In the world of Search Engine Optimization—more widely known by the masses these days as “SEO,” just about everyone and any seo company knows the importance of keyword placement, page rankings and driving traffic to websites. Although this practice has been in active use for quite some time now, the question still remains as to how an individual or company can ensure that their SEO efforts not only places their website high in search results, but maximizes their ROI (Return on Investment), where applicable.
Perhaps the most important lesson all people should keep in mind is the fact that there is no black and white, clear-cut strategy that produces top results each time. In addition to the important SEO factors laid out below, trial and error is almost always a part of the process as well. Knowing this ahead of time will help those attempting to tackle SEO better understand what the potential outcome could be and avoid setting unrealistic expectations.
What You Already Know About SEO (And Why You’re Still Not Seeing Results)
Tags –Including tags into your content is an added benefit that helps search engines determine how to categorize your site and the best way to handle the information. However, the relevance of tags when it comes to SEO has changed dramatically, especially when it comes to search engines and indexing.
According to Search Engine Journal, search engines originally relied on tags heavily to decide where a site will rank in online searches. Unfortunately, this realization caused many to overuse the tags in an effort to get recognized instantly. The end result: search engines deciding they’re not that important after all.
Is that to say you shouldn’t focus on including proper tags into your pages? Of course not. However, it is important to not focus too much of your energy on them. Proper SEO requires more than just concentrated effort in any one area.
Keywords – It is no secret that keywords are the “key” to being placed favorably in online search results and boosting a site’s presence on the Internet. At the same time, the concept of using keywords for SEO purposes has also led to some of the most commonly made mistakes. This includes overusing the keywords to an extent that while it may be fine for search engines to index, it completely makes no sense to the people actually reading it.
As far as how the use of keywords relates to getting results, SeoMoz has found through studies conducted that practices such as keyword density is virtually “a complete myth as an algorithmic component.” The site also concludes that based on the studies’ results:
“While it’s true that more usage of a keyword term/phrase can potentially improve targeting/ranking, there’s no doubt that keyword density has never been the formula by which this relevance was measured.”
To sum it up: use your keywords the appropriate number of times that makes sense within the context of the content. When it comes to keyword variations, stick to using only one or two variations of a keyword term/phrase.
What You Really Need to Know About SEO
While the information above may seem discouraging, it’s vital to see it in perspective. Keywords and tags are still an essential component to SEO and SEM campaigns but they are not the only factors that make an impact. Below are some factors that may be overlooked or even ignored.
Quality Content – For some reason, people still think throwing together a few paragraphs and then hammering them with various keywords is what makes for an ideal SEO approach. Wrong! It is important to understand that the content you’re offering up to the search engines to index are also being displayed to human beings that will be reading what you’ve posted. Content that is engaging, informative and includes the basics of SEO almost always increases the link conversion rate, which is described by SEOmoz as being the “ratio of those who visit to those who link after viewing.” So take the time to craft sentences that are articulate, thoughtful, entertaining and enjoyable for people to read. Without strong content, any SEO efforts will be useless.
Spread The Word – Sure, on-site SEO is the backbone of just about all online marketing efforts but it isn’t the only one. Off-site SEO methods should also be incorporated to cover all of your bases and maximize results. The following off-site ideas come from MrDefinite.com and have been proven to produce favorable results for those that implement them properly:
- Social Networking: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook—there’s no shortage of ways to get the word out about your site by connecting with people with similar interests.
- Subscribe to Groups: Become an active member of online groups that are highly visible (i.e. Google Groups). Participate in discussions to create a presence on those sites and leave answers in your posts that include your link.
- Article Directories: You can’t do SEO alone. Take advantage of article directories and submit to all of the top performing ones. There are tons so chances are you’ll have luck with at least a handful.
- Contact Site Owners: When done the right way (not appearing desperate or demanding), asking site owners if they’d be interested in one of your articles with your link included or inquiring about a link exchange, could boost your SEO results, especially if the site you’re contacting already has massive online exposure and plenty of readers.
- Backlinking: Having a link on someone else’s site directing the person who clicks it to your own site is among one of the most effective ways to attract new people.
Proper Keyword Placement: Turn some of your attention away from the tedious meta tags and make sure to put your keywords where they really count, which is the title, URLs and internal links. Studies show these three basic elements increase the potential a page has to perform well.
No successful SEO campaign is without its flaws. Only through trial and error, consistency and time will relevant results appear. Keep at it and your efforts will definitely pay off.
In sum, we leave you with the following video from Matt Cutts (Google) where he speaks to one factor that may influence SEO, domain registration length. As you may have gathered, there are MANY factors that go into SEO, and the ones listed here are by far the most important!