What is the Most Important Element of Search Engine Optimisation?
The other day I overheard a conversation / ongoing argument between two colleagues. One said that the reason our websites climbed up a few notches in Google for the competitive keywords Web Design and Search Engine Optimisation was entirely down to our new venture in Video Blogs the other said it was due to the internal architecture of the sites being improved.
I can’t help believing that the reason our sites have climbed the rankings is for both these reasons, and a few more besides.
I started to think that Search Engine Optimisation is a little like making an elaborate cake where the ingredients keep changing and improving to make the recipe richer and the cake better.
There is no one answer to achieving good results in SEO. There are many different ‘ingredients’ to consider.
Good Keyword Research
Keyword research can be a tricky one. Often the keywords that you may consider to be the best are not the ones your customers’ would use to search for your site. There are many tools that help you choose keywords; Wordtracker and Google Adwords Keyword Tool are some of the better ones available.
Once you have a list of keywords you should do a KOI (Keyword Opportunity Index) report. This should give you a list of keywords that have low competition but high search volume.
I like to think of the internal architecture of a site as being like the foundations
of a house. You can build a house with shaky foundations but sooner or later
it’s going to start falling down. The same applies to websites.
If you build your site with the search engines in mind by making it easier for them to do their job: crawling, and then indexing the content. You’re closer to achieving a lasting presence in the search engines results.
Regular Interactive Content such as Videos and Audio
Regular interactive content helps with SEO because it can increase the ‘time on site’. This indicates to Google (and other Search Engines) that your site is a useful resource, and that people stay there once they visit it. Also Google indexes audio content now.
By placing videos on YouTube you can get more traffic to your site and increase the exposure of your videos.
We have also started to supply a transcribed version of our videos. This is for two reasons; one for accessibility so that deaf and hard of hearing people can still enjoy the content, and for Google to index the relevant content.
Have a Blog with Regular New Content
Blogs are an excellent tool for SEO. They provide regular new content (if updated! Note: Update your blog!) for Google to index. The real benefit of having a blog is to tell your customers and potential customers about your company and your products. You can quickly become an ‘expert’ in your field by regularly providing new content that is both informative and written with your keywords in mind.
Ah, Social Media! This could be a blog post in itself; it’s such a massive subject! Social Media is a useful marketing tool to promote your business. With so many people now relying on Social Media to connect with others you’d be a fool to ignore it.
Social Bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon can create a vast number of links and visitors to your site.
Link Building Through Directories
Though directories are less important than they once were, industry specific directories can be really useful for getting relevant links. Be careful about the ‘neighbourhood’ of your chosen directory and you should be fine.
Link Building Through Asking Begging for Links from other Webmasters
This is my least favourite aspect of SEO. I must have written hundreds of emails to webmasters with the hope that they will add my link to their site, only for the request to be turned down, or, more usually, ignored. But, for the few that say ‘yes’ this can be a really valuable exercise for link building. Sometimes you get lucky.
I often bypass UK companies on this and concentrate on overseas sites where you are unlikely to be in direct competition with the site you are targeting. This will still give you a relevant link.
This is a bit of a grey area. Some SEOs consider blog commenting to be a form of spam. And it certainly has been abused so much so that the majority of ‘blog comment’ links are ‘nofollow’ links and almost entirely useless. However, I do believe that by reading and engaging with others within your field you can quickly become an ‘expert’. By writing well-informed and interesting comments about the post your link may be clicked on by a fellow reader. Reading blogs and keeping abreast of your industry is an excellent way of learning more about your industry.
Article Marketing is a great way of getting keyword rich links within relevant content. Articles are distributed across the Internet via article sites. The content is also indexed quickly, giving faster results.
Press releases are an excellent way of gaining interest in your product or service. By writing them with your keywords in mind and placing keyword rich links within the copy you can get results quickly.
There is also the possibility that they may be picked up by the Press thus gaining you even more exposure.
Content Writing with SEO in Mind
Content that is both well written and full of keywords can be a difficult thing to achieve, but it is extremely important for SEO as well as conversion. Take time over your content it could be one of the most valuable things on your site.
So, there you go, one of these ‘ingredients’ alone won’t make your site go page one, number one, but a combination of some, or ideally, all of these will help your site achieve high listings.