The most important element of a successful search engine optimization strategy is picking the right keywords to target. Not only will it inform your wider marketing activity, but also trying to rank for the wrong keywords will cost time and money. Accurate research will let you identify the correct opportunities to aim for and give you plenty of insight into how to achieve them.
It is important you pick a keyword that you want to rank one at a time and get to within position 1-3 for it (= first page of Google, first 3 results), 70% of people click on the first 3 results for any given search, and 90% of people don’t make it to the 2nd page of Google.
That’s why a big part of SEO is knowing what your competition is doing, so you can find keywords and channels (example: YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Yelp) that aren’t as competitive and are easier to get results.
The Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) compares the keyword’s Daily World Searches* value to the number of Web pages competing for the given keyword. This helps you pinpoint the keywords that are good enough to optimize your website for. Keywords with the highest KEI combine higher popularity and less competition. That means you will have more chances to attain high rankings in case you use these keywords for optimization.
Optimize your site content:
Attempting to rank for all desired keywords with one page of your website is not only impossible but won’t be always relevant and easy to use for your site visitors. Instead, you should develop each unique page and piece of content to target one particular keyword, topic or phrase and use are consistent across all the visible and metadata associated with that URL. Combining that with unique, quality content will give you the highest scores for relevance, and the best chance of achieving prominent search engine rankings.
Each page should have one, and only one, <H1> tag. Use keywords in your headings with your most important keywords in the top level, and be sure to maintain the <H1> to <H6> hierarchy. While it is important to ensure every page has an <H1> tag, only include more than one per page if you’re using HTML5. Instead, use multiple <H2> – <H6> tags.
Meta Descriptions are a summary of your page content and give you space for an elevator pitch to encourage visitors to your site from search results.
They need to combine relevance with encouragement, and avoid appearing spammy. Consider how you can answer the questions of people searching for that particularly keyword or phrase.
Meta Descriptions should be 160 characters (including spaces) to appear in full across all search engines, and should including your keyword for that page.
Use combinations of terms, potentially including your brand name, and avoid using the main keyword more than twice.
Avoid duplication, which will be flagged up in Google and Bing Webmaster tools. It’s better to have no description than duplication. If nothing is provided, search engines will either use arbitrary text from the page or potentially a DMOZ listing.
Try to answer relevant questions and provide reasons for users to click through.
Blogs are a great way to publish fresh content on a regular basis to your site, attracting visitors and helping it to rank for your desired keywords.
Given the huge rise in business blogging, it’s important to make sure you are publishing content that your audience will find useful, attractive and therefore recommend and share. Balance self-promotion with valuable resources for your industry and customers, insights into your business, and content which helps to build the community in your industry.
Ensure your blog is set up on your domain, e.g. http://blog.example.com, or http://www.example.com/blog/ rather than using an external platform, such as Blogger, Tumblr, etc. Optimize the design, and avoid slowing page loads by adding sidebar widgets that won’t be useful for your readers.
Plan an Editorial Calendar to set out the keywords and subjects you will target, and supplement this with monitoring news and trending keywords relevant to your business.
Register your blog with directories such as Technorati, Google+ Publisher and the Authorship markup.
Optimize each post for SEO, and promote each one on Social Media. While SEO titles should be factual for the keywords to target, social media promotion should be rewritten to be more enticing.
Monitor and respond to comments promptly. Services such as Akismet and Disqus can help to tackle and reduce spam comments.
The time it takes for your pages to load is not only a factor in how well your pages rank in search results. Internet users are also increasingly impatient and a delay of milliseconds can cause them to leave your website in frustration.
There are a range of issues which can affect the speed of your site, so it’s important to look at each factor logically in turn from your server speed to your code and content.
Caching tools can lessen the server load, and improve speed. These can be deployed at server, database and website levels.
Optimize your content, particularly large image and video files. Reduce inessential widgets, graphics and code.
Ensure you’re monitoring your page load times and maintaining best practices.