1 – SEO needs major technical and programming knowledge Not anymore. Making sure your site meets the core basic requirements of good content, written for human beings. Online reputation, good content that real people want to look at and a site with a basic, simple structure is as technical as it gets.
2 – SEO is all “cloak and daggers” Many agencies want to make clients believe seo is all cloak and dagger; if so they are likely to get their client into trouble in the medium term! Equally, the more “clever” the technique, the more likely Google will pick up on it and penalise. In the last 2 years very basic techniques have ended up being turned from acceptable to completely “illegal” so are your strategies keeping up?
3 – Meta tags boost rankings. They don’t boost; but the title and description meta tag is relevant to actual users. Given the complexity of what search spiders now analyse the standard importance of traditional metacontent is now hugely diluted.
4 – Keyword density on your pages is crucial. Using keywords multiple times on a page is not best practice anymore; using keywords throughout your content, in context and without undue repetition is best practice. If you’d say a phrase 3 times naturally, in 5 paragraphs then fine; but any more is unnatural and your website will be penalised.
5 – Inbound links are equally important. Having reciprocal links from your site too, and back from another website will not benefit you in any way. In fact, building links back to your site in any artificial manner will not benefit the site long term. What will however is good content that other websites want to link to. Equally, search engines detect all manner of “links”. From social shares, tweets and embedded blog links, all the way to news article comments and standard “You might find this useful” linking.
6 – SEO is done and forgotten. Once your site is live the optimisation effort must continue, it takes time to build rankings but it takes little time to lose the rank. More often than not the website goes live and sits there for 6 months going nowhere in the rankings. You need to budget for on-going content generation, backlink building and on page SEO as the markets change.
- Choose a good domain name. Find a domain name that includes one of your keywords; ego and brand have only limited relevance to the decision.
- Design the site with SEO in mind. Make sure your designers leave enough room for content on the pages and ensure the content is readable to spiders! A lot of designers and many developers don’t seem know the first thing about “optimising” a site
- Sort out your site structure. Make your site with well themed topics and titles, page titles and descriptions are essential; ensure the urls are meaningful to the content not some gobbleydegook
- Content is king. Write good quality, keyword rich content to show search engines the subject. Ensure its original and supported by images or the client will not want to link to it
- Internal links. Link pages internally using anchor text to relevant pages. Ensure a good hierarchy, and a flat pyramid structure
- Back links. Put a back link strategy in place to gather a good number of quality back links
- Define your keywords. Define 10 most used keywords and stick to them.
- Reverse engineer your competitors sites. Look at competitor sites and do the same as the ones that work – but better
- Use Google’s tools. There are a number of tools that Google provides – Analytics, Webmaster Tools – use them and understand what they are telling you about your site.
- Make it easy for Google. The better your site is structured and laid out the easier it is for Google to find you
And finally, if you don’t have the expertise in-house, get a good web strategy consultant in to translate what needs doing into to workable chunks, to manage your agency to ensure they deliver worthwhile, value-based solutions, and trains you how to take your strategy forward.