A list of SEO tips for 2013 from Cognito

When it comes to search engine optimization, you want your site to be on top — especially when it comes to a Google search.

According to a Chitka Insights study cited by MarketingProfs, sites that appear as the first result on the first page of a Google search under any given search term get 33 percent of the overall traffic for that search. Drop to the second position and your site’s share of the traffic drops to 19 percent. So what can you do to move up in the ranks?

Write good content chocked full of keyword phrases. If you are creating content on a regular basis, that content can always be tweaked for SEO. If not, there’s not much on your site that can be optimized. (Check out the infographic to the left for an even quicker list of great tips from Cognito.)

Headlines matter. Great headline writing is not just relegated to news stories. You’ll want to make sure your headline, of course, includes a keyword phrase. However, the placement of that keyword phrase matters too: It should be closer to the front. (This was news to me).

Images need to have keywords, too. Your images need to be optimized so they’ll come up in a Google search, because this can also lead people to your site. The following components of your images need to include keywords: file name, alt tag and title tag.

Organize your site. Ian Cleary of Social Razor gives many tips that include the use of Google Webmaster, which can help you “clean house” on your site. Google punishes sites with bad links in its rankings, so you’ll want to get rid of any that may be on your site. Also, clearing up any outstanding HTML and server errors that may pop up on your site should help.

Use Google Analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. You can see how people are reaching your site, how long they are staying on your site, how many are “bouncing” from your site without looking at any other pages and how many people actually return to your site over and over. Lucky for the little guys, Google Analytics is free for sites that get fewer than 10 million hits a month.

What SEO steps have you taken in the past to optimize your site or content? Did it work?

Do you think getting your content to go viral helps with SEO, or does it not really matter when it comes to viral content?