Six Key SEO Fundamentals
There's a sizable chunk of the Internet professional services industry that specializes in promising prominent positioning in the organic search listings of the most popular search engines, namely Google.
Just like everything else that you buy or hire someone to do, there are varying levels of sophistication, credibility and quality in these products and services. Ultimately, this translates into the degree of success that your website achieves.
We've been doing effective search engine optimization for our customers since 2002. Since then, while some of the specifics and the channels have changed with the times, there have only been a literal handful of things that when practiced regularly and well, invariably yield successful results for any website owner than employs them.
So among all the promises of appearing in 6,000 search engines, and zooming to the top of the search returns in all your top keywords without having to lift a finger, we present the straight dope: 6 essential elements of effective search engine optimization. Pay attention to these factors, and you'll go further, faster than any $100-search-engine-submission scheme can ever accomplish.
- Your Web Page Title Tags: The Title tag is perhaps the most important bit of real estate on your web pages. Each one should be unique for each page on your site, and should contain keywords that reflect the content of the page that its a part of. Pages that say "Home" or "index" will never, ever get noticed.
- Your Page content, including the Meta Description tag: The content of your pages should be formatted with the page name as an H1 tag, and subsections sections should be reflected as H2, H3, H4, etc. Write your content with a sufficient density of your best keywords, but don't try to cram everything on one page; one page, one topic. Embed links with your search terms in the anchor text of your hyperlinks and above all, make sure there's a Description tag that you can edit yourself; while Google pays zero attention to the Keywords tag, the Description tag is what gets displayed on the Google Search Engine Return Pages (SERPs).
- The competitive space you're in: Everybody knows that it's a lot easier to be heard when you're the only one talking to your customer. But when you have 100, 1,000 or a million other people speaking at the same time, it just becomes noise. That's the way it is on the Internet...but when you excel in all the other factors, it's like handing yourself a megaphone. You'll be heard louder, clearer and with a lot more credibility than your competitors.
- The Frequency of your updates: One of our clients is a practicing attorney, who has carved out a very tidy niche in his area of expertise, and in some very competitive space: U.S. immigration news. This is where you'll find Matthew Kolken. In fact only two government sites and two hard-core news outlets come ahead of him, in a space where he has 13.3M competitors.
He's done it in part, by spending as much as 30% of each working day on his site. He updates, he tweets, he blogs in two places, he's on Facebook, and all the while he's giving information that his prospective clients can use. So much so that he's become a reliable, relevant source for U.S. immigration news, period. Such prominence in such a competitive and topical space, in turn delivers a steady stream of clients for his law practice, and leads to success in the final two areas.
- The Number of sites that link back to you: It's a no-brainer that the more people refer to you in the real world in a particular context, the more you become regarded as an expert. The same is true on the Internet. The more web pages that refer to you, the more relevant you are; to the search engines, each link is a vote of confidence in what you have to say.
- The Quality of those Backlinks: By the same token, if the high school kid up the street says you've got, like, the greatest business evaaaar, it won't carry the same clout that an article in the local news will, which in turn carries less clout than a mention in the New York Times. Backlinks from websites are exactly the same: Facebook mentions are great, but a link from an American Public Radio program website is a guaranteed adrenaline shot to the relevancy arm of your website.
So that's it! Just 6 fundamentals. There's no secret sauce, no magical programming, and no way to "fool" the search engines into believing that your site's any more special than it really is. You're special enough to begin with.
You are what you write about. You are what you talk about. You are what you pay attention to.
But there is one more thing...and while Google denies it, I've seen it happen with way too much frequency and consistency for there to not be a relationship. You want to do better in the organic search, run an AdWords campaign. It doesn't have to be big, but it does need to be there, and a modest sum can rocket you to the top as a sponsored link, while you develop your content and your backlinks.
So get out there and write!
Or, if you want someone to write a professional plan for success, request an SEO Blueprint from us. We'll interview you and create a specially customized plan for your website that will set you on the path to your own search engine success.