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Howdy, my SEO heroes! 2013 has seen great changes to some SEO best practices with Google Penguin and Panda updates that seem to roll out monthly, bummer! As we teach our search engine optimization courses, we’ve had to keep students updated on what to do to their sites that’s Google-friendly.

I’d thought I’d go over some of the best practices for SEO. Hey, it never hurts to cover the fundamentals, does it?

Keyword Research

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…you really can’t do anything to your site, your blog, your videos, your social media unless and until you do keyword research. I don’t care which tool you use, because they all pretty much cough up the same data set, but what I do care about is that you are at least finding the phrases your target market uses to find your business solutions. ‘Nuff said, alrighty?

Unique Meta Tags

I beg you to put some passion and effort into your meta title tags. They are used for ranking purposes, and a compelling title tag will increase your click through rate (CTR). If your CTR goes up, Google will notice, and most likely push that URL up in the search engine results pages (SERPs). As for meta descriptions…yes, Matt Cutts said you don’t need to do them. Fine. But Google will make some sort of snippet, and honestly, I think that if you make the time to create an interesting, unique description tag, it will also boost your CTR. Just sayin’.

Slow, Careful Link Building

The Google Penguin algorithm update was brutal and devastating. I’m seeing sites still getting initial penalties to this day. So, clean up your inbound back links and start back slowly. If you haven’t submitted your site to relevant, authoritative business directories, do so! Check out ubl.org. It’s fast, it’s cost-effective and it’s reputable. Get going with Google Plus; you can generate a few decent back links with it. Carefully, carefully do some limited guest blogging and article writing ONLY on individual sites that relate to your business vertical!

Implement Local Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you depend upon live human beings to use your business services or products face to face, then make sure you work on your local SEO. Doing things like putting your address (including zip code) and local phone on the most important pages of your website will help. Mix up your meta titles and put some geographical information in some of them. There’s a lot to local SEO than this, but let’s not skip the basics, umkay?

While there’s much, much more to SEO than just these four best practices, these are pretty damned important. It’s almost 2014 – what are your plans for improving your website in the new year? If you haven’t done these things, why not schedule them now?

Please…keep it between the ditches, and I’ll get back with you next week!

All the best to you,