The many forms of search engine optimization strategies that have come and gone since the search engine boom attest to how competitive the SEO industry can be. Strategies that work today may not be so effective tomorrow, given the breadth and depth of the efforts of search engines to keep their ranking algorithms up to date and useful.
Luckily, a number of search engine optimization strategies (SEO) have withstood the test of time — some well-known and others less popular, but equally effective.
Search Engine Optimization Strategies: Tweaking On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization refers to the SEO adjustments made to the facets outside of the content but within the webpage, typically the HTML codes that make up the webpages that contain the optimized articles.
While many on-page optimization tactics have been abused and subsequently rendered useless (such as HTML META keyword tags), many more are still being put to good use today. Some of them include:
- Formatting — bold, italicized, and headlined text are always more important in the eyes of search engine spiders, so the HTML “b” or “strong”, “i” or “em”, and “h1” to “h6” will always play crucial roles in on-page optimization.
- Keyword Optimization — Just as formatted text is deemed more important, keyword optimization remains a focal point of on-page optimization. Today, however, search engines place more value on readability and often frown on keyword stuffing.
- Meta Descriptions and Alt attributes — The META Descriptions of webpages aren't ranking factors for Google (though Bing and Yahoo admit to using them to some degree), but can be leveraged for better click-through rates. The Alt attributes, on the other hand, remain an ideal means to optimized non-text elements (like infographics and images) within a page.
Search Engine Optimization Strategies: Internal Linking
While much of the buzz in link-building search engine optimization strategies is around external inbound links, internal linking — linking between webpages within one domain — is equally important.
Aside from the making keyword anchor text more easily noticeable for search engine spiders, proper internal linking helps:
- Establish site structure — Sitemaps show the structure of your website; internal linking proves it
- Make new “roads” for search engine bots to find new content — Every link ensures that the webpages linked to are indexed by search engine bots
- Lend link equity from one page to another — Just as external inbound links share an external website's link equity to the linked webpage, a webpage linking to another within a domain does the same, though to a lesser extent
Search Engine Optimization Strategies: Leveraging User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC is any form of content provided by users of a website and not created by the owners, marketers, or any entity officially associated with the website. UGCs can take the form of reviews, comments, and other sort of content.
UGC is still gaining popularity today, though it has been around for almost as long as SEO. To become one of the most effective search engine optimization strategies, websites need to leverage UGC in a way that:
- Highlights keywords — Search engines crawl every piece of textual content in a webpage, including comments and reviews. Highlighting keywords on comment threads or simply making sure the threads are “crawlable” can ensure better keyword relevance.
- Gives more value to links dropped within UGC — It's been a standard link building practice to place backlinks within comments to related articles, but a common misconception is that it's only beneficial for the receiver of the backlink. The link provides two-way confirmation of relevance, not just one way (so long as no HTML codes indicate otherwise).
- Leverages promoting UGC — Promoted comments or top testimonials are some preferred methods of UGC promotion. They ensure that the most relevant UGC (both for users and for search engine spiders) are immediately noticeable.
These are just a few search engine optimization strategies that have come a long way since the search engine boom, and are currently still very effective.
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