If you’re looking for some new, profound or revolutionary “trick” to getting #1 rankings, you can just stop reading this post right now, because you won’t find it. In fact, there is really nothing new here. Then again, there is really nothing new to good SEO. Sure, you might learn about some new avenues or a particular strategy, but not here. Not today. This post is for those looking for some good, solid, foundational SEO.
SEO can ultimately be completed in a handful of steps. But don’t let the simplicity of these steps fool you. Time, skill and understanding are still required for good SEO that gets results. Here are some core SEO concepts and a bit of information to get you started growing a great SEO campaign.
Step 1: Pick Relevant Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of all your web marketing efforts. If you haven’t done keyword research, you are not ready for SEO. In fact, there is a good bet you’re not even ready to have your website built. Yeah, keywords are that important!
Keywords are like the pig of the marketing world. One magical creature gives you ham, bacon, sausage, chops, spare ribs and pork rinds. Similarly, keywords can help you build navigation, titles, descriptions, content and blog posts! Who knew, right?
Without knowing your keywords, you really can’t know how to market your site to your visitors. You might do a good job if you’re your own target audience, but you’re not. Get over yourself.
Step 2: Plant Quality Tags
There are three tags that you need to be most concerned about. Freeze tag; duck, duck, goose; and smear the, uh, guy holding the ball. Wait, wrong kind of tag. The three website-related tags are the Title tag, Meta Description tag and the H1 tag.
The title tag is your single most important piece of web marketing real estate. It’s a significant signal to the search engines for ranking and it’s (usually) the link in the search results to your page. That means it better be good.
Your meta description tag has no real search engine ranking value but it is (usually) the descriptive text below your title in the search results. Again, you want to make this as compelling as possible with the the space you have.
The H1 tag is the content heading at the top of the page. This offers both search engine value and user value as it’s (usually) the first thing the visitors see when they land on the page. This needs to tell them what the content of the page is.
Step 3: Produce Compelling Content
Content is the reason people come to your site. It’s the reason people stay on your site. And it’s the reason people buy whatever you’re selling. I know that’s news to a lot of people who think people come to their site for for the products. They don’t.
While your audience may want to purchase your products or services, it’s the content that brings them. Without content your site is just another site hocking a bunch of products or services. Your content tells your visitors what it is that makes your products or services different.
If you don’t have good content, or very little content, you’re likely experiencing greater than average site bounce rates. You won’t get everybody to read every word but give them the words necessary to help sell what you’re selling.
Step 4: Dig Into Architecture and Usability Issues
Every site has problems. Yes, that means yours, too. You just don’t know it because you haven’t discovered them yet!
While mostly hidden, architectural and usability issues are often the biggest roadblocks to having a successful website. Your web developer didn’t know about them, your visitors may not notice them, but your SEO needs to find and fix them if you want to gain a competitive advantage.
Site architecture and usability issues can be uncovered via a number of tools. Broken link reporters, Google webmaster tools, Analytics tracking and a plethora of free and paid SEO tools are available to analyze and test various aspects of your site.
Step 5: Fertilize Your Link Sources
On page optimization is good, but the engine that really makes it perform is links. Links can be achieved via social media interaction, content development, bribery, begging or by laying down a threat, though I don’t recommend the last two.
Links (and social shares) tell the search engines that people like you. In fact, they like you enough to tweet, share, like, plus, retweet, or link out to you.
Getting links and social shares are tough, unless you bribe or beg. And even then it’s a challenge. So how do you do it? Revisit step 3.
Sure, there is a lot more that goes into a solid organic web marketing campaign, but these are the five basic things that you have to do to build up your glorious organic search engine ranking garden.