Everyone loves a quick SEO win! If you are looking for an effective, evergreen collection of actionable white hat SEO tips and strategies, you have come to the right place.
This article is updated on a regular basis; new search engine optimization tips are being added to it whenever search engines update their rules. Make sure to bookmark it; you may want to read it again in a few months, when the number of SEO tips will be bigger than 101.
The tips are split into categories; use the links below to jump to a specific category, or simply scroll down the page to read them all in order.
It's exactly what we use to rank our blog posts on Google's first search results page.
We will also send you fresh SEO tips and news once a month.
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Part 1: Site Design & Architecture
1. Always plan your site structure before starting to build it. Make sure that the content is structured logically, allowing you to use targeted keywords for all the relevant categories.
2. Create dedicated pages for each targeted keyword, but don’t go overboard with it. If you target the “small business seo” keyword, for example, you should create a
page on your site.
Resist the temptation to create other pages for similar keywords like “small business seo tips”, “how to do seo for my small business”, and so on. If you follow a good search engine optimization strategy, you will be able to rank a page for several related keywords. Having similar pages on the same website can quickly destroy your rankings.
3. If you plan to launch a new site, the chapters of an Amazon bestseller, industry-related book can be used for your website’s categories. It’s a quick and effective way of planning your website structure and it works fine in any niche, provided that you pick the proper book.
Take a look at the TOC of a vegetarian cookbook; as you can see, it can be of great help for people that are interested in designing websites for vegetarians.
4. Any website page shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 clicks away from the home page; otherwise, the link juice will not flow properly, and some pages could end up in Google’s supplemental index/become useless. Make sure to keep website navigation simple and clear for both users and search engines.
5. Be sure to check and fix your website’s HTML and CSS. A few errors won’t get your site penalized; however, if their number exceeds a certain value, Google’s bot may leave your site without crawling it in its entirety. A free HTML/CSS validator can be found here: http://www.onlinewebcheck.com/
6. If you plan to start a new site, consider using WordPress; it is fast, easy to use, and has lots of free, SEO-related plug-ins.
7. Keep the important content above the fold, in the area that’s visible when the page loads, without having to scroll down the page. If your site displays ads, avoid placing them above the fold. Google doesn’t like them, so it will lower your website rankings.
8. The “title” and “description” tags of any page should include the targeted keyword as close to the beginning as possible.
Make sure to include the keyword in the page URL as well. As an example, if you are targeting the “seo tips videos” keyword and your article is titled “10 SEO Tips Videos You Must Watch Today”, the URL structure should look like this:
9. Having a dedicated “Contact Us” page which lists your contact address, phone numbers, etc. is mandatory. Google wants to make sure that you run a real business, and not an affiliate site built for the sole purpose of netting a quick buck.
10. Meta keywords are ignored by Google, but they can still bring in traffic from some of the less popular search engines. Use a few relevant keywords for this meta tag – it may help.
11. Link to other pages of your site whenever it is possible to do that naturally; this will keep the visitors on your website for a longer period of time, boosting your search engine rankings.
12. Add a blog to your site, and then start posting high quality content. By posting useful, properly researched articles that target long tail keywords on a regular basis, you will receive more and more visitors each month.
14. Log into your Google Search Console account. Then, choose “Crawl” -> “Fetch as Google” to let Google crawl your site and evaluate its mobile/desktop compatibility.
15. Google’s Exact Match Domain update has devalued all the domains that were including the targeted keyword in their name. Buying an existing, brandable, aged domain for your new website is still helpful, though.
16. Don’t buy an aged domain for your new website without checking it thoroughly. People have created fake PR9 domains by redirecting them to real PR9 sites, and then they have sold them for large amounts of money, for example. A good domain has many links from industry-related, highly authoritative websites pointing to it.
17. Many people are selling their penalized domains these days. Make sure to Google the URL of the domain that you intend to purchase; if it doesn’t rank #1 in the search results, chances are it’s been penalized.
Don’t forget to check the links that are pointing to it as well – avoid buying any domain, no matter how great it may look, if you see that it has even a few shady backlinks pointing to it.
18. If you plan to buy a new domain, go for a .com extension; most of the big brands ranking to the top of Google own .com domains. If you run a non-profit organization, a .org domain would be more appropriate, of course.
Avoid purchasing a domain name that includes hyphens – it’s seen as spammy most of the time, so you won’t get great rankings with it.
