While there are no hard and fast rules for determining a flawless SEO strategy, it’s still wise to seriously consider important factors towards ranking a website or when planning a SEO Campaign.
Let’s briefly break each factor down a little further…
ON PAGE Optimization
1. Descriptive Titles
The title tags are one of the best places to attract both your audience and the search engine spiders. How your listing appears in the SERPs is a crucial aspect of your rankings and clickthroughs. Don’t leave your titles blank or stuffed with keywords. Use it to describe your page and simply choose the most relevant keyword. If you have a compelling title tag, you already won 50% of the battle.
Here’s a good example of a descriptive title tag:
2. Clean Meta Tags
Matt Cutts explained through a video message that Google ignores the meta keywords tag. To me this announcement is a signal to webmasters to properly use meta tags. Google did not mean keywords tags aren’t important. They simply meant they do not use the meta keywords tag for ranking. In other words, no matter how many keywords you indicate inside your meta tag, they bear no influence in ranking your website. I still would recommend using keywords tag because other search engines like Bing use them.
Important Meta Tags
<title>The Title of the Page</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
< meta name=”author” content=”Author’s Name” >
< meta name=”keywords” content=”important keywords only” />
<meta name=”copyright” content=”Copyright 2013 OOm” />
<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />
<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
While meta tags do not modify the look of the webpage, they are still super important in passing information to search engine spiders.
If you want to have a strong website, it needs to have a well formatted xml site map. It gives your website a considerable competitive advantage over websites that don’t have it. A sitemap allows the spiders to easily crawl and index each of the pages of your website. By submitting a xml sitemap to Google, their spiders will be able to crawl your website in a more timely manner, therefore gives you a push into search engine listings. You can also inform the spiders about any changes in your website using a sitemap, and these changes get index as soon as they happen.
Tools to generate xml sitemap
4. Keyword Rich URLS
Whenever spiders index a webpage, the url is the first piece of information that spiders interpret.
The url website.com/product_id=12345?col=3 will not immediately make any sense
Sample of keyword rich URLs that stand a greater chance for the search engines to locate your page:
Don’t get me wrong, readers will still find your page even without a keyword rich url, but you are not ahead of the competition due to lack of url optimization.
5. Website Architecture & Navigation Structure
Is your website and its pages easily navigable? Do the internal pages receive link juice or vote from the homepage? The answer depends on your website architecture and navigation structure.
The SILO Architecture
Siloing is a white hat SEO website architecture technique that puts related pages together, making it properly presented to the visitors and spiders as well. This process requires a deep understanding of the different topics presented in your website. You will have to knit related pages together, designing a flat architecture and at the same time maintaining usability.
SEOMOZ gave the best illustration on the SILO and breadcrumb topics during a presentation in SES London. Read it here.
OFF PAGE Optimization
6. Link Profile Diversity (Relevant and High Quality)
Diversifying your backlink profile means acquiring links from different forms of interaction like guest posting, tweets, reviews, directory listings, social bookmarks, web 2.0 and many other.
A diversified link profile will protect your website from harmful effects of algorithm updates. It will help sustain your rankings.
If you rank based on article submissions, a quick algorithm update that devalues links from article directories will wipe out all your efforts.
Remember that as you diversify your backlink profile, you also diversify your anchor texts. Too many backlinks with the same keyword can be interpreted as spamming.
7. Local Citations
Simply put, local citations boost your impact in local listings. Citations allows search engines to further confirm that your business does exist with address, telephone number and can be located using an online map. Local citations carry a lot of weight for local SEO so it’s time to get listed on local yellowpages in your area.
8. Content Marketing
Content is still King but the game has changed. Content in the new age of SEO can be in the form of audio, video, images and text. The better the content, the longer the visitor stays and the more the content gets shared.
This is how Google measures content nowadays. They look at the bounce rate and the attention a webpage gets in the social community.
Take advantage of Google’s new approach by planning a stellar content marketing strategy.
9. Meaty Content
Fresh, Topicality/ Timeliness
Google measures and ranks our webpages based on “freshness”. If you update your website on a regular basis, it may earn a higher freshness score than sites that don’t care about updates. This is the reason why most optimized websites have a blog extension.
It is also wise to note that the best fresh content is one that is meaty. If you want to beef out your content, you don’t just throw out an opinion and roll with it. Write with substance, making sure your content actually helps your readers.
10. Relationship Building
SEO has evolved. The new link building is now called “relationship building”. It is easier said than done, but building relationships for links can lead to targeted traffic, increased customer base and conversions too. Relationship building is made easier through the use of social media. Facebook helps your business reach out to your customers. Twitter allows you to keep in touch and share whatever matters. Relationship building can be difficult in the beginning but the benefits it will give your brand is genuine, authentic and lasting.
Undoubtedly all of these strategies represent a lot of work. I believe that this year, there will have a lot more changes to Google’s algorithms. However, if we start building the foundation of a proper SEO campaign, ranking your website won’t be an epic struggle. SEO is a long term investment and if you don’t have time to do SEO, that’s where our SEO agency comes in.