Personally, I believe SEO is about more than just achieving a no.1 or page one ranking on the search engines – there is little point in directing traffic to your site if you don’t then have a site in place which can effectively show your visitors that you can satisfy whatever need it is they came looking to satisfy in the first place – if conversion rates is in anyway a part of your objectives, then spamming you’re way to the top of the rankings is less likely to help you achieve these than a well planned and thought out SEO strategy.
I would always apply a long term SEO strategy which not only puts your site in good stead for the short term, but the long term also. By taking a quality over quantity approach to SEO, you will be in a better position to maintain high rankings whilst your fly by night get rich quick competitors fall by the way side.
The standard goals of pretty much any SEO campaign should be:
- Have a website in place that is friendly to both types of visitors, humans and spiders
- Provide users with relevant and up to date content
- Provide users with the clear message that yours is the site they are looking for
- Position yourself as an authority website within your niche
- Increase search engine rankings
- Increase site traffic
- Increase conversion rate
In order to do this, I break down an SEO strategy into four key phases:
Phase 1 – Do your research
Get an understanding for who will find your website of use and come up with a profile for the target audience
Once you have this, do extensive research into the keywords this audience are using
Find out who you’re competitors are and what they are doing in terms of SEO and online marketing, the idea being, whatever they do, you must improve upon it
Phase 2 – On Site SEO
Use the research carried out in phase 1 to plan your website structure. The goals, keyword research and competition should aid you in planning the content of your site.
Optimise pages – not your site. Be sure to split your keywords over various pages within the site.
When optimising individual pages, make sure you cover the basics such as title tags, meta tags, anchor text, keyword usage, bold text where appropriate and keyword rich file names.
Ensure internal site linking is search engine friendly and ensures all the pages you want to be indexed can be found by both people and spiders.
Phase 3 – Get your site noticed
When the site is ready, you need to get it noticed, it won’t get to the top of the rankings by itself so go out and get links that are trust worthy and carry a degree of authority.
Get people on your site straight away with a well thought out and targeted AdWords campaign. Use this to determine which keywords work and which don’t.
Phase 4 – Think Long Term
Good rankings are generally maintained by quality content and good linking. Provide visitors with good quality up date content, and they will do the hard work for you, by telling other people about your website in the form of a link on another website, blog or forum.
If you have something interesting to say, say it. Set up a blog and submit articles. If you provide compelling content, people will visit your site again and again and they will tell others.
Keep up to date on SEO trends and make sure your website can keep up.
Look at existing social media trends and think how these can be applied to your site. Could you make use of a Facebook profile? Will people be interested in your tweets? SMO is constantly evolving, and websites need to be able to connect and interact with, whilst building up a profile within, existing communities
In summary, if you want to consistently achieve high rankings you need to take a long term approach to SEO. You need to look at the present and future and ensure your website will stand the test of time whilst being adaptable to changes in the market. Over time you will gain a good understanding of what to do and what not to do – and time is the key, a good quality SEO strategy is a long term SEO strategy.