19. Reduce the size of your website pages to a minimum. This means optimizing the images, videos, etc and cutting down the size of the code. Website loading speed is now an important ranking factor, and Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool provides precious insight indeed.
20. Your pages don’t load as fast as they should because the images aren’t properly optimized. Open a website page, and then press the Print Screen key (Windows) or Command + Shift + 3 (Mac). Then, paste the clipboard image into your favorite graphics editor and measure the width of the actual content.
Any image that’s wider than the content wastes server space and diminishes the website loading speed. Repeat the process for your “featured images” as well; it is much better to create properly sized images for them, rather than reuse the big images. For best results, use tools like RIOT to set the best image size/quality compromise.
21. If you have bought a domain but you aren’t ready to launch your website yet, put a 2000+ words, high quality article on the home page and get it indexed – it will allow your site to age naturally, thus helping you rank it faster when you are prepared to promote it.
Part 2: Keyword Research
22. Ask Google what are the keywords your website should be ranking for. Go to Google’s Keyword Planner Tool, and then input the URL of your website in the “Your landing page” field, without typing any keyword in the “Your product or service” field.
Google will scan the content of your website, returning a list with hundreds of keywords that it considers to be good SEO candidates.
23. Use sites like Wikipedia, Quora and Reddit to discover unique keyword ideas. Visit them, type in the keywords that interest you in their search boxes, and then pick the most relevant results.
24. Discover your competitors’ keywords using tools like SEMrush, Spyfu and Ahrefs (my favorite). Then, test each keyword using all the methods listed below; you will discover that some of them are either useless or too competitive. Incorporate the winners into your content creation and outreach strategy.
25. Test if a certain keyword is profitable for SEO by running a small pay per click (PPC) campaign for it. Create a Google AdWords account, and then set up an AdWords campaign using your keyword list. Use conversion tracking and wait for a few days, until you gather enough data; then, examine the results and you will discover the set of winning keywords.
26. The free (but much less accurate) version of the method above would be to target keywords that have a 90+ AdWords competition score. Some of these keywords may not be very profitable for you because of your website’s particular design, call to action, and so on.
27. The “allintitle” Google search operator can help you determine if a keyword is very competitive. Just type “allintitle:your keyword” (without using the quotes) in Google and you will see the number of website pages that were optimized for your keyword. Any value above 50,000 will require a serious SEO effort.
28. Nevertheless, after checking the “allintitle” competition, the decision to target a particular keyword (or not) should be taken only after evaluating the strength of the top 10 competitors. There are keywords that return hundreds of millions of Google search results and yet have a weak top 10, while searches for other industries will only display a few thousands of search results, despite having a very strong top 10.
29. Take user intent into account. Most buyer keywords have prefixes like buy, discount, how to, cure, coupon, help for, etc. Your keywords/website pages should help solve other people’s problems.
30. Voice search will become very important within the next few years; most people use their mobile devices to perform online searches. Keep that in mind when doing keyword research; you want your site to show up on the first Google page when people are asking their smartphones “search for a gas station in Charleston”, for example.
31. Check Google’s first search results page for each keyword that you plan to target. Some of the organic results may be pushed below the fold by ads, knowledge graphs, and so on, so they may not be worth the effort.
32. Don’t rely on a single tool to get your data and make a decision. As an example, don’t use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner as the single source for keyword search volume data; it is always better to compare the data sets offered by at least two different sources.
33. Choose keywords you can easily rank for. Stay away from highly competitive keywords that are targeted by the big companies, or prepare to spend a lot of time and money with your SEO without having any guarantee that you will win the fight. Fortunately, the big guys don’t care about keywords that have hundreds of searches per month, while a small business owner can make a decent living by getting good rankings for a dozen of carefully chosen, low competition keywords.
34. A decent (free/paid) desktop-based rank checker that will track the rankings for your keywords in Google, Bing and Yahoo can be found here: Link Assistant’s Rank Tracker.
35. Don’t check your keyword rankings more than once a week; daily rankings changes are irrelevant for long term success, not to mention that observing the ranking fluctuations on a daily basis can cause a great deal of stress.
Part 3: Content Tips
36. Check out websites like Alltop, Popurls and reddit on a regular basis to get popular content ideas for your articles.
