A Quick Guide to SEO

We all know that being on page one of any search result is good and Google's Panda update tells us what we need to get there. It's not everything, Google guards its secrets closely, but it's enough to help out professionals (like Jasper Consultants' SEO specialists) help out websites. But what is SEO? Simply put, SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimisation) is the process of making sure that your website works really well with what the search engines are looking for. This involves making sure that the code is good, your content works and your pictures match the words.

What I just said is a very simple and even more basic breakdown of something that can become quite complicated. SEO is not easy and it's harder to do if you have no idea what you're doing. It is always best left to the professionals. The point of this article is not to tell you how to SEO your site yourself (we don't have the time or the space and it gets really complicated). This will be a list of do's and don'ts, a guide to the world of SEO. Let's get started.

When contemplating SEO, DON'T:

Use black hat SEO techniques.
These will get you caught and un-indexed, in that case, you might as well not have a website.

Try to cheat the system.
SEO takes time and you won't necessarily see results overnight.

Try this at home.
I've said it before and I will say it again, let a professional handle your SEO.

Use a fly-by-night company.
If anyone ever tells you that they can guarantee first page results, they're lying to you.
The most any SEO specialist can do is try to get you up there.
SEO is an art, not a science.

Let anyone convince you to use a link farm. Link farming is bad.
You will get caught.
Link farming is like a pyramid scheme and the only people who benefit are the ones at the top.

Ever use spam to get your message across! You know you hate spam emails or spam content and so do your readers.
Don't do it.
Users don't like it and neither do the search engines.

Use Flash. Search engine programmes can't read it, it takes too long to load and not all of your users will have the necessary browser settings or flash players installed.

When thinking about SEO, DO:

Get your website built by a professional.
A professional web developer can make sure that your website is built right the first time.
This will make the SEO specialist's job a little easier.

Have good quality and relevant written content.
Make it easy to read and get your point across well.
Content is everything these days since search engines look at content.
So do readers.
Focus on your readers and you're getting there.

Build high quality, relevant and trustworthy links.
The better your links, the better your site.
The types of links you get on your site determine how well your site will do.

Start a blog, a newsletter or a news page.
Updating your content regularly keeps your website fresh and interesting.
If your site is 4 years old or older, think about re-doing it.
New things are exciting and internet users like being excited.

Use social media.
YouTube, Facebook and Twitter are a good way to get your site and your company out there.

Think about your user.
If you don't like it when a website does something, chances are your users won't like the same thing on your site.

Next week we'll discuss Social Media Marketing (SMM) and we'll walk you through making one of the best Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube channels ever.