101 Essential SEO Tips for increasing traffic

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Search Engine Optimization is an important part of any website, doing SEO wrong or not doing any SEO will lower then number of visitors that will reach your site and you will not rank between the top search results. There are some essential tips you should know, they will help you drive more traffic to your site and rank better in the search results. I gathered on this page 101 SEO tips that you should read at least once, you will most likely won't need to use all of them, but at least they will give you a idea if what you are doing is good or bad.

  1. Target a single topic. If you take a closer look at the most popular websites you will see that almost all of them focuses on one topic. You can write about other stuff as well, but you should mainly focus only on your site's topic and close related stuff.
  2. Your content must be new and unique. It seem easy to start a new site and just copy content form other websites, modify it a little, then post it on your own. Well this will be just a waste of your time, you will have to do thousands of posts to get a fraction of the traffic you would get if you do it the right way.
    If finding new content for your niche is hard you can focus on some keywords than do a search to see what your competition writes about that topic. Than try to do that better, read 10 articles, extract all the parts that you find important and merge them into an post that covers all of them.
  3. Ignoring SEO means no visitors. You should focus on some basic SEO at least, else search engines will not find your website at all.
  4. Link to internal pages in your website. Everyone focuses on getting backlinks from other sites, but your internal page links are very important also. Take a look at wikipedia, on each page there are dozens of links to other internal pages, and wikipedia articles always rank in the first 3 search results.
  5. Target commercial intent keywords. Your target visitors should be the visitors who are willing to spend money, not those who just search for information.
  6. Focus on getting backlinks from trusted sites. The quality of a backlink is given by the trustworthy of the source. Getting backlinks form bad sources will negatively impact your SEO.
  7. Make your address and phone number visible on every page. This will increase your SEO if you own a local business website. Having your address and phone number everywhere builds trust and search engines will rank you better.
  8. Put your keywords in the title. Your pages titles must contain the keywords you aim first and the other words after them. Don't use keywords that are unrelated with your article.
  9. SEO must be done ON and OFF site. You can't focus only on the internal SEO optimizations or the external SEO, like quality backlinks. For best results you have to work on both.
  10. Avoid use of heavy JavaScript or Jquery. Adding fancy animations to your website may seem like a nice way to impress your visitors, but in fact is the opposite. People come to your site for quality information, fancy menus and image sliders have no impact. Using to much scripts will increase the loading time of your website, and this will translate in worse search results ranking.
  11. Use social networks. Make Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Youtube etc. pages for your website. Many people uses social networks and building an audience on them will result in an increase number of steady visitors flow.
  12. Put your general keywords in the important paces. Make sure the main keywords of your website are in the description, tags. domain name, categories, pages title and of course your content.
  13. SEO doesn't work the same on all websites. If someone has an successful SEO strategy this doesn't mean that it will work on your website. There are many variables to take into consideration.
  14. Place your keywords in the first paragraph. Your page will rank better if the relevant keywords are at the beginning of the page.
  15. Add content regularly. You should add new content every 1-2 days, if a long period of time passes and no new content is added, google will begin to drop your search result. 
  16. Site age matters. A new site will not do well no matter the amount of SEO it has. The authority and trust builds in time and you shouldn't have high expectations in the first few months.
  17. NO duplicated content. Search engines loves unique content and if they find duplicate posts on your website they will not be happy. If you have to much similar content in your pages you will be penalized by the search engines.
  18. Avoid getting penalties from Google. You should be careful with SEO and don't overdo-it, Google is the biggest SE and getting a penalty from them will result in a massive loss of visitors, and it will take you a long time to recover. 
  19. Always improve your website. You shouldn't think of your website like it's finished, instead always tray to improve it and add new content.
  20. Your link's extension is not important. No matter how your links end they have no impact on your SEO, you can use anything you like: .html, .htm, .asp, .php.
  21. Let Google find your pages. You should let the crawlers to find your new content on their own, they will most likely rank better that those submitted via XML Sitemaps.
