Search engine optimisation - the new wave

 technology-iconTo succeed online you need to implement search engine optimisation before you publish a single page, say Alex Petrovic and Zac Grace of Dejan SEO, in this piece outlining new trends in online marketing.

We have come a long way since the early stages of internet where keyword stuffing ruled. Now, if you want to have a successful website you need to implement SEO from the very beginning, like hiring an SEO versed web designer, or writing your web content with quality in mind at every step. Just buying a domain and slapping on a few pages does nothing for you as the goal is to improve your presence and get brand awareness. So from the start you need to understand the search engines and the ways of the social media to promote your website once the onsite aspects of SEO have been completed. It’s all about understanding your market if you want to beat it.

Understanding Search Engines and Social Media

Search engines are evolving faster and faster, so you have to keep an ear to the ground for all the changes as they can take you by surprise and ruin your hard work in one night, just like the recent Panda update did for many large brands. Knowing what search engines want is crucial, how they work, what they value, from title tags, link placement, quality content and image optimisation to new social signals and votes of confidence acquired through social networks.

Search engines are throwing more and more weight at user opinions, so social media signals like tweets, likes and now +1’s are one of the ways Google and other search engines value a page on a website. It acts like a review signal; the more people talk about your pages and your website the more weight and trust search engines put on that page, back to voting signals, just like link building.

Monitoring search engines and connecting with your audience on social networks is the first step for successful internet marketing.

Improving Content and Onsite Factors

Your website from design to content is your first and last line of defense and attack. Quality content insures good ranking and high CTR, you need compelling pages that offer fresh design as well as a great read or call to action if you want to achieve your goals. Insuring that your onsite is up to speed with search engine guidelines is the first thing you need to do.

The basic things you need to focus on don’t require you to be a tech geek, all you need to make sure is that your title tags clearly describe the page but are not stuffed with keywords. Some people avoid meta description because search engines don’t count them anymore, but that is a big mistake. Meta description is featured in the SERP, and a good description can improve your CTR significantly.

The same goes for user geared content, there is no need to have SEO writers do your content, find a good writer that will write quality content, he only needs to make sure that the article starts with your chosen keywords and maybe mention it once or twice in the article. Search engines are looking for exceptional quality and that is really hard if you try to SEO your content too much.

Designing Proper SEO Workflow

The most important part you need to pay attention to is proper workflow. When you have a good plan and well outlined research process the rest becomes easy. Here is a suggestion for your SEO workflow:

  1. Research and Analysis

1.1. Keywords

1.2. Competitors

1.3. Opportunities

  1. Onsite

2.1. Content

2.2. Architecture

2.3. User Experience

  1. Offsite

3.1. Link Building

3.2. Social Media

3.3. Branding

  1. Evaluation

4.1. Search Terms

4.2. CTR

4.3. Modifying your plan

Research your Success

The best way to make sure you are headed for success with your website is targeting the right keywords, which most webmasters tend to get wrong as they confuse market keywords with converting keywords. Although a term like “business” has millions of searches a month what are the chances that you will rank for that term, and again, the term is to broad to present it on your website and expect conversions, so it may as well be a waste of time and money.

Using Google Adwords Keyword Tool, Google trends, other keyword tools and webmaster tools and analytics can get you a massive list of keywords to choose from and focus on. The first part is the initial search, a part where we group all of the keywords in one pile.

The next step is refinement, a part where we discard unrelated and market keywords we can’t rank for or simply won’t convert. In this part we create a smaller list of keywords to go for and assign priorities based on search volumes, CTR and current rankings and chances of successs.

What you need to monitor to get a good idea of how well a keyword performs is the combination of rank, impressions and CTR. With the smaller list of keywords assign primary priority, secondary, and long tail and go to link building part of your SEO workflow.

Understanding Link Building and Branding

With your chosen keywords you need to plan for success, you can start with your competitors or you can simply assign types of links you want for each keyword. Example:

“Hiking Destination Australia”

type: content, blogs

sites: travel, hotel, accommodation

“Cheap Tourist Accommodation Cairns”

Type: profiles, directory listings

Sites: travel, communities, business

You also need to understand that you also need to link to quality content, external quality content, and not just get links. The best performed link building campaigns are based on link profile diversity, going after all link types with varied anchor texts.

The best way of getting links is create valuable content that people will link to, but that can be really hard. Try focusing on research, fun stuff or promotions if you don’t have any ideas to create a linkbait. As for regular link building, the best thing to do is scan your competitors and try to get their links as well as investigate all your existing partnerships, suppliers, providers and friends and asking for links. The rest is fishing if you don’t know what you are doing.

Since exact anchor texts are not performing as well as they used to we noticed that the link building is focusing more and more on branded terms, so don’t be afraid to link with your brand name, you can add keywords to the link, but avoid exact anchor texts as that doesn’t look naturally to Google. Also, a good sign of authority is a high search volume for a brand and you can influence that by building links with rand terms.

Planning Ahead for Good Results

I know it sounds like a lot, it can be depending on the size of your website and the competition, but planning ahead makes the whole thing easier. If you just outline your process you can clearly create an SEO plan that can lead you in the right direction and get your business off the ground and high in the SERP’s.

Article by Alex Petrovic and Zac Grace of Dejan SEO

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