Whether you’re just starting your first site or you’ve had an online presence for years, when you decide it’s time to learn SEO to help promote your content it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are so many ‘experts’ offering questionable (and often contradictory) advice it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the flood of information.
Once you fight through the endless opinion, though, there are a few solid facts that will help give you grounding in successful SEO. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
1. Start Small
When you’re first starting out you’ll be exposed to a lot of advice, and not all of it will be good. The best way to pick the good from the bad will always be through experimentation, so before you implement any SEO techniques on your money site you should set up a simple test site – maybe a free blog – to use as your testing zone.
Remember that SEO changes can take weeks to have any effect, so you should be careful and patient when testing your techniques. In the world of SEO, better safe than sorry is a useful mantra.
2. Trust Google to Pick Winners
When you’re looking for SEO tips you’ll probably make use of search engines to find useful advice, and while this isn’t a foolproof technique it’s useful more often than not: the advice you find from the front page of Google comes from people who know how to get there.
Think about it. Would you take a stock tip from a guy who never made a profit on the market? Would you take fitness advice from a trainer with a spare tire? Of course not; so why would you take SEO advice from anyone who doesn’t have a track record of success? The articles you’ll find on the front page of Google when searching for advice will have been written by people who took the time to learn SEO better than their competitors.
3. Avoid Black Hat Techniques
‘Black hat’ SEO is the term given to techniques that go against the terms of service for the major search engines. They typically involve doing something sneaky to game the system, and some of the techniques work very well.
However, black hat SEO is a short term solution. Google and others update their algorithms to render black hat techniques ineffective as soon as they discover them, so any benefit you get from breaking the rules won’t last long. Instead, you should treat SEO as a long game. You’re not looking for instant, short term success, but steady long term gains. It’s the only way to truly succeed online.
4. Participate in Blogs and Forums
The dark, dirty secret of SEO is that nobody truly knows exactly how to succeed. Without details of the complex algorithms used by the search engines to determine SERPS positions there’s no sure fire way of learning the rules.
However, some people are better at gleaning important information than others. You’ll soon find bloggers and SEO forum members who seem to have a good bead on things, and while it’s probably not a good idea to listen to every piece of advice you should be able to pick up a regular supply of helpful tips from those who prove themselves sensible and astute.
Of course you’ll also have to wade through a torrent of bad advice to reach the occasional gem, but this is what makes the world of SEO so interesting: if everyone knew how to do it nobody would succeed. It takes wits and common sense to pick the good advice from the bad and with a little luck (and a lot of work) you may be able to prove that you have enough of both to gain an edge over the competition.
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About Author:Johan Hedin is the Managing Director of Marketing Ignite.