You are looking for new readers for your glorious content, but nobody is finding their way to your site. Did you wall yourself in by an accident?
SEO is usually a lot of common sense, really, and if you have good developers on your site with a bit of time on their hands you can do the job yourself instead of contracting this out.
Have a good <title> tag. Preferably one that says <title>The title of my article - Company name</title> instead of the other way around, putting your company first. Yes, I know you lads love company branding, but search engines don't really give a crap.
Use a good URL scheme. Instead of having dynamic article.html?id=1024, invest some work in a more permalink way of doing things. http://mycompany/articles/this-is-the-title-of-my-article.html goes a long way of helping search engines match user queries up to results. Search engines actually believe that people will name their documents properly. Weird, eh?
If you are already using some sort of relational database (like MySQL or Oracle) to hold your articles you can probably set up a new table with two columns. One with the permalink name, and the other with the article id. This won't break your old infrastructure, but you will be able to set up a servlet which can take your permalinks and map them to your articles and render the correct page.
Validate your html
Yes, yes, yes. You've all heard it before. But its important! Ease the poor crawler's job by having valid html. Cleaning up your html code will probably lead you to structuring your document better as well - which will easy readability.
<h1>Title of my document</h1>
<p>Here comes the body of some article</p>
<p>And here's another paragraph</p>
Don't use DIVs instead of H1 when you mean to set a title. You can style H1-blocks with css as well you know...
Put your article text in the top of the document. Yes, the entire document is usually crawled. But isn't the most relevant stuff supposed to be in the top of the document anyway? By using css to do your layout this shouldn't be a problem anyway.
Don't do them. Search engines don't like to be shuffled around. The only exception here is when you are actually going to move your site to a new server, or are changing the url layout (in which case you should be using the http code 301).
Meta tags can be nice. Or they can kill you. You need to balance this bit out. Don't overdo it, but you'll need a couple.
<meta name="description" content="A 160 word maximum description of this article goes here" /> <meta name="keywords" content="money, cash, greed" />
Create a sitemap.xml file for your site. This can help the search engine to discover more content. With a sitemap you can also tell search engines how often content is updated in various sections, and will aid in helping the search engine's crawler in deciding how often to crawl your site.
Pay for article view
Yes, I know people want to get paid for what they do. But hiding their content behind a login screen will probably just end up with none actually being aware that you have any content to sell. Or at least, not new customers anyway. Those customers you want to reach through a search engine for example.
So instead, think about how much of your content you can give away, without giving up all the details. Create introductions to your articles which are keyword rich - keywords you think people will search for.
For the rest of the article you'll want to have the reader sign up. But this can also be a big wall, its easier to just click "back" and select the next hit in the search result. So this is where you need to think about some strategies about your content. Do I want to give it all away for free, living of ads? Or do I open up my archive, so that stories older than X are served in their full glory. Giving paying subscribers the juice of fresh content.
I guess, if you are already on the web, and reading about search engine optimization you are on the lookout for attracting new readers, so you should carefully weigh the pros and cons on this one.
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