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How to Succeed at Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a constantly evolving art.

A successful SEO guru will constantly be learning and researching what makes search engines happy and take advantage where competitors have fallen short. A well trained SEO guru will help improve your site’s flow and content to improve your rankings. There are thousands of SEO gurus out there, and just as many tips. So we decided we’d compile those lists for you.

The bottom line in search engine optimization is Text, Links, Popularity, and Reputation, let’s take a look at each of these topics.


Provide relevant, high quality, and informative content on your pages – especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do according to Google’s Steps to a Google-friendly site. This makes sense; if you give your visitors the information they’re looking for, then they will interact with your site longer which signals to search engines that your website has what visitors are looking for.



  • Your website should be setup logically in an organized menu structure.
  • All images and content should be speed optimized.
  • Your website must be mobile friendly.


  • Don’t over-saturate your page with a single keyword.
  • Have your image ALT tags on all images that contain appropriate keywords.
  • Title tags for the page should also start with the page’s keyword.


  • Don’t use graphics to display important content, search engines can’t “read” what’s on a graphic, only its name and ALT tag.
  • Name your image something useful such as “Google-SEO-chart-image.jpg” not “DSC48523.jpg”.
  • Enable “Enhanced image search” in your Google Webmaster Central account. Allowing Google to find your photos will help your SEO efforts.


Videos are very popular online right now, your business should be capturing them wherever you can.

  • Make sure your website and host can handle playing videos smoothly.
  • Videos that show up in Google blended search results don’t just come from YouTube. Be sure to submit your videos to other quality video sites like Vimeo and Yahoo to name a few.
  • Make sure your video descriptions are complete and descriptive.


  • Internal links should be a clear call to action for users to make their next click.
  • Get your website out on “natural links“, aka places you’d expect to find your website listed, such as trade magazines, affiliate sites and industry related blogs and forums.
  • Unnatural links” are those that appear on paid “link farms”.
  • Directory listings are good for search results and local results, but again limit them to the big guys, not every link farm you can find.
  • Backlinks are links that are made on other websites, they link “back” to your website. These can also be links in social media.
  • Understand social media marketing. This is part of search engine optimization – your organization must be on social media.
  • For extra credit, links from .edu domains are seen as extra votes by search engines, search for non-profit .edu sites that are looking for sponsors that provide links from their website to their sponsors.


Face it: the more popular your website is, the higher its search engine ranking.

  • Submit your sitemap through Google Webmaster Tools and other search engines such as Bing.
  • Allow and encourage reviews about your business on Google, social media, Yelp, etc.


There’s no doubt when you look around that mobile is growing. Therefore, so are “near me” searches. Get your business showing up in the “near me” searches by optimizing your Google My Business page.


  • Putting an SSL certificate on your website not only makes Google happy, but helps your reputation as a legit business.
  • Don’t fall for “guaranteed” SEO website services, the providers likely are using black-hat tactics that in the end will get you unlisted by Google and other search engines.
  • Build your SEO results through steady research and ongoing tweaks and updates.

Other Tips

  • Pay-per-click or SEM are not bad things, they also build up your website traffic. But keep in mind, you are renting the traffic, not building the traffic like ongoing SEO does.
  • Check out “rich snippets” they make your search engine listing stand out and few brands have implemented them.
  • Take a look at your site through unbiased eyes. Turn off your Google Personalized Search results by logging out of Google and using an incognito browser, or Append “&pws=0” to the end of your search URL in the search bar.
  • Beware of “black-hat” SEO tactics that attempt to fool search engines with hidden and inappropriate content. According to Google “be careful; if your domain is affiliated with one of these deceptive services, it could be banned from our index.”

In conclusion, search engine optimization is constantly evolving, it takes time and dedication to help your website climb up in search engine result pages (SERPs). Even if you completed every step above, it will still take up to 6 months to see results from SEO. Think of it as building a house, where as Pay-Per-Click or SEM is renting the house. We have had clients run both services simultaneously and eventually were able to decrease their SEM budget when their SEO results were bringing in more continuous traffic at a much lower cost.