Search engine optimization, also known as SEO is a volatile industry. Google changes can come at any moment and some are worse than others. It doesn’t help they name their updates after cute animals like pandas and penguins (honestly who doesn’t like to see a cute panda?). Anyway, I digress, SEO might be a roller coaster, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t do’s and don’ts you can live by.
Do—Stay Current on Industry News
No matter if you have been doing SEO since the beginning of it’s inception, or just started today, you have to stay current on new trends. Google is fickle, and what was an industry best-practice may not be the next. Read, read, read. You’ll be happy you did. Some great blogs to follow are SEOMoz, SearchEngineLand and Search Engine Journal.
Ever, ever EVER! Buying links to boost your rankings is known as a black hat tactic. Black hat SEO tactics are SEO practices that can trick Google into thinking your site is relevant in certain areas, even though it doesn’t add value to the user. Most reputable businesses don’t practice this, however it can be tempting to dabble in black hat tactics every now and then. Just say no to the apple.
Do—Research Your Keywords
When deciding what keywords to optimize your website make sure you are choosing words that are relevant for searchers. Sometimes industry jargon won’t be the same as keywords you want to optimize your site. Google provides a great free tool to search and give you keywords ideas—you can find it here.
Don’t—Write Just for the Search Engines
You will hear a lot that content is king. This is true, nothing is better than high valuable content. At the end of the day that is what gets shared, liked and tweeted. If you want good quality content, you can’t always write for the search engine. There is such as a thing as over optimization. Instead, write great content, the rest will follow.
Do—Research Your Competitors
SEO is an extension for many online marketing plans. As such, you need to identify your SEO competition and see what they are doing. What keywords are they using? How is their site laid out? The point of this research isn’t to copy your competitors, but to see what works and what doesn’t in your niche. Remember at the end of the day, what works for one site might not work as well for another. SEO is a test and study what works for your site.
The main thing to remember is SEO is an ever-changing industry. There are a lot of jobs out there—so make sure you are up for the challenge. SEO is a great part of the online marketing industry. Many believe SEO is an art and a science. If you are someone who likes being analytical, but also creative this is a great career path for you.
Guest Author – Abby Evans is an avid blogger who writes on everything from how to find jobs in Toronto to outlining the principals of how to write a killer blog post.