37. Get original ideas for your next article from Wikipedia, Answers.com, YouTube, Google, Bing, Yahoo and Amazon at soovle.
39. Make your blog posts engaging by adding high quality multimedia content to them: images, infographics, videos, etc. This will also boost their number of social media shares.
40. The duplicate content penalty has to do with having duplicate content pieces on your own website, and not with somebody else reusing your website content; otherwise, news sites, press release sites and lyrics sites would be penalized. Just make sure that there aren’t any duplicate/very similar pages on your website.
Use Google searches similar to the one below:
to reveal pages that may have similar content. Then, compare the actual articles and remove the similar paragraphs (if needed).
The returned articles may be 100% unique, so only make changes if you determine that they have identical or very similar sections.
41. If your website really needs to host duplicate content (printer-friendly pages, etc) you should prevent the search engines from discovering more than a copy. Use robots.txt to block access to all the pages that shouldn’t be crawled by the search engines.
42. Get rid of “necessary” duplicate content (privacy policies, and so on) by creating images that include the needed text. It is much better to display an image instead of using the same text on your website pages over and over.
43. If you run an e-commerce website, take the time to rewrite all the product descriptions, turning them into engaging calls to action. If you simply copy/paste the manufacturers’ descriptions, you’re going to have a hard time trying to rank those product pages. Most people are lazy, so there are probably thousands of identical text snippets in Google’s index for each product you’re trying to sell.
44. Create content without taking into account a specific keyword density, etc. Write for users and the search engines will reward you for that. More information about this can be found in the how to future proof your website article.
45. Pages with longer content (1,000+ words) that provide all the needed info about a particular topic rank better than ever before.
46. If you don’t have something interesting to write about, well… don’t write anything. Better wait a few more days or weeks, jot down as many ideas as possible, and then write a fantastic content piece. Tools like Buzzsumo can help you find the most shared, industry-related articles.
47. Take the time to create a piece of content that’s better than the ones discovered by Buzzsumo. Use a backlinks discovery tool to find out who has linked to the original articles, and then show them your much better content to earn some high quality backlinks.
48. Diversify your content: create videos, interview industry experts, organize a contest, etc.
49. If you have created a great piece of content, be sure to repurpose it into a video, a presentation, etc. Then, upload these new content pieces to the top video sharing sites, on SlideShare, etc.
50. Use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to discover the keywords with the highest cost per click values in your industry. Choose the ones that have a low search volume (less than 100 searches per month) and then write blog posts that target those particular keywords. If you manage to rank the blog posts well enough, you have gotten yourself a good source of inexpensive, high quality leads.
51. Use Quora to understand the main problems of your potential customers. Then, write a report that solves/answers them and give it away on your website, or upload it to the top document sharing sites.
52. Don’t use spun content on your website or on other people’s sites; Google doesn’t like it because it doesn’t offer a good user experience and wastes its resources. If you and I can easily spot spun content, be sure that it’s easy for Google to do that as well.
53. Keep your content updated, or prepare to see it losing its good rankings. Update the information whenever something changes, fix the errors and get rid of broken links. If your site is built using WordPress, plug-ins like Broken Link Checker can help you save a lot of time.
54. Don’t be afraid to link out to authoritative websites in your industry. Yes, you are losing some link juice, but this is a positive sign which tells Google that you aren’t keeping it all for yourself.
55. Make Google index your new blog posts fast. Log into your Google Search Console account, choose “Crawl” -> “Fetch as Google”, type in the URL of your new article, and then click “Fetch”; your fresh content will be indexed right away.
Part 4: On-page SEO Tips
56. All paid and affiliate links should have their “nofollow” attribute set. According to Google, these links don’t transfer PageRank or anchor text, so (in theory) nofollow links won’t provide any SEO benefits to the sites that you are linking to.
<a href=”http://www.yoursite.com/your-affiliate-url” rel=”nofollow”>This is an affiliate link</a>
57. Google has stated that having low quality pages on your site could lead to a Panda penalty for the entire website. If you have several tiny website pages with 50…200 words texts each, consider merging them or moving them to a folder that will not be indexed by the search engines.
59. Your images should be SEO-optimized as well. Make sure to include the targeted keywords in their file names, titles and alt tags.
60. Most search engines can read the simple text that appears on a website’s bitmap-based buttons now. Use that to your advantage if you can’t switch to plain text links (your boss doesn’t like them?) by placing the targeted keywords on those bitmaps.
