As I mentioned in an earlier post, Search Engine Optimisation, or SEO, is critical to your placement in organic search results with the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. But how do you go about planning this kind of work and measuring the results?
Planning An Effective SEO Strategy
SEO should be part of your regular marketing schedule – unfortunately it’s not a project that can be considered as ‘finished’ at any time, although it can of course be divided into smaller projects which can all be measured for their effectiveness.
1) Measure your Current Web Performance
Measurement is really the first milestone in this process. Ensure that you are using a good analytics tool to measure the number of unique and repeat visitors to your website, which pages visitors arrived at, the number and addresses of the pages they viewed and the total amount of time that they spent looking at the website. It is also helpful to understand how visitors view the pages they land on and the process by which they move from merely visiting your site to becoming a customer. If you don’t have software in place, do so before you start to improve your website. You could use Google Analytics which is strong in all these areas.
2) Work on Your Content
Good, relevant content is critical. In a recent survey of SEO specialists by SEOmoz, trusted content was given a 24% weighting in delivering high SEO rankings. Invest in good content and use images and video in addition to copy. Make sure that those assets are properly tagged as well.
3) Ensure Keywords Form the Basis of Your Site
Use Google AdWords or another keyword tool to identify the top 20 keywords for your business. Ensure that you have pages set up in your website for each of these, with the keyword reflected in the URL and the code for each page. Where some keywords seem to be very similar to each other, create landing pages which are only viewable when visitors arrive at them through inputting the relevant keyword into a search engine. These landing pages should redirect to the main site.
4) Write Search Engine Optimised Copy
Ensure that the copy on each page of your site has been written to optimise references to the relevant keyword for that page. Use frequent references to the keyword and include use of the keyword in subtitles down the page. Break up the text with bullet points and sub paragraphs to help focus on the key information. Don’t overuse references to the keywords though. The most important factor is to use the keyword in the title and first few words of the copy.
5) Assess Page Layout
Test different versions of all your webpages, but in particular your homepage. Try experimenting with different layouts and in particular with the positioning of the call to action. This should be clear and there should be a direct link from the homepage. The usability, interface and general experience of a site are definitely clear indicators of good SEO rankings.
6) Plan Your Link Building Strategy
Again, link building should occupy a regular place in your list of tactics. I have already given an overview of why this is so important in my blog Why Link Building is So Essential. Link building involves a variety of strategies and is best performed by a good link building specialist.
I hope that the above points are useful in giving an overview of the first steps in forming an SEO strategy. I’m always happy to share more thoughts, just drop me a line.