Every new technology adopted widely by society brings about a number of new opportunities. The movable type printing press created affordable print information, the telephone and radio created the concept of instantaneous communication over great distances. Today, the Internet has unified both of these concepts into the information explosion that is the digital age.
Consider this article alone – a mere forty years ago printing even fifty copies of each page would cost either a chunk of change or at least a suspicious look from the boss as you hovered over the office copier. Now the information can be sent to thousands of people within the time it takes to brew a good cup of tea.
Of course with every technology comes a system to make the best marketing use of that advancement. The radio gave rise to the modern commercial advertisement, which was refined by the television and still persists on the Web. The telephone gave us telemarketers and the first concept of communication networking. For making the most of the Internet, the strategy of the day is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
What is SEO, again?
In short, SEO is the presentation of a webpage in such a way that it consistently ranks highly in particular search engine results. While fads and sensations can quickly boom online from “word of mouth,” they don’t produce the same reliable success as a balanced, systematic approach.
Very few businesses, after all, want one rush of attention that leads to a website crash, followed by an equally quick slide into the various forgotten graveyards of the web. Therefore, SEO uses a combination of elements to make the site increasingly relevant to the various searches that Internet users perform, to bring it up again and again among the best results.
Key SEO Strategies
1. Set goals.
Identify what you want your SEO campaign to accomplish. While any SEO-conscious writing and page design can contribute to a site’s search engine rankings, an unfocused effort will simply waste time and money. After all, a business promoting athletic clothing and footwear may not benefit too much from showing up in searches for evening wear. Is your goal simply to increase your site’s visitor traffic? Do you want to generate more sales of a product? Is it part of an effort to promote your digital brand? Each of these goals benefits from different aspects of SEO technique.
2. Link up.
Link building is one of the cornerstones of any SEO effort. Many search engines are spider-based, meaning they use automated processes to collect and categorize information on various websites. When a large number of websites provide links back to your business, or when a particularly high-traffic site does so, the spiders take notice of it and increase the relevance of that link in searches related to those sites.
3. Get the keys.
Keyword writing is consistently stressed as a requirement when websites look for content writers. Keywords are just that, words and phrases chosen for their popularity and relevance to key searches.
There are dozens of theories about keyword writing. In the earlier days of SEO writing, it wasn’t uncommon to see pages that were nothing but long strings of repeated variations on a few keywords. This has evolved into more organic writing that fits in keywords with the article as a whole.
Whichever strategy is chosen, care must be taken to avoid the temptation to abuse keyword searches. Yes, a proper keyword density will bring up your search rankings over time. However, Google can and does ban pages from its index when they determine it to be a keyword-abusing effort. So consider your keyword choices carefully, and seamlessly integrate them into your entire strategy.
4. Be on the right page.
One aspect occasionally neglected in SEO is the architecture and design of the webpage itself. Search engines and their ranking systems (be they spider or human based) are growing more sophisticated all the time, and look at many different factors in their decisions. A site that buries its keyword-rich articles on interior pages behind dozens of subsidiary links will not perform as well as one with strategic keyword-oriented material right on the front page. Have an SEO-conscious designer look over your page, as well as your articles.
Remember that every business is a multi-faceted whole. Many failures occur when people attempt to compartmentalize too much. You can’t consider SEO as some sort of ‘event’ that you do every so often, just as a business can’t put off routine maintenance of their equipment and expect it to function properly. Integrate your efforts into the entire process, and give them the same focus as any other effort in the business, and they will return their investment much more reliably, quickly, and ideally.