  22. Include your keywords in the permalink. Some websites have random permalinks like: "http://sitename.com/?p=23" or "http://yoursite.com/frrg2d5e3". You should avoid to use such permalinks, instead use targeted keywords, like: "http://yoursite.com/awesome-post"
  23. SEO is not an instant thing. If you do search engine optimizations to a page the results will not be visible right away, it can take days, week or even months until the search engines will credit them.
  24. Is your content worthy of the 1st page? Take an objective look at your content, is it better than the competition? If not it will not rank higher than your competition. Analyze what you did wrong and how you can improve the content.
  25. Focus on long-tail keywords. Long-tail kewords are searches of phrases made from more than 4 keywords, and they represent over 40% of the searches. Targeting them makes it easier to rank on the top results.
  26. Link to other websites with related content. Linking to other sites, especially sites better ranked than yours, will increase your trust and authority and with a bit of luck they may links back to your site.
  27. Update your pages frequently. An old page that is constantly managed will rank better than an forgotten page. Sites like wikipedia rank high because their pages are constantly maintained and improved.
  28. Write for humans. You have to write your content for humans not search engines. Stuffing a page with unnecessary keywords will make it look spammy and the real visitors won't find it appealing. Search engines are very good of detecting the content written for robots and those pages will not do well on search results.
  29. What SEO you do is your responsibility. Search engines doesn't know if you done mistakes without knowing, they will penalize your site and you are the only one responsible for this.
  30. Stay up to date with SEO. The search engine optimizations are not a fixed thing, the rules changes often and you should be informed about the modifications.
  31. Lose things slowing your website. The loading times of an site play a major role in search engines algorithms. If something is not essential to your website you'd better get rid of it, this includes large images, flash graphics, music players, complicated scripts and unnecessary plugins.
  32. Aim for the top 3. Being on the first page on search results is a good thing, but your target should always be top 3. Most of the people who search for something usually finds that info within the first 3 results. The traffic you will get if you are lower than 3rd position is less than 10% of the whole traffic.
  33. Write a meta description to each page. Meta descriptions are still used by search engines, you should make unique descriptions to every page, they need to reflect the content on your page and be no longer than 160 characters. Find phrases that will attract people when they see them.
  34. Use synonyms with your keywords. Don't fill a page with just a few keywords, instead search for synonyms of them and include them in the post. Search engines are great of recognizing synonyms and love pages that have diversity.
  35. Do SEO right now. Don't be lazy, start right away with SEO, the longer you postpone it, the better your competition will do, and catching them will become harder.
  36. Research your keywords. Choosing keywords with a small amount of monthly searches will be a time waste. No matter how many SEO you will do and how many backlinks you get, if people does't search for them you won't get any traffic. Use Adwords Keyword Planner to research your keywords.
  37. Build quality backlinks. Backlinks are your reputation on the internet, getting backlinks from quality websites in your niche will boost your traffic very well. It is hard but in time backlinks will come, you just need to have high quality content and backlinks will come naturally.
  38. Avoid bad backlinks. Getting backlinks from niches that are not related to yours is a bad strategy, they will not do you any good, instead you may be penalized for it. Also avoid use of Blackhat SEO for getting backlinks, it may work for a small period of time but google will eventually catch up, and you will get an hard penalty.
  39. Stick with one domain name. Before you make a new site think very hard of what domain name your want. Site age is a major ranking factor, and changing your domain name every 6 months will not allow your website to mature and build trust.
  40. Study your competition. Find the top sites in your niche and analyze what have they done to rank so high, what internal and external SEO they did.
  41. PageRank is not that important. The PR of an page is an insignificant part of ranking algorithms. You will often see pages with lower PR that outrank higher PR pages in the search results. 
  42. Write titles that stand out. Use <strong> and <em> tags to enforce the relevant keywords, search engines recognize this tags and will rank those keywords better.
  43. Paid links are useless. Apart from getting a few clicks there is nothing you gain. 
  44. Try to bring fresh content. Search ranking like new content, and if you are the first one who writes on that subject search engines will rank you high, and it will be very hard for someone to pass you.
  45. There is no magical number of keywords. How many times your keywords appear on an page must be done the natural way. There is no fixed number of keywords per article length. Of course overusing the keywords damages your seo.
