On-Page: Get Your Website in Shape
- Follow a Long Tail Strategy: Successful SEO strategies start by identifying the appropriate keywords. If you want to build a sustainable strategy, then focus on long-tail keywords. Blogs are a great way to go after long-tail keywords, so start creating contentwith a specific audience in mind, and you’ll do much more than just help your SEO.
- Research Appropriate Keywords: Now use keyword research to find opportunities by looking at the search volume and competition.
- Focus on One Keyphrase Per Post or Page: You should focus on optimizing each post or page with only one keyphrase. So instead of jamming keyphrases into each page, spread them out by focusing each page on one topic.
- Put a Keyword in your Title Tag: The Title Tag of your website is one of the most important SEO factors. So try using a tagline, slogan, or keyphrase just before using your brand name. For example:
Title | Sitename
Keyphrase | Sitename
- Use a Keyword in Your Page and Post Headline:You should also put a keyphrase in the headline of each page and blog post. Put it towards the front, and avoid going over 70 characters in length. Write headlines that intrigue people, but that are also descriptive enough for search engines.
- Write a Meta Description that Begs to be Clicked: The meta description is the short box (about 160 characters) that shows up in search results just under your headline. They don’t help much for SEO purposes… but they are extremely important for getting people to click through to your website. So focus on copywriting that gets people’s attention and lures them in.
- Place Your Keyphrase in the Alt Attribute of a Picture: There are specific places on every blog post or page you create that should be optimized with a keyword. One of those that’s often overlooked is the alt attribute on your images. It usually looks like this:
<img src=”http://domain.com/image” alt=”Keyphrase and sentence.” />
- Create a Flat Site Architecture: Users (and search engine spiders) shouldn’t have to look hard to find anything on your site. As a general rule, keep all of your most important pages within 3 clicks of your homepage. So try not to bury or “silo” content, because people (and search engines) will have trouble finding it. One way you can tell is by looking at your URL structure. For example, the “Team Page” in this domain http://domain.com/about/mission/team.html is already three steps deep.
- Have a Clean URL: Take a look at your URL structure. Are there unnecessary words, phrases, or strings-of-numbers (also called Parameters)? Make your URL as clean and clear as possible. Again, this helps people remember and share your work, but it also benefits search engines by making your site easy and quick to crawl.
- Usage Data: Your website usage data now has an impact on your SEO. So if you have a high bounce rate, or people aren’t staying on your website longer than a minute, then you might have problems.
- Speed:The speed of your website also affects search engine rankings now. If you have a website that loads slowly with too many images and has other performance issues, then it’s time to start figuring out how to speed it up.
Off-Page: Focus on Real Links from Real People
- Use Social Media to Build Audiences: Social media is becoming a huge influence on your search results. The next phase of link-building will be dominated by links from blogs, and “social signals” every-time someone Tweets, Likes or +1′syour content.
- Start Using Google+: Everyone needs to start using Google Plus for business. It’s heavy integration with every aspect of Google means that user adoption will explode in the next year, and it will have a significant impact on your search rankings.
- Invest in Linkable Assets:“Linkable Assets” are free tools or premium content (like infographics) that people love to share and recommend. Promote these powerful assets to everyone you know, both online and off. You can also pitch other website owners as long as it’s (1) free, (2) specific to their audience, and (3) high-value.
- Join Offline Groups and Associations: Believe it or not, offline groups and associations can help your SEO efforts. For example, joining the Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce helps boost your credibility. You can also figure out ways to get links indirectly from other members, events, etc.
- Donate to Charity:Do you want to “buy” white-hat links? Then donate time and money to a good cause! Links from non-profits and schools are very valuable because they’re seen as high-value and high-trust.
- Use Guest Blogging to Drive Traffic and Backlinks: Guest Blogging is one of the best ways to acquire links from other top-notch sites. Create valuable, engaging content that you know will succeed for a specific audience, and offer it to other site owners.
Bad SEO Tactics: Stop Doing These Things Right Now
- Stop Worrying About Your Keyword Rankings: Your SEO keyword rankings are quickly becoming obsolete. Each person’s search results are now personalized. So that means that everyone is seeing unique search results tailored to them based on their (1) past browsing history, (2) location, and (3) social media connections.
- Stop Abusing Keywords in Your Site: The meta keywords tag was used as a way to tell search engines what each page is about. They’re much smarter now, so they can figure that out all by themselves. Years of manipulation have now changed the perception of the meta keywords tag. Search engines now use it to identify potential spammers. So I wouldn’t even bother using it.
- Stop Worrying about “Keyword Density”:See point above.
- Stop Using Blog Comments for Backlinks:People used to rely on spamming the comments section of blogs as a way to acquire backlinks. This is a dumb, inefficient and ultimately ineffective strategy. So stop trying to “game the system” and invest in tactics that will also drive traffic and build your brand.
- Stop Using Article Marketing: Article marketing (or “spinning”) was another cheap tactic used to drive backlinks. Again, it doesn’t work any longer. Most of your articles are now de-valued because of duplicate content issues, so it’s another waste of time. Instead, look for real guest posting opportunities or a place you can contribute a weekly article.
- Stop Relying on Directories:Submitting your site to directories used to work well. But now, most of those directories have lost a lot of value and trust in the eyes of Google.
- Stop Talking about PageRank: PageRank was significant… years ago. Even Google recommends you should stop tracking it. Instead, focus on your (1) conversion rate, (2) bounce rate, and (3) Clickthrough Rate(CTR).
- Stop Buying Links: If your SEO strategy relies on buying links from other sites, then I would urge you to stop now. It may have worked for a few years, but that’s all coming to an end. You’re not fooling anyone… it’s incredibly easy to tell if you’re buying links by looking at your link profile. There will come a day very soon when you will be penalized. That means your rankings will drop significantly overnight, or your website could be removed completely. I don’t think it’s smart to risk either one.
Good SEO consistently brings in more traffic.
The downside is that it takes a lot of work. Executing properly takes time, effort, and patience.
You can’t just buy or swap some links today and expect to be at the top of the rankings by the end of the week.
So realize that there are no shortcuts, secret formulas or magic potions.
You need to do a lot of little things really well, and the results will take care of themselves.
How can you tell what marketing tactics are right for you?
The key is to invest in SEO activities that will also help build your traffic and your brand.
Because without a good brand and diverse, growing traffic, you’ll never build a thriving, growing company online.