In the search engine marketing/optimization community there are abundant resources and SEO articles on how to improve rankings. So much in fact, it can be confusing as to which tactics are current and valid.
When we discuss improving rankings, traffic and conversions with clients, we almost always start with 3 fundamental concepts that will most likely always hold true.
1. The site must be easy to crawl.
In order to rank well in a search engine, your site must first be in the search engine! Many sites suffer in the search engine saturation department (number of your web pages indexed by a search engine) because of search engine indexing problems. It is very important that you make it as easy as possible for a search engine “bot” or “crawler” find all of the content in your web site.
You can do this by following search engine webmaster guidelines for inclusion, offering a sitemap with text links to all the pages of your site, and by encouraging other sites to link deep into your site. Dynamic urls that include extra information like session ids are also problematic. Keep it to less than 3 variables.
2. Fresh, themed content.
Years ago it used to be enough to sprinkle keywords in the right places in order to “optimize” a web site. A strategy that is better for both users and search engines involves adding new content on a regular basis according to themes. A blog is a perfect platform for this. Search engines will visit a site more often proportionately to often the site is updated. More frequent indexing means your new content gets into the search results more quickly. It also means you can rank for a wider range of keywords.
3. Link popularity.
A consistent linking initiative is your best bet. Plan to achieve new links each month and avoid spikes. Also diversify link sources. Avoid link exchanges if they do not add value to your site visitors. Linking methods include: asking for links from related sites, directory submissions, article syndication, press releases, social book marking, blog track backs and encouraging browser bookmarks. The best links of all usually happen without you even knowing about it. They happen because you have great content.
As you engage in your search engine optimization efforts, keep these three “pillars” in mind. There are many other important considerations ranging from keyword selection to web analytics to be sure. Focusing on the fundamentals will pay off in a stronger foundation long term.