Attracting the right site visitors is still an extremely important barometer for business success. With 54 percent of consumers citing organic search as the way they have typically found the sites they visit, your efforts in search engine optimization (SEO) are extremely important.
SEO success is not an overnight phenomenon, you need to dedicate time and patience to succeed. It is critical to stay on top of the latest changes in Google algorithms and develop a strategy that meets your specific objectives. Although a big part of it, this goes beyond simple keyword analysis and takes into account the fit within your overall Web presence.
A strong SEO plan includes a variety of key areas including: a strategy with agreed upon goals, budget and tactics; demonstrated keyword research that analyzes volume, competition and relevance; website optimization that adheres to SEO best practices; successful execution of content marketing, social media, directory listings, etc.; and the ability to monitor and evaluate website rankings and visitor analytics.
The benefits of a well-executed SEO strategy include higher website visibility ranking in search engines and more organic traffic to your website. Strong SEO also gives organizations qualified website visitors who go to your website based on relevant data, as well as inherent credibility in the digital universe.
Now let’s dig deeper into the core principles of SEO.
Link building is almost always the most challenging part of SEO, while also the one most critical to implementing a successful SEO strategy. Backlinks are links from other websites to your website. The number of backlinks, the relevance of the linking pages, and the keywords that are used in the backlinks (anchor text) influence the position of your page in the search results. Links from the same domain only count once.
Natural links are links that are given by websites that choose to link to your content. Conversely, outreach link building refers to links created by emailing bloggers for backlinks, submitting sites to directories, or paying for listings of any kind.
Anchor text is clickable text in a hyperlink. Your anchor text must be relevant to the page you are linking to as the words contained in the anchor text help determine the ranking that your page will receive. For example, click here, read now, etc., are all bad examples of anchor text. If you are writing about SEO principles, link on keywords related to that term.
Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword or phrase appears on a Web page compared to the total number of words on the page. In the context of search engine optimization, keyword density can be used to determine whether a Web page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase.
The Alt tag is probably the most important image-optimization factor. Alt stands for alternate and the text in the alt tag is displayed in place of the image if the image cannot be shown or is taking too long to load.
A well-crafted URL provides search engines an easy-to-understand indication of what the Web page will cover. While using a URL that includes keywords can improve your site’s search visibility, URLs themselves generally do not have a major impact on a page’s ability to rank. A major mistake many websites make creating otherwise worthless URLs simply to include a keyword in them.
Here are a few key best practices:
- Keep URLs as simple, relevant and accurate as possible
- Avoid the use of URL parameters
- URLs should be concise and never longer than 2,048 characters
- When necessary for readability, use only hyphens to separate words
- Use lowercase letters. In some cases, uppercase letters can cause issues with duplicate pages. For example, webcorpco.com/Blog and webcorpco.com/blog might be two distinct URLs, which might create issues with duplicate contentt
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual Web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. On-page refers to both the content and HTML source code of a page that can be optimized, as opposed to off-page SEO that refers to links and other external signals.
Keyword usage and targeting are still a part of the search engines ranking algorithms, and we can apply some effective techniques for keyword usage to help create pages that are well optimized for search.
Use the keyword phrase:
- In the title tag, at least once
- Once prominently near the top of the page
- At least two or three times, including variations, in the body copy on the page
- At least once in the alt attribute of an image on the page
- Once in the URL
- At least once in the Meta description tag
The title element of a page is meant to be an accurate, concise description of a page’s content. It’s critical to both user experience and search engine optimization. Always place important keywords close to the front, and ensure your title tags are descriptive and readable.
The Meta description tag exists as a short description of a page’s content. Search engines do not use the keywords or phrases in this tag for rankings, but Meta descriptions are the primary source for the snippet of text displayed beneath a listing in the results. Meta descriptions can be any length, but search engines generally will cut snippets longer than 160 characters, so it’s generally wise to stay within in these limits.
What are factors that can prevent top ranking?
Your answer to the questions below should be “No” to have an effective SEO strategy.
- Did you copy other Web page content?
- Did you duplicate content?
- Do you use the same title and Meta tags for multiple pages?
- Do you use automated link building schemes?
- Do you buy or sell links?
- Do your backlinks come from spammy sites?
- Do you link to sites that don’t deserve to be linked to?
About the Author:
Shawn Moore is the founder of Solodev and the driving force behind the Solodev Web experience platform and Solodev Launch digital marketing services. A visionary leader, Shawn has strategically grown Solodev from inception to a successful company that services clients across the nation and has been named to the Inc. 5000’s fastest growing private companies for the past two years in a row. Winner of several industry awards for Best CTO and CIO, Shawn is changing the CMS landscape with Solodev, winner of the 2016 People’s Choice Award for Best Cloud CMS.