Practical, simple SEO techniques that will improve your ranking every time

SEO is often portraid as a mysterious science. Just use common sense. SEO is often portraid as a mysterious science. Just use common sense.

SEO is not rocket science. Here is what to do to ensure your pages rank really well. You can do it right now in your CMS and you don't need to pay an SEO specialist.

Good SEO is based on simple logical principles.

Like most seeming complex tasks, it is about doing the simple things well. Do the following on a page by page basis through out your website.

  1. Decide on what keywords users will use to find your page.
    Remember, you are not your customer. You sell widgets but your customers are looking for something to solve a problem. Their search words may differ from your expected keywords. Experiment with the Google Keyword Tool and see how many searches there are for particular keywords and phrases.
  2. Do the keywords appear in the page title?
    The page title contains more weight than any other element on the page. Use keywords wisely but don't over do it. The titles returned in Google results are limited to only 75 characters or so.
  3. Do your keywords appear in the meta description?
    The meta description is often returned in search results after the page title. Make sure it is descriptive and contains your keywords. You can edit the meta description for each article in the Joomla admin. It's often a good idea to repeat your first sentence as your description.
  4. Do the keywords appear in the headers (H1, H2, etc)?
  5. Are the keywords in the URL for your page?
    Joomla (Most CMS's actually) has a SEF URL function that will use the category and page title aliases in your URL. It's a very good feature for both SEO and human usability.
  6. Do your keywords appear in your first sentence?
    Keywords should appear through your whole article but it is important they appear in the first sentence.
  7. Do your keywords appear in your last sentence?
  8. Are there internal links to this page with the link text containing your keywords?
    Yes. Even internal links are important. As search engines crawl the web they are constantly recording links in their database. The more times a link is encountered the more often it will get crawled and indexed.
  9. Are there external links to this page with link text containing your keywords?
    This can be a little harder to set up as you'll need other web masters to link to you. If you have really good content, that will happen and the number of back links will grow over time. In the mean time, post links in comments on sites related to yours - without being spammy or a "Comment Troll". Post links on Facebook and Twitter. Try to get retweeted.
  10. Does your page contain an image with ALT and TITLE attributes containing your keywords?
    How do you think Google knows an image of a cute little pussy cat is an image of a cute little pussy and not something entirely different? It's because it has ALT and TITLE attributes describing it. Use them. It's important for SEO and accessibility.
  11. Does your site link to external sites that are authoritive?
    This is usually overlooked as people don't want to send people away from their site. But, this is actually quite powerful. Google's pagerank algorithm records not just links but who linked to them, the keywords in the link, the relevance of the linking page, etc. Most web masters constantly check their analytics to see who is linking to them. Your page will show up in their stats and you'll start getting back links in return.
  12. Does your page contain more than 400 words of content?
    If you wanted to send someone a link to a page that was an informational resource on a particular subject would you give them a link to a page with only 4 sentences? Of course not. Google doesn't want to either. If you want to appear to be a quality informational resource ensure you have a decent amount of text content.

There is a lot more to SEO than this but these points are the basics and should be followed by anyone wanting to impove their rankings.

Of course, a quality SEO consultant can take things a lot further. We can help with all of the above as well as adwords, sitemaps, minimising duplicate content, setting up Google locations, webmaster tools, interpreting analytics, etc.

Paying for someone to give you 10,000 backlinks or who promises top 10 ranking overnight is going to get you in trouble. Most of the black hat methods and tricks peddled by the SEO tricksters will work temporarily at best and possibly result in a black listed website.

As is always the case, focus on your content and you can't go wrong. Quality content and simple, logical SEO techniques like this will improve your ranking. 

john-pitchers-avatar smAbout John Pitchers

John Pitchers is co-founder and lead developer at Joomstore where his primary role is the design and development of Joomla websites. He is also the developer of the FocalPoint maps extension for Joomla. John has been building CMS based web sites since 2004, originally working with Mambo before it forked into Joomla. When not writing PHP, Javascript or CSS you'll find John carving up the hills around Baldivis on his longboard (long before Walter Mitty made it famous).

Find out more about John on his About.me page and . Follow John on Twitter.

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