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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices

As a business or website owner, one of the things that you always hear talked about is search engines. Everyone wants to know how to get to the first page of a Google search. It’s a valid question, but myths abound and facts are few on how to accomplish this objective.

The one thing that I want you to take away from this post is that you cannot ever buy your way to the top of the organic search engine results, better known as the holy grail: Google’s first page. Unless you are selling something that no one else in the world has thought of, your chances of being on the first page are somewhere out there with Amelia Earhart’s airplane. Don’t ever spend money with a company or consultant who promises to get you to the top. The only thing that you are going to accomplish is parting with your money, and at worst landing yourself on Google’s blacklist.

So, what does it take to do better with the search engines? Patience and a plan. Yes, there is a way to improve your results if you follow some basic guidelines and don’t get caught up in quick fixes. Here are a few tips that I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Start with good quality content on your website that does a solid job of explaining who you are and what you do.
  • Try to include keywords in your domain name.
  • Put a meaningful title at the top of every page of your website.
  • Ask other good quality websites to link to your site (and vice versa).
  • Have a solid marketing plan, not just for your website but your entire business.
  • Write lots of good (not spammy) posts on blogs and forums that involve your business.
  • Use the meta data tags that are available to you on your website (the meta description and keywords).

Here is a link to an outstanding and easy-to-understand guide straight from Google: http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf. Yes, it is 32-pages long, but well worth your time to unravel the mysteries and get you closer to finding the holy grail.

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