distribution service.

Clients can now see a stats overview. From there, they can drill down and check on the keyword densities of their press releases.

Stats overview

Stats overview

Keyword Density

Keyword Density

Use the tools available to you to help analyze the content. Remember, you don’t have to over-think on-page SEO. A simple tool like a Keyword Density tool can help prevent your site from being penalized.

Just in case you are wondering what the press release service is all about, here is a video that I just released. I’ll leave you with that. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5jfXC-I8Ys