61. Google will usually display the first 50-60 characters from your title tag in its search results. As a general rule, your article titles should fit nicely into a 512 pixels display. Keep the title tags short and punchy; otherwise, they will not be displayed in their entirety in Google’s search results.
62. Create unique titles and description tags; add them to any article and page that doesn’t include them. The description tags should be limited to 150 characters. They may be displayed by the search engines, so make sure to turn them into powerful calls to action.
63. Avoid using dynamic URLs; it is much better to redirect them to their static equivalents.
64. Add Google Authorship tags to your website pages; create a Google+ account, and then link it to your website. If you use WordPress, there are many free plug-ins that will do that for you.
This tells Google that you are a real person who is running a real website, thus boosting your site’s TrustRank.
65. Check and fix the 404 errors; they contain links to website pages that no longer exist, and Google doesn’t like that. Use Google’s Search Console or Screaming Frog SEO Spider to discover the 404 errors.
If your site makes use of microdata, it will attract people’s attention, boosting the click-through rate and thus improving keyword rankings.
67. Do your on-page SEO properly, and then forget about it! You are going to get great rankings through powerful off-page SEO (backlinks) so it is always better to concentrate your efforts on attracting high quality links.
Part 5: User Experience Tips
68. Google evaluates the quality of a site by taking relevance, content quality, compatibility and loading speed into account. If people like your content, engage with it and visit your site regularly, Google will send you more visitors.
69. Tabbed content and pages with infinite scrolling should be avoided. Don’t force people to click buttons or scroll down the page to reveal more of your content – search engines may fail to read it in some cases, and you don’t want that to happen.
70. Pop-ups may be a necessity, but don’t forget to take user experience into account. Google will penalize your site if you display huge pop-ups on tiny smartphone screens, hiding the actual content. It’s best to use brightly colored buttons for your calls to action on the mobile version of the site.
71. Install a heat map tracker like Crazy Egg to determine how people are using your website. This will help you see the things from their perspective, allowing you to make the needed changes.
People that land on any of your website pages should always and easily find what they were searching for.
72. Use high quality images for your articles. Yes, they may cost money, but they look much better than the free ones – that’s why you pay for them! In addition to this, few people are using them, so you may also get some website traffic from Google Images and other image search engines.
73. Your website visitors have a much shorter attention span these days, so don’t ignore interactive content, highly visual content like infographics, videos, etc. This type of content will keep them loyal, making them return for more, and search engines like that.
74. Keep an eye on your click-through rate. If the site ranks OK for a particular keyword, but very few people click through to your page, there must be something wrong with the page title and/or its description.
Use Google Search Console to determine the click-through rate for the keywords that matter, and then fix the pages with problems.
75. Write down the titles and descriptions of the AdWords ads that are displayed on the first Google page when you search for the targeted keywords. The advertisers have invested a lot of time and money into perfecting those ads, so they’re a great source of ideas for your own titles and descriptions.
76. Lower your website’s bounce rate. Whenever somebody clicks your website page in Google’s search results, skims through it for a few seconds, and then returns back to Google, this tells the search engine giant that something’s bad. In SEO terms, the “dwell time” is too short.
Why does this happen? Maybe you have made a promise in your page title and description tags, but you haven’t kept it in the actual content. Or maybe your content was poorly written or incomplete. No matter what happened, the visitor wasn’t happy. And when the visitor is not happy, Google will move your site out of the way, because it wants to offer its users the best experience.
So how do you fix a low bounce rate? Begin by making your content much more attractive. Maybe you can rewrite it, add more info to it, add some great images, videos, and so on. Don’t forget to interlink your articles, thus giving your readers the chance to discover more of your great content.
77. Use Google Analytics or your favorite analytics service to discover your site’s exit pages. Then, try to determine why people leave and make the needed changes on those exit pages. You want to increase the average time they’re spending on your site to at least a few minutes.
Part 6: Off-page SEO / Link Building Tips
78. SEO Spyglass is a free/inexpensive tool which can detect most backlinks that were built to a particular website.
79. Learn to use and combine Google’s advanced search operators; this will give you the chance to discover link opportunities that nobody else is aware of. A few examples are: intitle, inurl, intext.
80. Mix regular search operators to create Google queries that highlight less exploited link opportunities. As an example, many people will try to find guest blogging opportunities by typing their keyword + “write for us” into Google’s search box, but only a few of them will also search for their keyword + “write for me”.
