One of our account managers at my SEO firm received an interesting query from a client today about “SEO tricks”. A new vice president was in place at the client’s company and was asking about search engine optimization tactics, calling them “tricks” and “black magic”.
The first thing we did was to address the fact that “tricks” and “black magic” are not very effective ways to describe optimizing web pages for search engines. The new VP must have previously employed a SEO firm that used out-dated vernacular or that continues to make SEO sound mysterious and secret. The fact is, there’s nothing “secret” about SEO.
In the end, the new vp asked for six search engine optimization tactics they should know about. Why six? Why not five or a hundred? I have no idea, but I thought I’d share them here.
2. Research relevant keywords. Tools like Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery can uncover important insight into what search phrases your target audience is using. Create a keyword glossary and have your content developers reference the glossary when creating new pages.
3. There should be a HTML site map page listing an organized collection of text links to the pages of the site. No more than 100 links per site map page. Also, submit an XML sitemap document to Google to assist the regular crawl by Googlebot. Same for Yahoo except in RSS format.
4. Commit to fresh, themed content. Add new content in a structured format and do so consistently over time. Never stop adding content. Use important keywords in title tags, meta description tags, near the top of each page as a title, in bread crumb navigation, within text links between pages, in image alt text and of course, within the body copy itself. Don’t overdo it though. 2-5% keyword density is fine if you need to work with percentages.
5. Secure incoming links from a variety of sources including: backlink analysis on competitors, directories, blogs, press releases, articles, product reviews, publications. Never stop engaging in procurement of links from authoritative sources.
6. Mine the internal site search for keyword combinations and add content/optimize further for those phrases. Also, review the overall site analytics data for trends in keywords and source referrers. Enable conversion tracking on both PPC and organic phrases. Make adjustments to content development, optimization and ongoing link building accordingly.
I could list a hundred different “SEO tactics” and if you added contingencies, it would be multiples of that. What is fundamentally important for web site owners to understand about search engine optimization is that adding content and links should never stop.
“Tricks” are short term, high risk and nominal value tactics. Long term development of relevant, well structured content as well as inbound links is a high value, little or no risk way to improve your results with search engines.