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Free tips from Google's SEO guideline

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 12 years or are in complete denial, you are surely aware that google is the number 1 site on the planet. Google is ranked the number 1 visited site according to Alexa and has a reach of nearly 50% of internet user to date. Why does this matter to you? Because if you want any site to succeed to have to play by google's rules. There are many scam artists and websites that claim they can get you to the number 1 spot on google, or get you free traffic from search engines. DO NOT fall in to temptation to try them out. Also, do not pay for anyone to tell you google's so called "secrets". Beside their search algorithm and some other business secrets, google is a very transparent company. In fact, they have a starter guide to SEO which is going to be the main reference for this article.

SEO Basics

Let's start with web page titles.The html title tag is used by search engines and browsers to tell the user what is the topic of a particular web page. The webpage title is what is going to be displayed in search engine result as a link to your page.  You should try to find the best description for your web page, while keeping the description under 80 characters long. Try to avoid ambiguous and generic words in your page title such us 'home page', 'next page', etc...

While you should use different, unique page title for each website, you should also make good use of the "description" meta tag. This tag is what will be displayed in search engine results following the link to your page title. Try to make this tag describe in short, but more detail then your page title. Use it to summarize your page content. As with the page title, the description meta tag should be unique to each page of your website.

Improve your site structure

The internet is driven by links and so is your website. Having a good, solid URL structure will improve you site's SEO. Keep in mind that the URL will be displayed in google's search result. You should have a URL that is descriptive just as the page title and the meta tag. Use words and dashes "-" to separate them. When you are building your website, use keywords to structure your folders and sub folders in addition to your page titles.

You navigation is the way humans and crawl bots are going to go trough your website. Make sure you keep it in mind when you are designing the layout of your website. Also make sure you use breadcrumb trails for extra convince. The last thing as far as structure is a site map. This is one page that contains all the links to all your webpages. You should have 2 versions of site maps. one should be an html version for humans, the other should be an xml version that you will submit to google and other search engines to crawl.

Optimize content

After all is said and done, content is key and king. You can do all the tricks in the book, but without good, quality, keyword rich content, you will not have a good ranking. Interesting and original content is more valuable then copy-paste anything you found. In fact, if your content is not original, you might get panelize by the search engines. Use the google keyword tool to search for keywords that are searched and a lot and are low on competition. However, create content for users, not for search engines. Do not write for robots, this will not work in your favor as you might think.

When you are writing content try to put in some links to other websites, primarily your own. Use god keywords for your anchor text instead of just 'next page'. If you have images as part of your website, make sure the file name of the image is descriptive and use alt text to describe the image. As a side note about images, having a long load time for your website is generally bad. Remember to lower the size of your image files and store higher resolution as eternal links.

Crawlers

Crawlers, spiders, web-bots, it all refers to the same thing. Instead of a human user it is a robot, a pice of code that visits your website and others and follows the links outbound from it. To make the robots visit more efficient, google suggest using a robot.txt file that sets permissions for robots. If you have login only areas, you can create a user name and password for crawlers to use. In googles webmaster tools there is a guide that will help you generate a robot.txt file and monitor the crawler errors, if any.

Mobile SEO

Over the past few years, mobile internet via smart phones has grown. With the lunch of the iPad and other tablets, there are predictions that users will use mobile platforms more than regular computers in just a few more years. In order to accommodate the mobile user, you should create a mobile version of your website as well as notifying google of such website. Google can recognize mobile sites as the domain starts with 'm' instead of traditional 'www'.

Promote your website

As a final note, promote your website using back links and other creditable websites. Do not try to promote each little section, but rather the website as whole. Google will crawl and index your entire website on it's on. Avoid scams, spamming and using any 'black-hat' ways to promote your website as you will get penalize for it. Use Google Analytics and Googles webmaster tools to analyze your website and the traffic you attract.

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