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).
The 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:
- Make sure search engines have no difficulty in finding and understanding your web site
- Research the keywords that are most meaningful for your customers
- Use those keywords in your content
- 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?