81. Master the advanced search operators for Yahoo, Bing, etc, and then use these search engines to discover unique link opportunities that Google will love.
82. PageRank is gone for good, so learn to evaluate the strength of a particular website using Majestic SEO’s Citation Flow/Trust Flow and Moz’s Domain Authority/Page Authority.
83. Try to avoid sitewide (sidebar, footer, etc) links; Google has learned that they are used to manipulate its search results, so it may choose to penalize your site. It’s best to contact the people that have linked to your website that way and ask them to remove the links. Contextual links (links surrounded by text) are much safer and more valuable.
84. Stay away from reciprocal link building/link exchanges; they can affect your rankings. Google also learned about three way linking several years ago, so resist the temptation to go that route.
85. Press releases are only useful when they present interesting news and company achievements, attracting the industry leaders’ attention and making them link to your site. Don’t try to use them for SEO purposes – they will only provide a temporary boost for low competition keywords.
86. Keep your link request emails as short as possible. Don’t just ask for a link, because you won’t get it; make sure to offer something valuable in return. Here’s an article that discusses what makes a great outreach email. Don’t be afraid to call the webmaster if you think that your website would be a great link candidate for his or her site.
87. A good link doesn’t just have a big authority, but sends targeted website visitors as well.
Alexa isn’t the most reliable website popularity tool in the world, but it’s still a decent way of separating the dead sites from the rest. Stay away from any site that has an Alexa rank below 5,000,000.
88. Set up Google Alerts for your website URL and company name. This way, you will be able to discover websites that have mentioned your site, but haven’t linked to it. Discover the valuable sites, contact their webmasters, and then politely ask them to turn the mentions into backlinks.
89. Make sure to vary the anchor text used for your backlinks, especially if you go after money making keywords. Google’s algorithm is now smart enough to understand what a particular website page is about, so don’t just focus on a few anchors. When in doubt, go for brand and URL-based anchor texts.
Study your competitors and find out what they are using for their anchors; this will give you lots of ideas.
90. Don’t obsessively target dofollow links! Nofollow links are useful as well, because they create a natural backlinking profile and help improve your rankings.
91. Many people use nice looking infographics to gain high quality backlinks; if you lack the needed skills, you can use online tools like infogr.am or Piktochart to create them.
93. Don’t waste your time trying to build hundreds of low quality links; better use that time to try and get a few high quality backlinks from websites that would be inclined to link to your site naturally, because they like your content.
94. A 100% ethical way of getting high quality, traffic producing backlinks is to add your online business to well known sites like Google Maps, Bing Maps, Manta, Yellow Pages, and so on. Discover more ways of getting high authority backlinks for free.
95. Having a very diverse backlinks profile is beneficial; in addition to this, it will make it very hard for your competitors to understand and copy your SEO strategy.
96. Use Google Alerts to track news about newly launched websites; these sites will be looking for fresh content most of the time, so they will probably want to post one of your fantastic articles.
97. Make a list with your top 20 competitors (the first two pages in Google’s search results) and then examine the backlinks profile of any fresh site that breaks into top 20 to learn what SEO techniques work efficiently now.
Part 7: Website Traffic Tips
98. Don’t just rely on SEO for traffic. Forum posting, ethical article marketing, guest posting, offline marketing (flyers, etc), Q & A sites, document sharing sites and giveaways are just a few examples of free and inexpensive website traffic sources.
99. Don’t get obsessed with getting as much website traffic as possible; if it doesn’t convert to sales, it is useless! It is much better to target keywords with a lower search volume and big conversion rates, rather than optimize your site for keywords that attract lots of non-paying visitors.
100. Google doesn’t share the keywords typed into its search box by the people who visit your website. Nevertheless, you can still figure out what those “not provided” keywords are about by making use of Google’s Search Console.
Log in, and then choose Search Traffic -> Search Analytics from the left side menu.
101. Get notified when your website receives a sudden website traffic drop by setting up an alert in Google Analytics; this will give you the opportunity to react quickly in case that something unexpected happens. Use Google’s Intelligence Events -> Create a Custom Alert to set it up.
