When it comes to web pages, there’s always going to be a lot of competition. With millions of websites all vying for the same pool of prospective customers or site visitors, you need to do everything you can to make your page stand out from the crowd.

Increasingly, the way to do that is through Search Engine Optimization. These are techniques you can use to move your pages to the top of the search engine results pages for the words that best describe your business or website.

SEO is the Holy Grail that all web designers and developers are always chasing after. Here are six simple tips you can start using today that will improve your SEO and generate more leads for your business.


       1. Pay Attention to Your Content

You can use all the SEO tricks in the book to get visitors to land on your pages. But if they find bad content when they get there, all your hard work is for nothing because they are going to click off as quickly as the clicked on.

Don’t ignore your content at the expense of your SEO. If you aren’t skilled at creating compelling, original content that your visitors will love, farm it out to a freelancer or another professional. There are plenty of people out there who are ready, willing and able to make the content of your website truly great.

Places to find these freelance writers, web designers, graphic artists, voiceover actors, and other professionals include Guru.com and Elance.com, among others. The quality of the work you will receive is high and the price you have to pay is probably lower than you think.


      2. Keywords are Critically Important

Basically, keywords are the words or phrases people type in to the web browser or search engine when they are looking for websites like yours. For example, if you own a car repair business in Ames, Iowa, your keywords might be “car repair in Ames” or “Ames auto repair”.

A lot of web designers go with the “more is better” approach. They stuff their web pages with their keywords until they are all but unreadable, under the impression that the more times they mention their keywords the higher their pages will be ranked on Google and other popular search engines.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.  Google’s search engine algorithm is smarter than that. In fact, if it believes you are using “keyword stuffing” to improve your page rankings, it may penalize your site or even ban it altogether. And then how are people going to find you?

Include your keywords the text of your content with no more than 1% to 2% saturation. That means for every 100 words of copy you want to mention your keywords only once or twice.

There are places where your keywords absolutely have to appear. These include page titles, headers, and links.


     3. Keep Your Code Clean

Search engines prefer if your site has clean mark-up because it helps them scan and read your pages more easily for indexing and ranking. So you want to avoid using any tags or codes that you don’t absolutely need.

Make sure your web page has only one h1 tag and check to make sure all of your code is semantically correct. Don’t leave any bad or broken links in your content and make sure your load times are as fast as possible.

If you are using JavaScript of CSS, make sure it is external, not embedded in your content.


      4. Page Titles Matter

Your page titles should be no longer than 60 characters. Any longer and search engines won’t display them anyway.

The page titles also should be descriptive of what your content is about. Think of them as a short, accurate summary of your page followed by the name of your website.


      5. Explain Your Links

Search engines prefer pages that spell out what will happen if people click on their links. So for example instead of using a link that says, “Click Here” or “Download Now”, clarify it by explaining exactly what will happen when people click on these links:

“Click Here to Download Your Free Trial”

“Download Your Human Resource Guidebook Now”


      6. Stick to HTML Text

Most of the web design tools today let you use custom fonts whenever you want. This wasn’t always the case, which is why web pages tended to all look alike in the past.

Take full advantage of this breakthrough by using as much HTML text as you can. This helps get rid of what you used to be able to do only by using Flash or images. It also allows for search engines to scan and index these design elements more quickly and efficiently.

By following these simple techniques, you can create great web pages that are fully optimized.

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Beth Greene

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