Your website is only available to your audience if they can find you in their search engine results. Search engines change their search algorithms frequently enough that you have to keep your website up-to-date to remain ranked in the results. While tricks and tips for tweaking your ranking come and go, here are some SEO basics that will always serve you well in the search engines.
Content: strategy for success
The Internet is a vast ocean of information. New content is added constantly. Old content tends to disappear quickly, under layers of newer, fresher material. Your site content, even that on a “static” web page needs to be periodically updated to stay ranked.
A schedule for planned posting and freshening your content should be developed. At a minimum, annual reviews of content should be considered in which new buzzwords and industry trends (aka “keywords”) are evaluated for embedding within site content while older, less relevant buzzwords and trends are weeded out.
Keywords, buzzwords and industry jargon should be embedded in your static and social media content. Periodic effort (depending on your industry, the frequency differs) should be made to make sure that new buzzwords and industry trends get folded into static content (on pages such as your About Us page). The goal is 2-7% keyword density within your content. Embedding 1-3 targeted keywords in the first 160 characters of your pages is also recommended.
Figuring out the best keywords can be tricky. Good keywords are frequently searched for (high demand) but not targeted by many other websites (low competition). Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a free tool that tells you how many searches there are for each keyword or phrase, as well as the level of competition.
Keywords should not only be embedded in the first 160 characters of a page for optimum effect, they should also be included in a page’s source code as metadata. This means that for every page you write, you should keep a list of relevant keywords that describe and promote the page, once the list is complete, make sure these keywords are added to each web page’s metadata.
- URL slugs: Slugs are reader-friendly information in the URL. An example would be http://www.bolduniverse.com/best-practices-encore-seo (the URL for this post). This url tells the viewer what the topic of the page you will visit will be. Most modern tools have means by which the slug can be easily added, such that it is separated from how the content is stored in your CMS.
- Analytics tools: There are a host of tools that allow you to see what parts of your website (e.g. which content) is attracting viewers. By analyzing their most attractive content, companies can isolate elements of that content that are bringing in audience members and exploit them on the rest of their pages.
- Social bookmarking: The more external websites that link to your website the better. For this reason, a social bookmarking tool (ex. http://sharethis.com) should be employed to permit users to quickly and easily post links to your content on popular web venues such as Digg, Delicious, Twitter, etc.
Inbound marketing is about getting noticed as a content publisher, not as an advertiser. This means appearing in the results data on major search engines. There are many methods for increasing search engine ranking. The tried and test methods are to keep your content fresh, employ well-researched keywords in your site content and titles, blog post titles, social media posts and your metadata. Additional techniques include user-friendly “slugs,” keeping an eye on your viewership, and using tools such as ShareThis.
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