The 10 Commandments of SEO

Search engine optimization is extremely simple but the waters are constantly muddied by misinformation spread by wannabe experts and noobs who want to garner authority and respect. By sticking to these simple principles you will have one foot up on 99% of all people who attempt to do SEO.

Thou Shalt Not Automate or Spam

Not only are you killing the internet and adding meaningless pages of nothing in the process too, these spam links are also harmful to your website and can actually result in penalties.

These penalties mean huge losses in organic traffic, so steer well clear of anyone promoting the virtues of automated links. They are low quality links and they come back to haunt you at one stage or another.

Thou Shall Spread Link Love Lovingly

If every person, their neighbour and their dog are linking to you, don’t be a hog and give nothing back. Link back to that person or link out to authorities every now and then.

The law of reciprocacy states the more you do something, the more likely people are to do it back to you. So if you link out to high quality websites or authorities, then chances are all you’ll get some authority links back in the future. Win, win!

Thou Shalt Not Write Content For Search Engines

This is so important. Do not write your posts or articles based on what you think search engines will like, ignore keyword density and putting keywords in the title and so on. Write content that readers will love and will actually be able to read properly.

If you get hung up about including keywords a certain amount of times, that article you’ve got to rank highly in the search engines will be absolute gibberish and all that awesome traffic you get will be wasted because people will exit straight away.

Thou Shall Find The Best Keywords

 The best keywords does not mean keywords with the highest amount of traffic, target keywords that are as relevant to your site as possible, because this is the traffic that will convert and be worth the SEO effort.

Generally going for low traffic, low competition keywords is the best way to build up traffic as it’s relatively easy to rank for these terms and thirty keywords each getting 50 searches per month adds to up to a lot of traffic.

Thou Shalt Not Buy or Sell Links

It is against major search engine’s terms of services to be involved in the acts of buying or selling links, that is the direct process of buying or selling. Whilst it is near impossible for search engines to find out, if you get caught your website(s) will be exiled.

There are other ways to get links onto big websites without actually purchasing links, you can sponsor the site in some way or offer something non-monetary in return for a link. Just make sure you don’t directly buy any links.

Thou Shall Have A Sitemap

A sitemap is simply what a search engine uses to read your site, without one you will end up with your pages not turning up in the search engines. This can be the difference between your site getting one hundred visitors a day and one thousand visitors a day.

Sitemaps are really easy to install too, there are a lot of plug-ins that do this automatically for you but even doing this manually is simple, it’s just a matter of uploading a file to your website via your hosting control panel.

Thou Shalt Not Use Black Hat Techniques

There are too many black hat techniques to name but if you are placing links without permission, using deceptive methods or trying to con the search engines then you are engaging in black hat tactics.

This is another way you can get your websites thrown into the search engine abyss. They are usually high risk, high reward methods that only work in the short term and ruin websites in the long term.

Thou Shall Use Analytics

Analytics is the probably the most important thing any website can have. It allows you to track your visitor’s site usage; from the keywords that led them to your site, to the pages they visited to the reasons why they visited.

You can drop keywords that aren’t working and focus more on keywords that are working. It is another thing that is really easy to install and it will give you more valuable data than you can shake a stick at.

Thou Shalt Not Beg for Links

There is nothing worse than getting a webmaster emailing you or leaving a comment simply asking for a link to their website offering nothing of value in return. Instead of begging for a link, try to interact and create a relationship with the webmaster so it’s not like they’re giving a link away to a stranger.

Or you could offer something in return that the webmaster will appreciate, that could be a guest post, donate a prize for a contest or whatever – get creative, not desperate.

Thou Shall Get Relevant Links

 When you are looking to get links from other websites, make sure the site is in some way related, it seems obvious but a lot of site owners ignore this simple rule. If you run a website about mountain biking then you’ll rarely find any relevancy from a site about antique rabbit statues made in the 1508.

Getting links from relevant websites will not only help you in terms of SEO but you’ll also get direct visitors from your niche, the visitors will find value in your site and may even convert.

Helpful Resources

Here are some useful links to resources that I’ve touched upon in the 10 commandments of SEO, all of these are incredibly useful and perfect additions to any SEO arsenal.

Analytics

http://www.google.com/analytics/
http://getclicky.com/

Keyword Research

https://adwords.google.com/o/KeywordTool
http://www.google.com/insights/search/

Site Maps

http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156184
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-sitemap-generator/

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This was a guest post written by Luke Matthews, who runs MarketingDegreeAdvisor.com which offers advice and information on online bachelors degree in marketing.

Image:  DirtyLaces.com

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