Search Engine Optimization – 7 Steps to a Successful SEO Plan
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the process utilized to get your website to show up in a search query on search engines like Google. Here are some best practices, and some insights to help you get started in understanding SEO and how to boost your own rankings. Okay, so now that you know about SEO, let’s get started!
Phase 1: Build an SEO Friendly Website:
If you have the skill and knowledge, build the website SEO friendly from the start (watch that there aren’t too many H1’s in styles, add supporting menus, have clear call to action, and add no index/no follows on non-essential pages/posts). If you do not have this level of skill, contact a professional web developer to assist you.
Note: A good rule of thumb is to include 1 H1 tag on your page, (your main message/what you’re selling) and 1 H2 tag (the supporting message), H3’s and lower you can utilize for keywords.
Phase 2: Write SEO friendly content… No fluff:
This is the most crucial step in Search Engine Optimization, in my opinion. Content is king, and there is no shortcut or workaround to make your website rank well, without providing your audience with high quality, well-written, and interesting content. Don’t stuff your web content with keywords just for the sake of keywords. When your content is informative, the keywords will come naturally, and support your message.
Phase 3: Keyword Research:
Utilize a a free (or paid) SEO keyword research tool to find keywords with with a higher volume of searches & compare with the keywords that are used to organically find your site (find this info in your Google Analytics account). Note: Long tail keywords are more widely searched on than individual words.
2 free resources to help with keyword research are:
http://www.keywordspy.com/ (make sure the radio button for “keywords” is selected before searching, you also have the option to “spy” on domains to see their keywords by selecting the “Domains” radio button.
Another tool with a free option is http://www.semrush.com/ – they have similar features, depending on which site you like more, you can get some good suggestions for high traffic search queries.
Phase 4: Optimize:
Pick the right keywords from the previous keyword research for each page. Pick by relevance of the page’s content and popularity of the keyword search. While optimizing the on-page content, check to make sure the pages flow easily, from one to the next, by interlinking your site’s content, using keyword rich anchor text from one page to the next to create good flow through your site (and to reduce your bounce rate).
Phase 5: Link Building
Build links reputably through blogging, guest blogging, and sharing your quality content.
A back-link is essentially a “vote” for your website from another website. You can gain these links via partnerships with other websites that agree to link to your web content. A back link from a reputable website with a page rank (page authority) of 3 or higher is better, and a two-way handshake with reciprocal links is the best scenario. Building links and partnerships with other sites that have a relation to yours is also a best practice. For example, if you sell cheering pom-poms, a good back link partnership might be with an athletic shoe distributor or a gymnastics mat re-seller. Do not buy your back links. Develop them. While this is likely the hardest step in SEO, it is also the most rewarding. The more links your site can build, the more reputable and “popular” you are in the eyes of Google.
Note: build links with the right anchor text (keywords), to the right pages of your website for best results.
Phase 6: Social
Have an active presence on social media platforms. Pick the 1 or 2 that works best for your brand, and actively participate in those. Do not feel you need to sign up and put business pages on 37 different social platforms, to rank well for Social in Google’s algorithm, just be an active participant in the 1-3 that work best for you.
Phase 7: Monthly Reporting
Measure/track/report the following (Use your Analytics account and Google tools):
- Rankings on your researched/optimized keywords; eliminate those that aren’t working, and replacing non-successful words with others to test from previous keyword research
- Bounce rate
Were these tips useful to you? What steps do you take to outline a successful SEO campaign? Please share some of your best practices in the comments.[hupso]