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5 Tips to Improve your SEO beyond Keywords

SEO Link Building You know about keywords, and how important they are for getting your website found. Now you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about the world of search engine optimization. If you’re relatively new to SEO, there are a few things that you can do to help boost your website’s rankings beyond writing keywords in your content.

This article is designed for beginners, but it’s also a good refresher for intermediate level search engine optimizers.

1) Create Internal Links

When you start your website or blog I would suggest focusing on creating great content for your blog. However, the trouble with a new blog is that you don’t have a lot older content that you can refer to. But once you have written some more posts or create more content you want to start linking to those specific urls that the content resides on. This is known as internal link building, and doesn’t just apply to posts, but can be done to link to product pages, landing pages, and so forth.

Internal linking is helpful because you pass on link juice to those other pages. Imagine link juice as vote of confidence. Every time you link to your own article, this is considered a vote of confidence according to the search engines. Right now I’m passing on some link juice to this article about driving web traffic to a hotel website.

You don’t want to go overboard with this technique as it will ruin the reader’s experience. Think strategically about what pages or articles you want to rank well for and strategically think how other pages can link to them.

2)Use the Right Anchor Text

Strong Chains When you link to your own articles or to other websites, usually these links are highlighted in a different colour from the rest of the text. The following term, Vancouver Digital Marketing Agency, the highlighted part is known as anchor text.

Anchor texts are useful because it gives search engines another piece of information of what the directed webpage is about beyond the actual written text itself.
Let’s say you wrote an article about using Pinterest for marketing, if you want to rank well for search words Pinterest for marketing, then you want to create anchor text that says those keywords, and not using words such as social media marketing or the common deadly anchor text of, “click here.”

You should not abuse the use of exact match anchor text with the title of your article or for keywords you want to rank high for, or else you may be punished by Google. Especially if the anchor text is taken out of context and isn’t even remotely related to the rest of the article.

Don’t go rushing and linking 200 of your internal articles using the exact same anchor text such as Pinterest for marketing for all of them. You might want to switch it up and use more organic anchor texts such as, marketing using Pinterest, Pinterest is designed for marketing, or Pinterest for business marketing.

If Google believes you’re manipulating the system, then it will find a way to punish your website. This is what happened a lot of them during 2012 during the Panda and Penguin updates. It’s not quite over yet, there have been some major ones, and reportedly that Friday March 15th, there may be another Penguin change to Google.

This is why if you ever get a chance to write for another blogger or business magazine, you want to choose your words carefully. Instead of saying click here, you may say read this article about “How to Generate Leads with Linkedin.”

3) Develop Relationships with Other Bloggers and Businesses

You’ll often hear the term link building and its extreme importance in the world of search engine optimization. Link building is the process of having legitimate websites link back to your website. The reason I say legitimate is because Google has punished many sites that have used manipulative ways to gain links such as through link buying, or linking to low quality sites that add no content value to readers, link networks, or through content farms (such as e zine articles).

When you’re able to develop relationships with other bloggers you’re able to propose writing an article on their blog, known as guest posting. Depending on the guidelines of the blogger, you may be able to put a link in the article back to your website with a specific anchor text.

When that website links back to you this is considered a vote of confidence to Google, and helps you rank higher for search results. The more credible and visited a website is, such as the Wall Street Journal or Tech Crunch, the higher the vote of confidence to the search engines. The “credibility” of a site is often know as page rank.

Another factor is also the number of websites that you get a link from. If you get one from both Tech Crunch and Wall Street Journal, that’s the same as two thumbs way up that your site or blog is credible.

4) Label Your Pictures Properly

One of the important things you can do to improve your search engine results is to title and label your pictures appropriately. Instead of saying DSC_145 or something weird like that, rename them so that it says PinterestMarketing.jpg. (I’m guilty of practicing this poor labeling at times).

For my site, I labelled a picture “Using Iphone” and so I get some traffic for an article about Foursquare from those that are searching Google for an image related to that.

Don’t rename the picture to something that isn’t relevant. If you want to rank well for the word, clown for hire, in Google, don’t rename your cat pictures in your blog to that. That doesn’t make sense , and Google may punish you over time.

There’s something known as Alt text, this is alternative text that will show up when the picture fails to load. Fill this information with the keyword that the picture represents and this will help Google be able to understand more about what that picture and the content is about.

5) Webmaster Tools

One of the essential tools you need to improve your SEO is Webmaster tools. I would recommend starting that you sign up with Google Webmaster tools and find out if there are any 404’s. (This is known as links that don’t go anywhere, here’s an example of a 404 by Tech Crunch).

Tech Crunch 404

Though Google says it doesn’t affect search results, it’s more about good housekeeping. As you start to have more websites, it’s important to keep track of broken links.

However let’s say that you wanted to pass on link juice to a specific article on your website, if that link leads to a broken link, then the link juice is wasted, which could technically go to another site. Especially if that site has been getting a lot of traffic and has high page rank.

Those are some ways to be able to take the next step after writing keywords in your article, if you’re looking for a great resource on SEO for beginners, I highly recommend reading SEO Moz’s guide. Rand Fiskin, the team, and the community at SEO Moz, do a wonderful job and is an excellent source for SEO news.

Photo Courtesy of Ward

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Vincent Ng is the founder of MCNG Marketing, and the author of Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis and the host of the Pinterest podcast, Pictures to Profits. You can grab your free e-book on How to Search Optimize Your Pins for Pinterest and Search Engines."
  • http://www.timandolive.com Tim Chan

    Great tips Vincent!

    • Vincent Ng

      Thanks Tim. Looking forward to seeing the trailer for your new upcoming book.

  • http://www.thinkouthere.com Diana L

    Thanks so much for posting these tips about SEO. I learned a lot to benefit my own website!

    • Vincent Ng

      You’re welcome Diana, I’m glad the article was helpful. And thanks so much for leaving a wonderful comment.