Do’s and Don’ts of Search Engine Optimization

SEO is the art and science of ranking on search engines, which mostly means Google.  Google hates people who copy content from other sites, even if those sites are your own.  They will actively penalize any site that they discover copying content.  This includes product descriptions!  If your site has dozens or hundreds of similar products for sale, you need to take care to make the descriptions unique.

Do focus on quality content

Content is king in today’s SEO.  If your site reads like it was written by someone with a poor grasp of English, or if it looks like it was composed by a machine, it won’t do you any favors.  You need to put effort into high quality content.  Good content draws in readers and encourages them to explore your site.  Bad content drives them away and lowers your search ranking.

Don’t hide content for search engines

One of the old techniques for ranking on Google was to use invisible text colors, hidden or overlapping images and JavaScript to hide text.  This hidden text would be read by the search engine, which would see relevant keywords and content.  It would then boost your site rank, even if no standard user would ever see that content.  Google eventually caught on to this practice, and now actively penalizes sites that engineer content specifically for their robots.  The caveat to this point is the Meta data.  Meta tags and a Meta description are still important to current SEO.

Do focus on social media

Social media serves two purposes for companies.  It allows them to contact their fans directly to build a rapport, and it allows them to benefit in search results.  This is true of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and especially Google+.  Google virtually runs the SEO industry, so playing along with their social media platform is a good way to get a boost.  Facebook is the second best site, simply because of how immensely popular it is.

Don’t try to rush the process

SEO is not something that will happen overnight.  There are many services that claim to rank you in days or weeks, and they might even deliver on their promises.  The problem is, they’re expensive and temporary.  As soon as you stop paying for them, they stop doing work for you.  In some cases, they exploit SEO tricks that Google will penalize eventually.

The fact is, there’s no easy shortcut to SEO.  It takes an ongoing process and a dedicated professional to get a site ranking highly.  Spamming keywords, buying links and paying for incoming clicks are all temporary, short-term ideas.  They may work for a week or a month, but eventually they will come back to bite you.

Do keep up to date

SEO is constantly evolving.  Google puts out search updates regularly, and virtually all of them are geared toward making their search results better.  This generally means fighting against tactics and techniques that people use to boost their rank artificially.  A natural rank is much more resilient to change and will serve you better over time.


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