Lee Odden

SEO Basics: Top 3 Tactics To Improve Search Engine Rankings

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, SEO, SEO Tips

We continue our series of weekly SEO basics questions and answer today with a question that acknowledges the value of approaching search engine optimization holistically, but indicates a desire to keep things simple and focus on the basics.

“… you mentioned to use a holistic approach to aid in a better SEO, but specifically what might be the “top 3″ things can I do or focus on my website to best help improve my search rankings on Google”

Since Google dominates the search marketplace, you can read their “How can I create a Google-friendly site?” recommendations. Or you can read on for more SEO insight.

SEO is a big topic and many web site owners are overwhelmed, feeling like it’s simply too much to handle, getting “fire hosed” with information from consultants. As a result, they look for bite sized chunks of information – tactics. Sometimes these individual tactics can make a dent in the problem, but not considering the overall picture including current site, competition, online marketplace, resources, ongoing marketing and analytics can result in lost opportunity and bottom line lost revenue.

The smart answer to the question about “top three SEO tactics” to focus on starts with an evaluation of the site in question to see if there are any immediate, high impact opportunities such as unblocking search engine spiders from crawling the site or assessing the content management system and any other major possible barriers to getting crawled and included.

Assuming those questions are solved and the market for the web site is well understood, the next thing is to make sure the site content is targeting the right keywords. Understanding what potential customers are looking for and applying that insight with a content creation and promotion strategy is instrumental for optimial search engine visibility.

There are a variety of free keyword tools to do research on what types of words are being used to find the kinds of products/solutions offered on your web site including the Google Keyword Tool, Google’s Trends for Websites and the Microsoft adCenter Labs Keyword Research Tool. You can also find a list of the best keyword research tools in this list (as voted by our readers).

Search Engine Optimization TipsThe second thing to do is to apply the keyword research you’ve done to the web site and content being published to the web.  Make sure each web page contains unique, descriptive text using relevant and popular keywords. The key on-page influences of keywords on search engine rankings include:

* Keywords in the title tag
* Keywords in text links to your web pages from other relevant web sites
* Keywords in the copy of your web pages
* Keywords used in links between pages of your site

The last thing I’d recommend (I guess this is 4, not 3 tips) is to tell other sites related to your topic about your site and attract links. The bottom line recommendation with link building is to create content worth linking to. But then you need to tell other web sites about it or they won’t know to link to you. This is especially true with new web sites.

Be a resource for your industry and create content of value to potential customers to make the job of finding, evaluating and buying your products/services easier.  It’s also important to create the kind of content that other influential web sites and blogs will want to link to.

For a retailer, this might mean writing product reviews and buying guides. Don’t limit the content to text either. Use images, audio and video. Also, you don’t need high end video production to create a popular video on the web.  For a BtoB company, this might mean a blog that offers a conversational version of your industry point of view, problems/solutions and how that relates to companies in the industries you serve.

Package content so that it’s easy for others to share and pass along. Be consistent in your keyword messaging and branding so that influentials in your industry associate your brand name with the main keywords you want consumers to find you with.

Obviously, you could drill down very deeply into specifics about SEO and marketing tasks from competitive research to using other channels to web analytics, but lets keep this simple.  The top 3 or 4 things to focus on for improved search visibiliy (in my opinion) are:

  1. Make sure search engines have no difficulty in finding and understanding your web site
  2. Research the keywords that are most meaningful for your customers
  3. Use those keywords in your content
  4. Create content and promote content that makes it easy for customers to buy and easy for influentials to link to your resources

What are your top 3 or 4 SEO tips?

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (9 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Simply…

    Titles, Content, Backlinks

    You can’t go wrong when you stick to these. However, there are many other factors and it is impossible to just list 3. For example, you can have great titles, but the pages might all be in flash, or the internal link structure might suck. Or you may be getting backlinks, but none of them count.

    So, I guess if you have some general SEO knowledge, those would be the 3 I hang on to.

  2. What about “transparency”? In Google Adwords, the want to see sitemap, privacy policy and contact us links pointing to such pages on your website.

    I think it’s safe to assume if such a tactic is valuable for Adwords, it’s probably good for Google SEO. In fact, I think most tactics are applicable to both.

  3. Optimizing “H tags”/titles, good keyword density, content and quality backlinks.

  4. My top 4 SEO tips would be:
    1. Make your blog permalinks pretty and SEO friendly
    2. Create a blog sitemap and add it to Google Webmaster Tools
    3. Write keyword-rich (for seo), informative and useful (for your visitors) content.
    4. Get links from relevant sites/blogs.

  5. Still I have confusion on that, that I have two website I have been optimize for one and I didn’t optimize another website but unoptimized website having good rankings for good keywords in Google. Can anybody explain me about?

  6. Mine SEO tips are:

    1. Add quality content
    2. Create Meta tags have your top most keywords in it but not just filling keywords everywhere
    3. Good internal linking within the site
    4. Get related quality backlinks
    5. Create articles and blogs and submit them
    6. Create Sitemap and submit to Google sitemap

    And the list just go on and on…

  7. Couldn’t agree more with metmarko.

    Exactly my policies.

  8. Your list of SEO tips are great! There are so many white hat seo tactics that work very well.

    1. Using keywords are great, however over using is considered keyword spamming and will penalize a site. I always recommend people write their content naturally instead of trying to write around stuffing keywords.

    2. Optimize images for Google image searches. Google images can deliver a nice amount of traffic for any niche!

  9. Excellent! Too many people ignore step 1 (see your comments). I’ve seen large enterprises that wonder why they aren’t ranking and it’s usually due to ignoring the first step. By the way you can put step 2 and 3 together to stay with your top 3 tips.

  10. is anyone can help me to explain how to create good meta tag and good keyword??

  11. You don’t need SEO for internet marketing if you have lots of cash to spend. Howeverthere’s many people who start making money online without funds, then they need to do some SEO. There is plenty of info on the web now about SEO but it’s just a tip of an iceberg. Without quality of keyword focused content SEO makes no sense. So here’s my short list:
    Content >> SEO >> Link Building


  1. […] SEO Basics: 4 Tips to Improve Search Engine Rankings – Our SEO Basics series of posts were popular out of the gate. Each post is based on a real question posed by a web site owner. The idea is not new or unique, but is one of the best ways to source content for a blog in a way that wins for everyone involved. This post offers the first or top 3 things a web site owner should do to improve their search visibility. As much as search engines have evolved and become more sophisticated, SEO fundamentals are still about crawler friendly, keywords, content and links. […]