  46. Avoid pages with little content. Google will give a penalty to the pages with little content, like a picture or 2 phrases. Search engine nowadays focuses on extensive quality articles that covers all the aspects of a topic.
  47. Use your keywords in the internal links and backlinks. If your link targets a page called "Apple Juice" your link should be called "Apple Juice" not "Click Me" or "Go To".
  48. Use videos in your articles. The videos will increase the time visitors stay on your site and you get links from the video sharing sites.
  49. Avoid keyword stuffing. Repeating a keyword phrase to many times will automatically lead to a penalty.
  50. Don't think of an fixed number of backlinks. Building links should be a never ending process, with an consistent and steady evolution.
  51. Engage with your visitors. Don't ignore their emails, replay to their comments, organize contests, ask for their opinion. In other words create a bond with them that will make them return to your website.
  52. Take advantage of Google’s free tools. Google Analytics and Google Webmasters are powerful tools that will tell you how many visitors reach your website, what are the to keywords that brings traffic, your conversion rates, useful diagnosis about your website and much more.
  53. Make your website mobile-friendly. The number of visitors coming from smartphones and tables is constantly increasing, having an responsive template will result in a better user experience and likely better ranking. If your competition has an mobile friendly layout than you should also do the same.
  54. Create a sitemap. Search engine crawlers will find your pages faster if you create a sitemap with links to all of your pages.
  55. Image descriptions. Adding "ALT" tags to your images is the best way to inform crawlers of what your image contains. Crawlers can only understand text, so describe your images as best as you can. Apart the "ALT" tag you should also add captions to your images with that describe the content.
  56. Utilize Heading Tags. Heading tags are specially treated by the search engine, they act like a summary of the paragraph, and you should include relevant keywords in them. You should use at least two heading tags in a page, like <h2> and <h3>.
  57. Get links from .gov or .edu domains. Those type of domains have a high authority and credibility because they are not available to everyone. Getting a backlink from the can be hard but it will pay off.
  58. Link to your own websites. If you have multiple websites create a linking network with them.
  59. Get rid of unnecessary outbound links. Your outbound links should focus on pages that will prove helpful to your visitors.
  60. Promote other's people content on social networks. If you help other people by promoting them, they will find out and there is a strong chance that they will return the favor.
  61. Chose a niche that has search engine traffic. No matter how many SEO you are doing if you are in the wrong niche your rankings will remain unchanged. People often make the mistake of starting with a Funny Pictures/Videos website. This kind of websites get their traffic from social networks and most likely payed for their followers.
  62. Fix canonicalization issues. You should consider just one domain, "http://www.mysite.com" or "http://mysite.com". Chose one and than set-up a 301 redirect for it.
  63. Market your content. You need to market your content so people will find it, share it and link to it. Without marketing your content will be found at slower rates by the target audience.
  64. Getting backlinks is a tough job. The more you work for getting a backlink the more valuable it will be.
  65. Use your existing relationships to get backlinks. People you know, partners, costumers or suppliers will link back to your site if you ask them, don't be shy.
  66. Each page should focus on a single keyword phrase. Instead of trying to cover many keywords with one page, you should focus only on one phrase and you will rank higher this way.
  67. Get help from Google. Visit their Webmaster Guidelines and Webmaster Help Videos to find useful information that will help you optimize your pages.
  68. Upload your videos to different sites. The videos you blended with the search results are not all from youtube. Upload your videos to other platforms like DailyMotion, Metacafe, AOL, MSN and Yahoo.
  69. Surround your videos with rich keywords content. The search engine are not able to interpret what a video is about, you will have to surround the video with rich descriptions to inform the search engine about the video content.
  70. Your pages are ranked, not the website. The whole site plays a role in the rankings but a much bigger role is played by individual pages. Search engines rank different keywords based on the quality of the content in a page.
  71. Get keywords ideas from your audience. The people who visit your website see it different, finding what they are interested the most in will translate in better keywords associated with your business.
