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SEO Quick Tips – Straight From the Mouth of Google

From Google to you

I recently attended a search industry conference  at which Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s anti-webspam team, was a keynote speaker.  Matt’s team is charged with finding sites that are attempting  to cheat the system, documenting how they do it and then dropping them from the search index.  As a result, Matt and his team have learned what works best to get sites listed correctly – and it is surprisingly simple.  Matt shared a few SEO tips for beginners with us.

These tips are intended for web site owners just getting started in the optimization process.  However, it’s often the simplest things that are overlooked.  Many of the sites that I and other SEOs are tasked with “fixing” do not follow some of these and as a result rank poorly for searches they should, or at least could, rank well for.

Ten SEO Tips

  1. Use good URL & Site structure.
    It’s been discussed over and over again. Yes, Google can index dynamic page URLs (like those here on AgentGenius.com).  However, if you are able to use search friendly URLS – often referred to as PERMALINKS – then you really should.  Permalinks allow you to include keywords in your URL, creating one more crumb in the trail you want the search engines and readers to follow.
  2. Use good and unique page titles.
    Page titles should be a brief (only about 65-70 characters) description of what a page contains, or is about.  This is another opportunity to let the search engines (and more importantly, your readers) know what they might find on a page.  Too often this is ignored, or worse misused.  Many sites leave page titles blank, insert just the company name, or use non-descriptive text like “about us” or “our products”.  A page title should be able to stand alone, a reader should have an idea what the page is about without reading one word of it’s content.
  3. Use keywords naturally withing your content (don’t try to stuff them in there).
    Google does recognize common root variations of the same word.  For example, it knows that engage, engagement, engaging, and engaged are all variations the same word.  Don’t waste your time and irritate your readers by using all these words over and over in your pages.  However, Google does not know that cat, kitten, kitty, feline or putty-tat could all be used to mean the same thing.  When applicable, use common synonyms in your pages as well.  Different people use different words to communicate, try to use the most common variations in your writing.
  4. Page title and site URL do not have to match.
    If you are not using a blog or a content management system (CMS), this is probably not something you ever even considering doing – creating matching titles and URLs is too much work for a manual process.  However, if you use a CMS like WordPress it is often done for you automatically.  Why not alter the URL slightly and insert a keyword synonym?  It’s just one more of the crumbs to follow.  (I’ll admit I have not done this – it’s one of those simple things I never even thought about, but feel silly for not doing).
  5. Check your site logs often to see what you already rank well for.
    You might already be ranking well for something and not even know it.  Possibly searchers are finding you with keywords you never even considered.  By reviwing your search logs, you’ll know how you are being found and be able to optimize your site accordingly.
  6. Create a blog and post often.
    New, fresh content and a growing site is a good indication of relevance.  Relevance is what will get you ranked in Google.
  7. Fill in your description tags.
    It’s surprising, how many site owners think the description tag is just a place to stuff keywords.  More accurately, it’s displayed by Google (and others) in the search results along with the page title to give searchers an idea what they should expect to find on your web site.  A well written description tag should contain your keyword(s) or synonyms and also be truly descriptive of the page and it’s content.  If your potential reader thinks this is what they want to see, they will click.  If they see a long and obvious list of keywords, chances are they will pass you over.
  8. Create an XML site map.
    Site maps are one of those things SEOs can’t seem to agree on.  Many feel that a well structured site will be crawled just fine with out one.  Others, myself included, feel that any help they provide is worth the minimal (if any) work required to maintain them.   If you run your site in WordPress, or most any CMS, there are plugins available that take all the work out this. I read recently about a test done that showed Google not only came to a site sooner, but it also crawled sites more quickly – a lot more quickly, on sites with site maps.  Of course I’d love to link you to it, but can’t locate it at the moment – if you have it, please post in the comments.
  9. If you are local, be sure to register in the Google local business center.
    Put simply, if you run a local business, and are not listed here, you are throwing money away.  When people search for products and services in their area, the business identified as local will often rank at the very top of page one, regardless of all other SEO factors.
  10. Use your chosen keywords in URL and titles.
    OK – This is a repeat of 1 & 2, but it’s important so don’t forget to do it.

Simple, right?   OK, time to fess up…..how many of these are you not doing on your web site?

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Written By

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Parag Majumdar

    March 29, 2009 at 7:01 am

    RT: @rampantheart: SEO Quick tips – straight from the mouth of Google: https://is.gd/puhS

  2. DivasWhoDine

    March 29, 2009 at 7:06 am

    SEO Quick tips – straight from the mouth of Google. https://ow.ly/1COX

  3. Matt Richling

    March 29, 2009 at 7:03 am

    Has anyone used a specific XML plugin for wordpress? There seem to be a couple, am I able to use more than one at the same time?

  4. Jack Leblond

    March 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Matt – Take a look at the plugins listed in this AG post, they should work well for you. https://agentgenius.com/?p=10233

    As for having more than one plugin to do the same thing – not a good idea, your results may be quite unpredictable.

  5. Trace

    March 29, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    I’ve always used this one with success…..

    https://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

  6. Catherine Harrigan

    March 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Interesting article on SEO Tips – https://agentgenius.com/?p=11278 worth a read.

  7. Jack Leblond

    March 30, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    10 SEO tips for beginners https://agentgenius.com/?p=11278

  8. Jack Leblond

    March 30, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    For the west coasters; What I did on vacation https://tinyurl.com/d7fou5 and SEO tips for beginners https://tinyurl.com/d7hwy8

  9. Karen Yetter

    March 30, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    SEO Quick Tips – Straight From the Mouth of Google https://bit.ly/CMr6e

  10. Kylee McRae

    March 30, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Google gives SEO quick tips https://agentgenius.com/?p=11278

  11. Christian Small

    March 30, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    RT @KarenYetter: SEO Quick Tips – Straight From the Mouth of Google https://bit.ly/CMr6e

  12. Jodi Gaines Pereira

    March 30, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    RT @KarenYetter: SEO Quick Tips – Straight From the Mouth of Google https://bit.ly/CMr6e – very useful

  13. Kyle Brigham

    April 1, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    10 pretty good tips for SEO…some stuff you might already know and some you might not! https://ow.ly/1Sej

  14. Chaunna Brooke

    April 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    I think it is always a must to follow what Google sees in every website. The tips relayed here are the basics. Once followed, rest assured to see your site soar in SERPs.

  15. real estate syracuse,

    April 11, 2009 at 2:21 am

    What are the efficiencies of a keyword as an anchor text to make directory submission?
    ‘Use good and unique page titles.”- how I can classified good and bad?

  16. Kevin Sandridge

    May 27, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Classic tips, Jack – and ones we all need to follow consistently. I find that many Realtors have a hard time pulling unique content together, and they sometimes feel that it’s just too much trouble to put these extra – yet simple – 10 steps into practice. Are you seeing the same thing?

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