Part 8: SEO Tools
102. Google Analytics is a free website traffic monitoring tool; install it on your website, and then boost the success of the keywords that are already sending visitors to your website by optimizing the existing pages, creating new pages, trying to attract more links to those particular landing pages, etc. If you dislike the idea of having Google monitor your website, StatCounter is a good alternative.
103. Use tools like SEMrush, Spyfu or Ahrefs to determine the keywords for which your site ranks on the second Google search results page. You can significantly boost the rankings of a particular page by simply pointing a link to it from one of your popular website pages. Often times, this may be enough to move your site from the second to the first Google search results page for a particular keyword.
104. Having access to a paid backlinks discovery tool is crucial for any SEO consultant. Still, if money is an issue, you can use Open Link Profiler, a 100% free tool that provides good results. You can export up to 1,000 backlinks per website with a free account.
105. Monitor your website downtime by using free services like UptimeRobot; you will be notified by email and/or SMS whenever your website is down.
106. Use websites like SimilarSites and SimilarWeb to discover web properties that are similar with your site. Find potential partners, competitors, link building opportunities, etc.
107. FAQ Fox will help you discover industry-related questions that are asked by people on various websites. Use this useful online tool to get ideas for your content pieces.
108. Use Google Public Data to discover and analyze data and graphs, and then create great looking infographics, charts, etc.
109. Portent’s Content Idea Generator will quickly help you find catchy names for your articles. Try it; it’s addictive, especially when you start testing various titles using the reload button!
110. I can feel your pain; I’m not a graphics designer either. Tools like Canva make design very easy, though. Use it to create great images for your blog, social media covers, posters, infographics and more.
111. If you use Moz’s DA metric to evaluate the strength of your potential link targets, you will simply love the Bulk DA Checker tool, which can test up to 200 URLs in one go.
112. When was the last time you’ve gotten a strong backlink from a reputable news site? With Haro it’s possible to do just that, whenever you answer an industry-related question asked by a journalist.
113. Sometimes you will want to contact a webmaster, but you won’t be able to find his or her email address. Often times, emails like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org are valid, but how can you know this for sure? You don’t want to email them blindly and be classified as a spammer.
If these things have worried you in the past, cheer up! Online tools like MailTester.com make email verification simple and effective.
114. If you are thinking of getting new SEO clients, it’s best to get all the needed info from them at once. Here’s one of the best seo questionnaires I could find. Don’t forget to get rid of the questions that are useless for you and add the ones that didn’t make it on this list.
115. Often times, SEO and reputation management are used together to boost client’s revenue. But how do you keep track of all the complaints? Fear not, for there’s a Complaints Search Results engine that does just that.
116. A great website loading speed tool that provides a lot of useful information can be found here: http://www.webpagetest.org/. Use it to speed up your site and boost your SEO rankings.
117. Verify that your website is properly optimized by running a free SEO audit. There are several online services, both free and paid, which can run dozens of tests and show you potential problems. SEO SiteCheckup allows you to run a free test each day, for example.
Part 9: Social Media Tips
118. Create matching accounts at all the major social media sites (Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc) and post links to them on your website. Then, make sure to share your blog posts and industry news through social media. WordPress plug-ins like Social Networks Auto-Poster can do this for you automatically, saving you a lot of time.
119. Your amazing content won’t be able to attract visitors on its own, so be sure to have a clearly defined content promotion strategy. Then, each time you publish a fresh blog post, share it on the top social media sites (as shown above) but also send it to the people on your email list, promote it at the top industry related forums, find related questions on Quora and answer them linking back to your new article, and so on.
120. Make it easy for people to share your content through social media; add social sharing buttons at the end of each blog post. If you plan to use WordPress, there are lots of free plug-ins that will do that for you.
121. Make sure to include industry-related keywords and phrases in your social media profiles. Some of them may start ranking fine for certain keywords, because the top social media websites have a huge authority.
122. Don’t just share your own posts; share other people’s articles about trending topics to boost your brand and authority.
123. Use relevant hashtags in your social media posts.
124. Don’t forget to brand any infographics, images, etc that are produced by you and shared on social media, adding your URL to them. It’s a simple way of attracting more visitors to your website, because people may share a great image, but not necessarily its associated URL.
125. Ask people to share your content whenever you feel that you have created a remarkable piece. Don’t ask them to share all your posts, though – it won’t help, unless you are a really popular/funny guy or gal.
