Top 10 Search Engine Optimization Tips

Written By: Stephen Scott
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#1 - Find the Best Keywords

Finding and optimizing your website for the right keywords is critical to your SEO success. Obviously, it would be a waste of time to optimize your website for keywords that are not even being searched for. Therefore it is important to take the time and effort to research your keyword selection.

There are several keyword search tools available on the Internet to help you find the best keywords. One of the most popular keyword research tools is WordTracker.

Wordtracker helps website owners identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to their website content and most likely to be used as queries by search engine visitors. You can also determine how many competing sites are using those keywords and can identify the phrases that have the greatest traffic potential.

When using any SEO program for doing keyword research, start by keeping your searches ambiguous and not too specific. The results will always return several suggestions, many of which are relevant keyword phrases you may not have thought of.

#2 - Find Your Competitors

This should be among any experts list of top 10 SEO tips. Knowing who your competition is and how many incoming links your competitors have will give you a competitive edge.

To find your competitors we recommend SEO Elite, which analyzes the major search engines by keyword to not only tell you who your competitors are, but also provides you with an in-depth analysis of each competitor. The analysis includes extremely important linking criteria, such as:

  • Where your competitors rank in the search engines.
  • Their number of incoming links.
  • What keywords are in the titles of their linking pages.
  • Percentage of links containing keywords in the link text.
  • The PageRank of linking pages.

The statistics provided by SEO Elite will play a critical part in determining what tools your website will need to successfully compete on the Internet. SEO Elite also offers you the ability to send e-mails to all websites discovered that have quality reciprocal link potential.

#3 - Optimize Your Website Title

The website Title is located within the HEAD section of a web page. The title is a brief summary of what the site is about, and it plays an important role in many search engines.

Here is an example of the webpage Title:

Title: <title>The Title of Your Webpage</title>

Optimizing your website title is critical. The title should be different on every page of your website for most search engines to index them in their search results. The title plays an important role in how your website is perceived, as well as in your SEO. But most importantly, the title is the first and most important things that search engines look for when determining the focus, content and relevance of your site, and this in turn has a big effect on your ranking in search results. If you have a concise and catchy title that really sums up your site's topic, your site will more readily be reviewed and favored by these sources.

Be specific. If you're writing a title for your home page, never use simply "Home" or "Index Page". Remember, your title has to draw in viewers from the search results pages, so the title should tell your viewer, as well as the search engine, what each page is about specifically.

Pay attention to length. SEO experts differ about how long your title should be. Google will limit your title on the results page after 66 characters, but Yahoo won't crop your title until 120 characters. To get the best results for both of these search engines, try to make your title have a primary and secondary length. Try to get a full sense of the main focus of the site within 66 characters, and then secondary information to read in Yahoo. Make sure that you don't leave words or phrases cut off in the middle.

Be sure to include at least one primary keyword in the title of each page. Preferably before all other words in the title. Don't repeat your keywords in the title, that's considered spam by the search engines.

#4 - Optimize Your Description & Keyword META Tags

The META description is displayed under your title on the search engine results page. There are differing expert SEO opinions about the number of characters you should have in this tag. we've seen sites with large paragraphs as well as very short paragraphs in their description listed in the top search results.

However, you do want your listing to be clear, concise and to the point, so try to keep it under 150 characters and to not repeat your keywords more than 3 times. We have also observed ranking improvements with keywords at the beginning of the description. Here's an example:

<meta name="description" content="The unique description of this page.">

The last important META tag is the keywords META tag, whose importance in ranking has been minimized in Google's search engine algorithm. However, there are literally hundreds of search engines out there and this tag is still important to many of them and should not be ignored. Based on my experience with this tag, you should have no more than 800 characters in this tag (including spaces).

Don't repeat your keywords more than 3 times as it's a good indication to the search engine that you are trying to spam their search results. Also, don't include keywords that aren't used in the BODY section of your website, that could be seen as another spam technique.

#5 - Use Headings

When building your website, each page should have its own unique heading (headline). You should always have a main heading for every web page that offers a presentation. No matter what your website is about, the headline is what entices your visitors to keep reading.

