Photo by Jon_Marshall

Photo by Jon_Marshall

Listen here lad, I’ve been making websites since the year dot and I know that all your Digs and Tweeterings are good for only one thing – spam email.     Trust me, all you need for them search engines is Meta Keywords.

I wish that quote was a work of fiction, but it’s not. It’s the befuddled claims of a web developer who I had the pleasure of arguing with over the phone last week. The methods he was promoting were sound and proven – but they’re now wildly out of date.

Don’t make the same mistake. Get up to speed with what you need to know if you’re planning on doing any SEO in 2010. These five steps won’t teach you everything you’ll need to know, but they’ll help you get started. 

1) Meta Tags are Old Hat

If you had your ear to the ground in 2009, you’d know that Google and Yahoo both disowned the former powerhouse of SEO, the meta keywords tag. They’re always likely to change their minds, but you shouldn’t think meta tags will magically cure poor listings. Put twenty words in the keywords tag, make sure your description carries your main phrase and move on.

2) Content is for Customers

The days of keyword stuffing are also at an end. That’s not to say that content isn’t vitally important. It is. But it’s important for your customers. If you’re worried that you’ll be promoting a website filled to bursting with repetitive keywords and dull copy, contact an SEO copywriter and ask for help. Otherwise, make sure your key words are where your clients want them – page titles, headers and scattered liberally across the copy to help skim readers glean context.

3) Links are your SEO Lifeblood

Links and anchor text. If you’ve not thought about where to get the former and how to write the latter, then you’re not going to rank well in 2010. If you’re serious about SEO, you need to get serious about links. Write linkbait, track down dofollow blogs and start networking. Hell, if you need a link for an SEO or copywriting blog, you could even ask me.

4) Social Media isn’t the Future. It’s the Present.

Ignore all those people out there saying “Twitter will” or “Facebook could”. Twitter has. Facebook is. Major search engines are incorporating information from social media sites. Canny SEOs are building up a good rep on Sphinn and Digg. Anyone with half an idea is promoting it on Twitter. These aren’t spam email generators. They’re link generators. Enquiry generators. Used properly, they will get you rankings and make you money.

5) This List will be Useless in 2011

Ok, it might not, but don’t take that chance. SEO is moving faster than ever before. With more and more of the world’s population going on line, the Internet will be flooded with new ideas. If Twitter changed SEO in 2009 and led to real time search, what could change the game in 2010? Keep your finger on the pulse and make sure you’re using the most up to date information. Subscribing to my RSS feed might be a start.

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