Having an ongoing search engine optimization strategy is essential for any successful SEO campaign. And there is a big difference between SEO strategy and SEO techniques. I define SEO techniques as the actions that one takes to optimize a certain segment of a Web site. So in other words, having keyword focused title tags, changing 302 redirects to 301 redirects, optimizing content, are all techniques that can be used to optimize a Web site for search engines. How you put together the master plan of utilizing those techniques on an ongoing basis is your SEO strategy. It may seem at first like an exercise in semantics but its important to understand the difference. A person can employ a number of different SEO techniques that can help a Web site attain higher rankings, but if there is no overall game plan as to how these techniques are going to be used in conjunction with one another over a period of time, then there is no strategy. If I were to use a football (American football) analogy, doing SEO would be playing the game of football. Calling plays in a huddle and then running the plays is playing football with a strategy. Not having a huddle and just telling everyone to go get open, is playing without a strategy. You can win either way, but usually your odds improve greatly with a strategy. Football and SEO are the same in that way. So today I would like to give you 4 SEO tips (techniques) to improve your overall search engine optimization strategy.
SEO Strategy Tip #1: Add Internal Links Based on Your Analytics and Long Tail Keywords
Too often in SEO we focus on the big words that we want and we forget the low hanging fruit that can taste the sweetest. By studying your analytics and getting your keyword referrals, you can usually find a number of long keyword phrases that are relevant to your business. Because these phrases are long, they are not that popular with searchers and therefore the competition to target these phrases is much less. So for example, if you sell dog food, you might find that you start getting hits for “discount dog food in san diego” because your business happens to be located there. So you go to Google and find that you are currently ranked #6 for the phrase and it gave you two visitors last month. Now because you are smart, you have set up your analytics to measure conversions (sales) based on keyword referrals. If you are not smart and haven’t done this yet, stop reading this post immediately and go fix that because it is a major problem with your business. Seriously.
(Back to the analogy) So looking at your conversion data you find that both clicks resulting from “discount dog food in san diego” converted into sales. So obviously it behooves you to rank #1 for that term. And the good news is that because that term is not that competitive, you can probably improve your rankings by adding a little bit of internal link text! Usually a few links for non competitive terms really makes a big difference in your ranking. So the first thing to do is to go to the page that is ranked for that phrase and make sure that the phrase appears at least once in the body of the main content. If it doesn’t, figure out a way to add it without detracting from the readability and professionalism of your content. Now, go to Google and use this command to search:
site:www.yourdomain.com “discount dog food in san diego” (or whatever your keyword is)
This search command will show you all the instances of the phrase that already exist on your site. Change those occurrences of the phrase to link text pointing back to the page that already ranks for the term. If you don’t have any results from the Google search, it’s time to evaluate what other pages on the site you could add the phrase to manually and then link it. This is a very effective technique if you do it CONSISTENTLY. So part of your overall strategy should be to have time every month when you do this.
PS. This also helps with site usability
SEO Strategy Tip #2: Produce Content Based on Keyword Research on an Ongoing Basis
The biggest problem I see with most SEO initiative is the lack of resources dedicated to producing content on a consistent basis. And more so, producing content that is keyword focused. Whether its Web site content, articles or blog entries, your Web site should be producing content that is relevant to your readers on an ongoing basis. And there is no better gauge of what is relevant to your readers than the keywords that they are using to get to your site. Additionally, internal site search analytics are essential to understanding what your audience is looking for, and perhaps having difficulty finding. Give your users what they want and you will be successful. Your SEO strategy must include producing content on a consistent basis that is driven by keyword research. If not, your falling behind your competition even as we speak (um, read..lol).
SEO Strategy Tip #3: Blog
The advantages of blogging from a branding, authority building, content producing and networking perspective are too numerous to mention in this short article. From an SEO point of view, one of the biggest advantages to blogging is the number of links that you can generate in a fairly short amount of time. And I don’t mean blog comment links (from do follow blogs) or profile links (make sure you customize your LinkedIn Anchor text to your Web site) although there is some merit in utilizing both of those in your overall link development strategy. But the primary advantage really in terms of linking is that bloggers link much more frequently than traditional Web masters. If for no other reason than they generally produce more content. But also the blogosphere has a little different culture than the World Wide Web in general and most bloggers are prone to linking within their content and their blog rolls when the content they are linking to justifies it.
Additionally, by promoting your blog in social media sites like Digg or Mixx, you can connect with like minded bloggers who are likely to link to your content (if it’s good enough). Having a blog allows you to participate on the Internet in a completely different way than having a Web site. And if you do it right (make a great resource), you will find that it becomes one of your best link development tools. And it can also become one of your most important content creation tools as well.
SEO Strategy Tip #4: Make the Most of Your Existing Links
Many times companies come to us and they already have thousands and thousands of links. Rather than go out and look for more, sometimes the best use of time is to optimize the ones they already have. One of the things I typically do is gather all the back links I can find for a Web site and then evaluate what opportunities might exist to augment the most important ones with keyword focused ALT text. Many times these are links that the company already controls because they own sister sites or have related divisions under a different business name. Sometimes because of the size of some of these companies, the Webmaster for one division or international section of a company won’t be in communication with another. And that’s a gap that we bridge. Sometimes it’s as easy as seeing which trade shows a company sponsors and asking those shows to add appropriate ALT text to an image link. Sometimes it’s sending an email to a Web master thanking them for the link and asking them to add a keyword or two to the existing anchor text if possible. The point is, there are usually a number of creative ways to take better advantage of links you already have. Part of your SEO strategy should be to evaluate those opportunities on a consistent basis and then take action.
I hope these 4 SEO strategy tips help you to not only improve your overall search engine optimization campaign, but inspire you to start thinking about your overall strategy and stick to it consistently. In SEO, slow and steady doesn’t always win the race, but it’s usually in the top 3 😉