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SEO Bootcamp – Episode 1

I get a huge number of people asking me ‘Can I be 1st in Google for my keyword’. Now, the short answer to that is usually, ‘yes, you can’. The longer answer is ‘Yes, you can… but it will take quite some time and will require a monthly budget’. The answers gets even longer depending on the client and the specific needs, but we’ll move onto that.

I’m going to be writing a mini series on SEO via my blog. This is going to bring in my own views on how to do SEO correctly as well as bringing in some guests who are very highly regarded in the world of SEO.

I think the reason I get asked about SEO so frequently is because of my own rankings. I am number 1 in Google for a host of fantastic web design keywords, and this makes people think that I am an SEO guru. Well, the truth is, I am. But not in the way people expect. I do my SEO correctly. That means it takes time. If you do your SEO in the right way, it really benefits you in the long term.

The wrong way of doing SEO may yield instant results, but you’ll soon see yourself drop like a stone down the rankings again. It’s like the old adage of ‘easy come, easy go’ – and it applies to SEO. If you take your time and build a site, rather than an SEO strategy, then your site will rise to the top like cream and stay there as long as you maintain it well.

The bad way of doing SEO involves buying a ton of rubbish backlinks, usually from link farms etc… which eventually get you sandboxed in Google anyway, because it is against their terms of service. So how do you do it right?

1. Great Content – this is the cornerstone of your SEO. Great content means that your site is, well, great. Google loves sites that think about the user first and the bots second. That is why they constantly change their algorithms. Get decent content written. Make sure that users understand it and that it flows nicely together. Google will reward you so much for this.

2. Images and Tags – again, this comes down to helping the user. Google loves accessibility, so ensure all images have an ALT tag. Ensure all links have Title tags to explain where the user will go when they click that link. Tagging doesn’t mean META Keywords, it means tagging your site wherever possible for a slick and easy user experience.

3. Semantic Code – this is SO important. Lots of people tell me that it isn’t important, but I disagree wholeheartedly. If your site is coded well, with semantic code, then Google Bot can read it much easier, making it easier to index and shows that it is more accessible. What is Semantic coding you ask? Well, it is basically the principle of making your code logical and simple to follow. Too many ‘free themes’ have disgraceful code that wouldn’t cut mustard with me. Check the source code of any website, if you can roughly make sense of the code structure, then chances are, it is being coded well. If it looks like a bomb went off in a keyboard factory, then perhaps it worth a code audit from a 3rd party.

4. Fresh Content – I talked about great content, but it isn’t enough to write a few pages and leave them there indefinitely. You need to keep it fresh. That may mean changing the page content now and then; it may mean adding new pages to your site; or it could mean writing frequent blog posts. Either way, keep your content fresh and Google will be a happy little Bot.

In the next episode, I’ll move onto the art (and yes, it is an art) of securing backlinks for your site in the right way. I’ll also talk about interaction with other sites and also, I’ll be debunking the myth of the importance of a domain name for your search results.