Headings play an important role in organizing information, so be sure to include at least one h1 tag when assembling your page. Using an h1 tag at the top of this page, the heading is more appealing. Here are a few HTML heading examples:

<h1>Top 10 SEO Tips</h1>

<h2>SEO Tip #1: Find the Best Keywords</h2>

<h3>a. The Best Keyword Search Tools</h3>

When you establish the importance of a page with HTML tags, you're actually making it easy for the search engine robots to determine what your web page is all about. There is no guessing by the search engine. It can see exactly what your main topic is and place you under the appropriate keywords so your can be found on the Internet.

#6 - Use Title and ALT Attributes

Often times, website addresses (URL's) do not contain the subject of the page. For example, the URL says nothing about being a place to post videos. Where a site like would tell Google right away that the site is about match making. So to provide more detail about your links destination a title attribute is added and includes keywords.

Using the title Attribute is one way to tell the search engines about the relevance of the link. The link structure is:

<a href="" title="Link Building">Link Building</a>

The ALT Attribute is used for the same reasons as the Title Attribute, but is specifically for describing an image to the search engine and to the visually disabled. Here's how you would use ALT in an image tag:

<img src="" alt="Top 10 SEO Tips">

#7 - Use Keywords in File Names

When possible, save your images, media, and web pages with the keywords in the file names, but remember, don't over do it by repeating keywords. For example, if your keyword phrase is "tennis racquets" you'll want to save the images used on that page as wilson-racquet.jpg or adidas_racquet.jpg. Many SEO experts have reported ranking improvements simply by renaming images and media using keywords.

While we're on the subject of filenames, your web page filename is Very important, since many search engines now allow users to query using "inurl:" searches. Your filename for the tennis racquet page could be tennis-racquets.html or tennis_racquets.html. Anytime there is an opportunity to display or present content, do your best to insure the content has the keywords in the filename (as well as a title or ALT attribute).

#8 - Create a Site Map Page

A site map (or sitemap) is a representation of the architecture of a web site. Most often a site map is a web page that lists the all pages on a web site, typically organized in hierarchical fashion. Since every page on the website will be linked to the sitemap, it allows webcrawlers (and users) to quickly and easily find content.

The best way to understand the structure of the Sitemap is to look at an existing one. Therefore, we have prepared a sample map that you can use for backbone of your personal one. You can copy its code from the lines below, and adjust it to serve your particular needs.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="">
<loc> /</loc>

Most search engines will only follow a finite number of links from a page, so if a site is very large, the site map may be required so that search engines and visitors can access all content on the site.

For more information on sitemaps visit

#9 - Create a robots.txt File

Creating a robots.txt file is the simplest of all the top 10 SEO tips. It simply involves including a robots.txt file at the root of your website (ie. You can create a simple robots.txt file in 3 easy steps:

  1. Open up any text editor, such as Notepad and type "User-agent: *".
  2. Save the file as robots.txt
  3. Upload it to your root directory on your domains server.

That's It! This one command will instruct all robot spiders to crawl every page of your website.

Search engines analyze everything they index to determine what your website is all about. Therefore block folders and files that have nothing to do with the content you want analyzed and indexed.

You can 'disallow' unrelated files to be read by adding "Disallow: /folder_name/" or "Disallow: /filename.html".

Here is an example of the robots.txt file:

robots.txt Example

#10 - Learn How Google Sees Your Website

Google has developed Webmaster Tools to help you see how your site is performing in their search results, troubleshoot potential problems, and build Google-friendly sites. Webmaster Tools is for anybody with a website - bloggers, online stores big and small, government and education sites. There are several benefits to using Google's Webmaster Tools such as:

  1. Makes sure Google can find all the pages on your site.
  2. Drive traffic to your site.
  3. Build a Google-friendly site.
  4. Remove pages from Google's search results.
  5. And it's totally free?

SEO BONUS Tip : HTML & CSS Validation

Validating your websites source code is very important. Validation helps to ensure your website is free of HTML and CSS Stylesheet errors.

One of the most respected and trusted validation tools in the Internet was developed by the W3C Consortium. Use the links below to validate any of your web pages:


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