May 12, 2009
Search engine optimization also known by the acronym SEO is comprised of multiple facets. SEO is not a linear process, but rather a holistic evolution involving intricate layers, steps and cumulative stages which are equally as delicate as they are demanding to perfect.
However, there are fundamental SEO guidelines one can use to incorporate granular changes to improve coherence, functionality and visibility of a website by working in tandem with the metrics that search engines deem worthy and therefore reward with a higher relevance / optimization score.
On the contrary, if you deliberately or inadvertently neglect any one of the necessary characteristics of fine-tuning, then your pages could fall short of their goal which is to find the most suitable audience by way of reaching the most coveted top 10 spots for the contents primary keywords.
Rather than butchering coherence after the fact in an attempt to make a square peg fit in a round hole by editing content, links or the architecture of your website. It is better to start with the SEO goal in mind and building the platform to support it vs. just altering aspects of each after the fact.
With initiating any SEO campaign, you should give credence to:
Understanding your competition – There is a reason why the top 10 spots are occupied, take a look for consistencies so you can emulate certain characteristics if your website lacks them.
Determining the Gap – Determining the gap implies removing the obstacles between you and your objective. Time is the obvious ranking factor; hence, someone online for 5 years in a niche who has achieved keyword saturation and authority has an easier time maintaining visibility compared to a new website (who has not achieved a suitable reputation through peer review).
Before you just build links, your traffic and engagement for the site must be commensurate in order to get past algorithmic filters which can determine things like (1) link clusters from building links in automation (2) the ratio of inbound links to outbound links (3) engagement time / bounce rate factor (which are a metric of satisfaction and relevance) and (4) if there are other supporting topical areas within the site that concentrate internal links, subjects or landing pages to support a more competitive rankings.
Building Internal Authority – Authority is the objective; rankings are merely a side-effect (not the goal). With this in mind, it is more about acquiring a stake in market share that unmistakably positions your website in front of any search which corresponds to any of the terms, keywords or topics covered in your title, content or tags. The more authority a website has, the easier it is to rank for more keywords with less effort.
Gaining Validation from Citation and Peer Review – You can have the greatest website online, but without co-occurrence and other websites referencing your pages, it is merely conjecture. Granted, your website can eventually acquire authority in and of itself, but links from other related sites or websites already ranking for the keywords you are targeting are the fastest way to expedite the process of creating a site that is less dependent on external sources for validation and rankings.
Managing User Expectations – Since no two people think or search alike, you will need an array of landing pages to help direct them to the ultimate conversion objective. The wild card in this equation is the mood of the surfer. Landing pages are all about getting the right person in the right mindset to read the right message. If you can accomplish that with your SEO, there is virtually no limit to increasing user engagement (which is getting them to take the desired action).
Landing Pages are your websites means to an end, they are what keep you in business. With a landing page tailored to a specific array of keywords, the more relevance you can create between what a searcher expects and what a searcher discovers, the higher conversion rate your site will experience.
Landing Page Conversion – The first step in creating a successful online presence is having a page worthy of conversion. Conversion implying that it performs a specific function (sign up for a free download, sign up for a newsletter, subscribe to an RSS feed, purchase a produce, inquire about a service, etc.).
Instead of hemorrhaging user intent or overwhelming users with too many choices, the more refined and focused your value proposition is, the more likely it is that users will engage it. The key behind landing pages are (1) make it clear to the visitor what the VALUE IS TO THEM for engaging the offer, not just to your business and (2) if you have to go back and read anything twice or if a 4th grader cannot understand the offer, then it’s probably too complex.
SEO delivers traffic, but the strength of your offer is what determines if people shop at your website and proceed to checkout or if they move on and use your site like a doormat for the next search result, which is more honed to their mental map of what they consider a superb offer.
The tasks and responsibilities of an SEO company is simple (1) fill the gap with relevant content (2) salvage the existing elements that are conducive to optimization (3) build off page reputation from link building and promotion and most of all (4) fine tune the on page elements that aid conversion until a suitable conversion rate exists.
For those offering SEO services that offer anything less is just theory. The bottom line is, SEO is about results, not just temporal rankings. So, as long as you stick to fundamental guidelines that are not dependent on fickle appearances or tricks but rather real content and real substance, changes in algorithms are the least of your concern, it’s only a matter of producing enough content, links or popularity to cross the tipping point.
Jeffrey Smith is an active internet marketing optimization strategist, consultant and the founder of Seo Design Solutions Seo Company http://www.seodesignsolutions.com. He has actively been involved in internet marketing since 1995 and brings a wealth of collective experiences and fresh marketing strategies to individuals involved in online business.