Optimizing your website for the search engines is extremely important.
Here are 5 sneaky ways to optimize your website for the search engines:
Write content that actually makes sense.
Have you ever visited a website that was clearly written for the search engines? I have. Plenty of them! Content on websites like those look like this: (the keyword they are trying to rank for is "custom widgets" - I probably didn't need to tell you that though!): We sell custom widgets. Our custom widgets are 100% handmade custom widgets. If you're thinking of buying a custom widget, please contact our custom widget specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who wants to read that? I sure don't. You most likely don't want to either. Don't do this. Instead, write as naturally as possible.
Make it easy to find the content visitors are looking for.
People are busy. Why make it difficult and time consuming for them to accomplish what they came to your website to do? Sometimes, video just illustrates a point beautifully, see below just one example of really bad navigation. Vincent Flanders of Web Pages That Suck demonstrates what he calls "mystery meat navigation" in this short video:
Oh, and as a result of creating navigation that is easy for visitors (real human beings) to use, guess what else happens? Yes! The search engines are able to easily navigate as well, and they will reward you for your efforts.
Give your pages Titles
I ran a quick search on Google for "Untitled" and got back over 520 milliion results! Really folks? Titles come from Meta Tags. In the good ol' days, Meta Tags were used for search engine optimization. Now, they are simply used to provide the linking information that displays on Google (or other SE's) in the search results. Each page should have its own title and page description. That way, when the results are displayed in the SERP's (search engines result page) - it displays actionable information that will encourage users to click the link and visit your websie.
Keep it visual
When a picture is worth a thousand words, use one! In other words, if you are writing content about what to do when you get into an automobile accident, a handy image to use would be of... a car crash. You can find lots of royalty free images online, just make sure you check the license for the image you want to use, and use proper attribution.
[Pro Tip: When you do use images, be sure to name your image with keywords relevant to the surrounding text and then use alt tags to describe the image.]
Keep your sitemap up to date
Sitemaps are great. Visitors can use them to dig deep into your website quickly. Search engines use them to index and rank your website. Its a win-win situation.
Are you wondering why I titled this5 sneaky (But Whitehat!) ways to optimize your website for search engines, when in fact; they are not sneaky at all? I did that because people tend to think of search engine optimization as rocket science. When in fact; it is not. It's very time consuming, don't get me wrong, but rocket science it is not. And when you just simply keep things human and use a little common sense, it really can go a long way with your visitors and with the SE's.