126. Measure the performance of your social media channels. Keep track of your number of followers, fans, etc. Resist the temptation to buy them, though; Google can easily determine that your fans are fake, and not real people who post updates on a regular basis.
127. Post your updates on social media when they have the biggest chance of being noticed and shared. Here’s an infographic that shows the best times to post on social media.
Part 10: WordPress SEO Tips
128. WordPress is a great Content Management System (CMS), but its built-in themes aren’t ideal. Be sure to use a theme that’s SEO optimized for your website. Themes that load fast and have various on-page search engine optimization features will keep Google happy.
129. Most WordPress themes get this right, but it doesn’t hurt to check: each page should contain a single <h1> tag, and that tag should be assigned to the page/post title.
130. If you have a WordPress-based blog, its RSS feed URL is http://www.yoursite.com/feed. Grab this URL and submit it to the top RSS directories; you will get backlinks and visitors on autopilot every time you post a fresh article.
131. Optimize your sidebar. I know, it’s the ideal place for those nice-looking widgets and the URLs of your friends’ fantastic blogs, but it can also slow down your site and make people leave earlier than intended, by following one of the outbound links.
132. XML sitemaps will beep the search engines anytime your site is updated. There are several plug-ins that also include XML sitemaps modules, but if you are looking for a simple, lightweight solution, you should install the Google XML Sitemaps plug-in.
133. Install the Yoast SEO plug-in, and then disable the following archives:
– Author archives, for single-author blogs;
– Date archives, if you aren’t using them;
– Subpages of archives.
These settings will prevent Google from indexing useless website pages, reducing the amount of duplicate/unwanted content.
134. Install a caching plug-in. Most of them are free and will significantly boost the speed of your website. Plug-ins like W3 Total Cache serve static HTML versions of the pages to your visitors, rather than making lots of database calls that slow down the site.
The number of options may look intimidating at first, but it is good to know that the plug-in will do its job by simply installing and activating it. You can gain an additional 10-30% speed increase by tweaking the settings, of course.
135. High end hosting providers may offer advanced backup systems, but you can solve the problem even if your site uses an inexpensive shared hosting account. There are several WordPress plug-ins that can back up your files and database – BackUpWordPress, for example.
136. Many bloggers and businesses earn money when people click their affiliate links. Nevertheless, Google can penalize the site if your affiliate links aren’t nofollow. Fortunately, plug-ins like Pretty Link Lite can nofollow your affiliate links automatically, also offering you detailed click tracking reports, and more.
137. As mentioned above, the presence of structured markup can be essential for some online businesses (e-commerce sites, for example). Some developers are aware of this, so they have integrated schema markup code into their themes. But even if your theme doesn’t have built-in schema support, there are many WordPress plug-ins – Schema, for example – that solve the problem for good.
138. Use a “related posts” widget or plugin. This will encourage people to read more of your website pages, boosting dwell time and reducing the bounce rate. Jetpack is installed by default with WordPress, and it includes a related posts feature as well. Other popular plugins are YARPP and Contextual Related Posts.
139. Some plug-ins can slow down your site a lot, making it lose its good rankings. Fortunately, P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) will show you which plug-ins aren’t coded in an efficient manner.
140. Don’t limit yourself to the plug-ins discussed here; there are lots more on wordpress.org! Don’t install any SEO plug-in that looks useful, though. Start by checking its popularity (number of downloads), ratings, compatibility with your WordPress version, tech support, etc.
141. Don’t assign too many categories to a post. If your post (even an excerpt) belongs to several categories/website pages, you have duplicate content. Sure, you can use rel=canonical to specify the preferred version of the page, and thus fix the problem, but it’s best to limit the number of categories for each article to 2 or 3.
142. Choose a good managed WordPress hosting package, or at least a company that offers WordPress-friendly hosting accounts. Managed hosting providers will handle most tech and security related problems, but some of them won’t allow you to install certain plug-ins. Most companies offer a 30 days money back guarantee, so make sure to test the desired hosting package using a dummy WordPress installation.
Part 11: Google Penalties and Recovery
143. Audit your website’s backlinks profile on a regular basis. A few dozens of high quality backlinks will immunize your site, but if you haven’t managed to attract them, make sure to get rid of the bad links and disavow the ones that you can’t control.
Often times, people will build bad links to your site to hide their own affiliate links that are placed on the same low quality page. Others simply attack your website using negative SEO because it ranks better than theirs, making them lose clients.
