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Search Engine Optimization The Easy Way - Part 4

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We now have almost all of the basic building blocks in place to catapult your site up the rankings.  Today we will look at some little tweaks that can give you the edge over your competition.

SEO Insight 5 - Use Your Header Tags H1, H2 & H3

Heading tags are there to highlight certain text.  Usually Header 1 tags will be the largest and the boldest followed by H2, H3 and so on.

Since the text is larger on H tags it gives a visual clue to both the user and the search engine that the text is important.  So if possible use your H1, H2 and H3 tags with your keywords. 

As with all SEO only implement this if it flows with your content, otherwise its counter productive.  If the header tags detract from the flow of your content don't use them.  One final warning, don't over do the H tags, I've seen some people H2 the whole page thinking it will help them... it only helped them destroy their pitch.

Plan out the use of your H tags, use keywords where possible, but don't use overkill.

SEO Insight 6 - Name your images

Images are problematic to search engines because they don't know what the image represents... unless you tell them.

Many sites use lot's of flashy graphics and images, this can have a massive detrimental effect on your rankings. 

If you do have images on your site the good news is you can optimise them.  All images have a file name and an "alt" attribute, you should use both of these.  Again, when naming the image and the attribute try to use your keywords.

A word of caution, do not name all of the images the same, this will not increase your rankings.  If you practice any type of keyword stuffing you run the risk of being penalised by Google.  It's simply not worth the risk.

SEO Insight 7 - Navigation Structure & Site Map

How users move from one page to another is very important and should follow an organised structure, which goes without saying.  However I would strongly recommend that you use text to link pages rather than images. 

Designers have a habit of giving you the flashest site possible, which often involves video's and images as part of the navigation.  I keep all of my sites as text based as possible, that includes not using drop down boxes in the navigation.

As we have already established search engine's can't read images so it always better to use text as it makes it easier for search engine's to crawl and understand your site. 

Also make sure you have a sitemap on your website (most do have them these days) and that all your important pages are listed.  Again this helps search engine's find and understand your content.

SEO Insight 8 - Use anchor text for internal links

Anchor text is a clickable link that takes you to a particular web page.  So instead of having the full address of a site there would be a short amount of text instead describing the page.

So using my site as an example if I wanted to place a link regarding Guy Cohen's Illuminati Trading programme  within a web page I would have three options;

  • Ask the user to CLICK HERE for Guy Cohen's Illuminati Trader review

Giving the full web address looks messy and slightly unprofessional. Saying CLICK HERE has the advantage that most people won't miss the prompt, but it does not help your ranking.

In point 3 we have used anchor text, this allows Google to know exactly what that page is about, helping our rankings.  Our anchor text would reflect the keywords we are trying to rank for.  I could have anchored to the Illuminati Trader page with;

Become a Millionaire Trader

If I was trying to rank for "become a millionaire trader" this anchor text would have been perfect.  What we are doing is leaving Google clues about our pages, helping us improve our rankings.

So when you use anchor text make sure it's descriptive but don't make it longer than 4 or 5 words if possible.  It is key when you use anchor text that you format it, either change the colour or make it larger so your users know to click on it.

Anchor text is even more vital when you gain external links. 

To illustrate to you the weight Google place on anchor text, type "click here" in to Google.  The top ranking site is not clickhere.com but Adobe. 

How can this be?  What does "click here" have to do with Adobe?

You have probably guessed but free downloads of Adobe features on thousands of sites and the anchor text is usually "click here".  Google automatically thinks (wrongly) the site is about "click here".  This shows the power anchor text has with Google.

SEO Insight 9 - Inbound Links

I have left inbound links until last, not because it's not important but because it's not easy to create inbound links if you're a newbie.  The previous 8 insights are tasks anyone can do, fairly quickly, easily and they will have huge benefits to your search engine rankings.

However inbound links are, along with page titles, the most important SEO factor.  All search engine's place a great deal of emphasis on your link popularity.

What are inbound  links?

When someone places an address for your website on another site, this is called a link.  Each link is seen as a vote for your site by Google.  It stands to reason if your site features on a 100,000 other sites, you have a fantastic site with quality content. 

Now all links are not created equal.  Search engines will give you more credit for links that come from sites that have similar topics to yours.  If you achieve a link from a knitting site but your site sells health products, the search engines are not going to give you much credit for that link.

You will also get much more success if your links are from quality websites.  One link from a web page with a page rank of 5 would be worth more than a hundred links from sites with no page rank.

Getting links is a highly skilled and time consuming process.  I am going to write a number of articles about link building in the future, I will also show you how and where to outsource this work.

I hope you have enjoyed the SEO series and feel confident enough to put some of the strategies in to place.  An hour or two making some small changes can have staggering effects on your search engine results.  Always remember good quality rankings equals good traffic, which in turn means sales.

Please leave comments as usual at the bottom of the article and please email me your success stories.

Until next time, be happy.


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Ryan Semple (Peterborough)

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