  72. You can use Pay Per Click combined with SEO. If you have the money you can use both of them to drive traffic to your pages. The advantage of PPC is that you will get high quality traffic that is interested in your keywords/business.
  73. Make sure your website is indexed by search engines. Don't play with robots.txt if you don't know what you're doing, making some bad changes can make your site invisible to search engines.
  74. Submit your new post to Google manually. Is better to let Google find your pages, but if you have a fresh site it may take a long time until Google crawler revisit your website and adds your new pages to the index. Use Submit URL Tool to let Google know you added new content. The new pages will appear in the search results in 30 seconds to 10 minutes.
  75. Surround your links with related keywords. Add descriptive text near your links to make the count more in search engines "eyes".
  76. Make your domain ownership public. If you register an domain and opt for private info about your details, it will rise suspicions to search engines who will consider you as a potential spammer.
  77. Link your pages with each-other. You should have at least one link pointing to each page from other internal or external pages. Pages that have no links to them don't do well in the search results.
  78. Use only one home page link. If your visitors reach you homepage trough "http://www.mysite.com" and then they are redirected to a "http://www.mysite.com/index.html" is not good for SEO. Make your internal homepage address one and the same. 
  79. Frames, Flash and AJAX should be avoided. If you absolutely have to use any of them try to keep them as light as you can, else search engines won't have any content to index.
  80. Pay special attention to the images you use. If the content in your site is mostly made from images you have to surround the with descriptive text and keywords. 
  81. Get your site listed in relevant directories to your niche. Nowadays directory listings have almost no impact on SEO, but there are still a few that will prove worthy to your niche.
  82. Aim for many different source off traffic. Google is the biggest source of traffic, but is not the only one. Build a independence audience base with social networks, make sure your website is also on the other major SE like bing.com and yahoo search.
  83. Add links on your homepage to your popular pages. Links coming from your homepage will improve the authority of the linked pages, and this will also improve their ranking in SERP.
  84. Target for relevant keywords. If you target relevant keywords there will be easier to rank higher and faster for them.
  85. Reach out to bloggers in your niche. Try to establish relationships with other blogs relevant to your, share your ideas with them, promote their blogs and they will return the favor.
  86. Don't steal content form other websites. Search engines doesn't treat kindly duplicated or stolen content, the moment they find it they will downgrade your page or even the whole website.
  87. Use absolute links. This will simplify the navigation of your website and prevent different problems, also if somebody is scraping your content you will receive a backlink.
  88. Don't put your blog title in the titles of your post. Optimize your post titles with keywords relevant to the post, putting your website title won't help.
  89. Make compact titles for your pages. You shouldn't make your post titles to long, include only the most relevant keywords in them.
  90. Include graphs, stats and charts in your posts. Plain text content is not very attractive, try to include visual reinforcements to your ideas, this will make your content more appealing and people will be more likely to share your content.
  91. Share your posts on Google+. The shared links on Google+ do not contain "rel=nofollow" tags, so this is an easy way to get some quality backlinks.
  92. Go for your competition backlink source. Find who linked to your competition and try to obtain a backlink from the same source.
  93. Be active on relevant websites and forums. Make yourself known and build your trust and new relationships with people.
  94. Use an simple and intuitive template. Your users should be able to access anything in your website with just 3 clicks.
  95. Make a custom 404 error page. Place links to your top pages in the 404 error page and visitors who will reach it will stay on your website.
  96. Test your website on the major browsers. Make sure your website behaves properly in all the major browsers: Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera.
  97. Don't be obsessed with Alexa ranking. The Alexa rankings are not as precise as you think, it relies strongly on how many users, who have their toolbar installed, visit a site.
  98. Write “picture” or “image” it the ALT description. Most of the image searches contains one of this two words and the main keyword.
  99. Implement social sharing buttons. Make this buttons in places easy to spot by your visitors. This will increase the chances that your visitors will share your posts.
  100. Host your website on an popular hosting company. Don't try to make savings in this department, a cheap host will not be reliable and you will probably encounter frequent problems with them.
  101. Back-up your website. You'll never know what could happen, be safe and do weekly backups of your website. If you lose your content search engines will quickly drop your website rankings.

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