Directing traffic toward your website through “search engine optimization” has become a strategic process much more involved than stressing simple keyword emphasis.
Google’s 2012 search-engine algorithm evolutions, starting with the world’s most ubiquitous search brand’s mid-year Panda initiatives, set traditional “black-hat” keyword-stuffing and link-farming practices on the run. Increasingly intuitive algorithms now keep sites chasing pinnacle keyword rankings increasingly honest: in addition to emphasizing natural keyword placement in content, Google has set a higher bar that rewards widely shared, organic, relevant content that stands out as the most original material on the web.
As algorithms and the trends they launch change the way online business happens, your strategies for appeasing these higher standards have to change. This is the time to scrutinize the details in your site where the Devil lives. Achieving a high ranking is one thing. Keeping it is another that demands steady, vigilant analysis of traffic metrics.
We’re here to provide you with the latter. However, our favorite clients are the informed ones who understand the value in what we do and how it can positively extend any brand’s reach. To that end, we’d like to share with you some of the most basic, essential steps that start off any website’s search engine optimization on the right foot, no matter the marketplace.
- Permalinks, Plugins & Slugs….Oh, my!
Relax. Yes, that’s English.
Think of your website as similar to a human body. By that comparison, these would be akin to sections of a fingerprint – the things that uniquely identify your site. On another level, their functions in search engine optimization are a little bit like micro chipping a family pet – they keep your site easy to find.
Simply put, PERMALINKS identify your site in a browser’s address bar. WordPress allows customization freedoms for your site’s URL that, say, Blogger doesn’t. That’s why it’s a preferred site-building platform. Still, just because one can make a URL lengthy and specific doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Google’s web-crawlers that index pages in an instant according to relevance to the search terms find shorter addresses more easily. For example, keep it to something such as doodads.com/your-page-title.html. Remember, there is such a thing as “too specific.”
Speaking of your URL, your SLUG acts as the road sign in your permalink pointing the crawlers directly toward your page. It’s the “your-page-title” part. Take the time to edit via WordPress and come up with something clean and short, but still descriptive and relevant.
You wouldn’t embark on a road trip without knowing how much gas you have in the tank or how efficiently your vehicle uses it. Don’t run your website without quality tracking PLUGINS. The Yoast SEO plugin from WordPress and All-In-One SEO will both let you track focused keywords along with customized Meta descriptions and tags. Along the way, both provide you with simple guidance for optimizing your post’s keywords as it tracks the search engine optimization percentages.
- READY THE LAUNCHPAD
Let’s just suppose you’ve already built your site from a well-thought-through checklist, such as this one from Searchenginejournal.com…
Your entire company has been kept abreast of the launch. Everyone understands their roles in launching your site smoothly, even when pushing through inevitable delays. You’ve uploaded a ‘Coming Soon’ page that naturally utilizes targeted keywords in the span of a few paragraphs, in order to get Google’s attention. You’ve migrated and uploaded your content.
Whether your search engine optimization strategy tanks or straps a rocket to your brand’s back that launches you to the top of Google’s search rankings, you won’t know if you aren’t eyeing your metrics. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools in particular will highlight the high-quality links directing other sites’ visitors toward you. Utilize other tools such as Screaming Frog SEO in order to check that title tags, Meta descriptions/tags and H1 tags have all been uniquely assigned to each of your site’s pages.
- FIVE INDEPENDENT PILLARS
Even without a knowledgeable consultant’s assistance, you can control a great deal of your search engine optimization campaign’s destiny.
There are five key things to every site’s traffic-building success that you can do without needing much guidance or back-end support. These steps will start your planning on the right foot before the SEO firm that you hire even has to lift a finger.
- CHOOSE KEYWORDS WISELY. Stick with terms relevant to the site or post’s overall topic, adding a geographic tag when you can to build you up as a local “authority” on the search subject over time. Let Google Adwords be your guide to choosing low-competition/high-search-volume words to target.
- META-DESCRIPTIONS. The best meta-descriptions are concise, interesting and hint at relevant content without revealing too much. This appears beneath your link in search results that flag you as a match. Make the potential visitor eager to click and read more.
- H2 TAGS. Keep these to a sentence that crystallizes your post or page’s overall tone. It stresses your content as relevant and interesting, the two things Google algorithms prize more than ever above pure keyword volume.
- IMAGE. Pictures are more than simply engaging additional elements. They’re also searchable. Crawlers flag images. In turn, images carry your link. When visitors see your link, they click.
- SHARING IS CARING. By all means, get the word out. You could have the finest website on the Internet for your market, but it serves no one if nobody knows it exists. You’ll not only draw people toward your site, but engage them directly and begin establishing actual relationships.