5 Important Factors for Quality SEO
Engine Ready’s President and CEO, Jamie Smith, and Vice President Brian Lewis have been co-hosting a segment on Webmaster Radio called Best Search Strategies. A very concise name, don’t you think?
Along with co-host Jim Ledger, Jamie and Brian delve into topics like keyword monitoring, Google product extensions, the latest studies and observations from all of us on the Engine Ready team, our Conversion Critic software, and much more fun stuff. Their latest segment, in which they discuss competitive intelligence and keyword strategies, can be found here: Advanced Competitive Intelligence Tools.
Each (approximately) 30-minute show is aired monthly, and can be streamed online or downloaded as a podcast. They’ve been doing this since July of last year, so there are quite a few interesting shows in the backlog if you want to catch up. And their next broadcast is due any minute now, so make sure you stay tuned here: Best Search Strategies.
1. Keyword Selection
The goal of SEO is to rank organically for specific keywords. So, how do you know which keywords you want to go after? Think about how someone would search for your services or products online, and compile a list of some variations of those core keywords. Some keywords are highly competitive and the search engines will return tens of millions of results. While those keywords can bring significant traffic to your site, they may take longer to rank for and might not be the type of visitor you’re ultimately seeking. If this is the case, consider formulating your SEO strategy on some “long tail” keywords that are less competitive but will still bring targeted traffic. Taking your core keywords and attaching geographic terms like your city or zip code are a good way to break out a “long tail” list.
There are many tools out there to aid with keyword research. A couple good ones to start with include Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool and SEO Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool.
2. Good Quality Content that Gets Love
“Content is king!” This phrase is thrown around a lot in the SEO world, and it’s pretty accurate. Search engines want to show quality websites to their users and having good, informational, and relevant content on your site is a big step towards being recognized as a quality website. Producing unique content helps you stand out from the competition and will also generate natural inbound links from other sites who find your material unique. So, take some time when writing copy for your product or service web pages. Blogging is a great way to produce fresh, relevant content in which both visitors and search engines will take notice.
3. Meta Content and Page Titles
While developing your quality content, be sure to structure it in a search engine friendly manner. This includes a keyword rich page titles, targeted headlines, and appropriate keyword usage throughout the paragraphs. Any images that are placed on the page should have alt descriptions and keyword related file names. If you are attempting to optimize an interior web page for a specific keyword be sure to have content that is closely related to that keyword and use it consistently throughout the page. Don’t overdo it and spam your page with keywords! This is easily identified as amateur SEO and won’t do you in favor in the search engines. Keep in mind that you’re producing content and good descriptions for humans first and search engines second. Here’s a guide to the perfect SEO page via SEO MOZ
4. URL Selection
Creating a new site, or looking for a new domain? URL selection is critical to not only your brand, but also which keywords you want to rank for. Try to find a URL that has one of your core keywords in it, but stay away from multiple hyphens. A strong ranking factor for Google is keywords in the URL, so if you can find a gem of a URL you will most likely be ranking for that keyword with relative ease. Shorter is better than longer from a usability and user recognition standpoint. Shorter URLs are also easier to share on sites such as Twitter. Striking a balance between your brand name and your keywords is important, but don’t stray to a .info or some other lesser known extension. People are used to .com so try to keep that level of familiarity with your users.
5. Relevant Inbound Links
Links are the lifeblood of a successful SEO campaign. Links are how search engines determine a site’s relevancy and popularity. The theory goes that if many sites are linking to you, then you have something of value to say, and if you have something of value to say then search engines will want to point users to your site. However, not all links are created equal. If you have a site that sells car parts, then getting a link from a website that sells flowers isn’t going to do you much good. In other words, you need links from sites that are relevant to your subject matter.