144. If your website has gotten a manual penalty, you will see the message in Google’s Search Console.
Manual and automated (Penguin, Panda, etc) penalties lead to lost rankings and significant website traffic drops. Use your website analytics tool to determine what pages are affected.
145. Examine your entire website thoroughly, and then either rewrite the poor/thin content pieces, or dump them for good. Otherwise, you may risk a Google Panda penalty.
146. Links that have been built using automated tools can quickly lead to Google Penguin penalties. Forum profile links, directory links, blog comments links and keyword-rich links are known Penguin triggers. Read this detailed Google Penguin recovery guide to learn more.
147. Make sure to keep your website clean and free from links that point out to shady websites. Update its CMS and plug-ins regularly and back it up regularly. Often times, this can be done by your hosting provider for a small fee, or it may even be included in a regular hosting package.
148. Moderate the content that’s posted by other people on your website: blog comments, forum threads, etc. Keep an eye on links pointing to spammy, low quality and dangerous sites.
149. Check out this infographic and its associated article to learn everything there is to know about Google penalties.
Part 12: General SEO Tips and Advice
150. Avoid using website submission services to get your new website indexed faster – they are useless. You can index a site fast by creating a Search Console account and asking Google to crawl it. Creating matching social media accounts that link to your new site will do the job as well. If you are serious about building a business online, you are definitely going to need those accounts anyway.
151. Adding a forum to your website is a quick, inexpensive way of boosting authority by increasing its number of pages and traffic. Remember to set aside the time that’s needed to moderate the forum, though.
152. Use Copyscape to check if your content has been copied by someone else. Contact the offender and ask him to remove the copied content from his site. If this doesn’t work, report the website to Google; they can take care of the matter.
If people illegally copy and use your articles on a regular basis, you may want to consider purchasing a $10 / month DMCA Website Protection Pro service.
154. Use Google Alerts not only to discover link opportunities, but also to learn about new sites that Google considers to be relevant for your keyword(s). Then, study those sites and try to replicate their success.
155. The quality of your website hosting provider matters more and more. Most search engines will devalue your website if they determine that it is down for long periods of time.
156. Shared hosting is inexpensive, but often times you get what you’re paying for. If your site is hosted on a shared server, verify that you aren’t sharing the same IP with a spammer, because this may affect your rankings. Sites like this will compare your site’s IP address with known spammy IPs.
157. Use a CDN (content delivery network) to speed up your site. It’s a system that caches your website’s static content, storing it in a network of servers. Then, when people access your website, the desired pages are loaded from the servers that are closest to them. Cloudflare is one of the best CDN providers on the market, and they have a free plan that offers enough features for most people’s needs.
158. Type yoursite.com and www.yoursite.com into the browser; if they don’t redirect to the same address (be it with the www or not) you are missing a 301 redirect. Ask a webmaster to help you fix the problem; it’s going to take him a few minutes to do that.
159. Sometimes your website can be hacked without you knowing about it, and the hackers might plant invisible links that point to bad neighborhoods on your site. Perform a “bad_keyword site:yoursite.com” Google search (without using the quotes) to check if your site links to bad neighborhoods or not.
Create your own bad keyword list and check the search results whenever it is needed. A sudden ranking/ website traffic drop is usually the result of a major search engine algorithm update or an indication of the fact that your website has been hacked.
160. Most of the website pages that were moved into Google’s supplemental index can be brought back to life by rewriting their content and building a few high quality links to them.
161. Optimize your site for mobile devices; their number is growing constantly, and you don’t want to lose potential leads because of that. Responsive website designs are the best, easiest to maintain solution. See how your site looks on various mobile devices using websites like MobileTest.me.
162. Always prioritize your website pages, giving more attention to the ones that attract visitors who convert to customers. Write more content to support those top performing pages, and try to attract more links to them.
163. Google favors the sites that use the secure HTTPS communication protocol. It is wise to migrate your site from HTTP to HTTPS, but don’t forget to update the internal links as well, making them point to their HTTPS versions.
164. Time your link building campaign properly, but don’t expect to see great results in a jiffy. Google has incorporated delays into the algorithm, because it wants to prevent SEOs from manipulating the search results. Effective, white hat SEO strategies will boost keyword rankings for sure, but it may take 3…6 months until this happens. The good news is that search engine optimization continues to provide the highest ROI for most businesses.