Seven Free SEO Tips to Boost Your Site’s Traffic

There are many simple and easy ways to boost your rankings in search engines so that more people will visit your website. Some search engine optimization (SEO) methods are out-dated and others are just plain shady (e.g. ‘black hat SEO’ tricks such as link farms).
We will discuss seven of the best organic “white-hat” methods of SEO: things you can do for free to achieve higher search rankings (rather than paid options such as pay-per-click advertising).

1) KEYWORDS

Choose and Use your keywords wisely!  It is extremely important to research what keywords are best to use on your website. Google AdWords provides a very good keyword research tool that will show you the amount of competition for particular keywords and phrases. It is best to choose keywords that are searched frequently, while avoiding too much competition in your market. Most importantly, these keywords should be relevant, and correspond to your page content. Good keywords in the domain name, page titles, headings, and alt text are helpful, but should not be overused. Overuse can cause your site to be flagged as spam, so keep it relevant!

2) METADATA

Utilizing key tags in the <head> section of your web pages can greatly change how well a site ranks in search engines. It is important to always include a unique page title for every page of a site, with a unique page description (via a meta “description” tag, which summarizes the page content). The description metadata is very important for search rankings, and should utilize keywords wisely (for that specific page) while never being identical on any two pages.

3) SITE STRUCTURE & TECHNOLOGY

Some of the most popular sites have innovative technology, which requires advanced programmers. If your site has web apps that offer software type functionality in a website, then you have an obvious advantage. However, simple SEO techniques such as utilizing Google Webmaster Tools can do wonders to raise your SEO score. Many free tools are available to generate XML sitemaps (an index of your website, in XML format) which you can submit to search engines to help direct their crawling of your website.

4)  INTERNAL LINKS

Websites indirectly tell search engines which pages are most important for visitors (and for which keywords) by having more internal links to those pages on their site (links within a site to other pages on the site). Placing the keywords of the target page in the link that points to that page will also help. You may make use of the “nofollow” tag on links that are not important for SEO purposes (such as the legal disclaimer) to help search engines direct visitors to other more important pages.

5) EXTERNAL LINKS

One of the largest factors in SEO is to have quality links from related websites (with similar keywords) pointing at your site. For example, if Facebook were to post a link to your site on their homepage, then you would see a huge spike in visitors. Having quality links from high-ranking sites will boost your site towards the top of search engine results. Probably the best method to earn quality links is to offer quality content that people truly want. Posting content on the social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) can boost visitors and inbound links as well. In addition, it is important to check and fix the site for any broken links on a regular basis.

6) CONTENT

As stated previously, the best way to attract visitors and quality inbound links is with good content that people want to consume. Updating page content on a regular basis tells search engines that they need to frequently visit your site for new stuff, and lets visitors know they can expect new content once in a while. Static pages that change once a year will not drive people to come back to your site frequently. However, integrating a blog with regular posts is an excellent way to drive visitors to your site to consume new content. Unique and original content that people like will attract visitors and inbound links, and get the attention of the search engines. Simple isn’t it? Have quality content… get quality results.

7) INTERACTIVE MEDIA

Studies show that computer users prefer video and other impressive multimedia. You-Tube and Hulu are popular sites with streaming video, and Internet users spend countless hours playing interactive games on Facebook. Many prefer watching a video tutorial than studying a book – and enjoy streaming a TV show with one commercial to regular TV shows with twelve. People tend to link to media fast, so use media to your advantage.

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