Hey guys! It’s Wednesday and you know what that means: time for another edition of Industry Hump! Last week we talked about the top mistakes bloggers tend to make and how to avoid/correct them. This week we’ll be talking about some insider SEO tips and tricks.
A couple of weeks ago I attended a Hungry Entrepreneurs Webinar on SEO hosted by Ovetta Sampson. Hungry Entrepreneurs is a great tool for budding independent business owners and freelancers alike! They’ve got great community workshops and provide a wonderful support system and forum. I highly recommend that you all sign up!
I’m not an expert on SEO, but I have been trying to learn more recently. So I thought I’d share with you guys some of the most salient information I’ve gathered.
Over 4.7 billion people use Google for web searches on a daily basis. Among other things, they are looking for things to do, things to know, and places to go. A spider (search engine) conducts these searches across millions of web pages in a matter of seconds and compiles a list of top hits for you. How does a spider do that? By indexing web pages into categories, weighing the links and content, and then ranking the sites.
A high SEO ranking requires a number of factors and can be achieved relatively easily if you know how to do it. OK, let’s get started!
- One of the best ways to optimize your ranking is with good website architecture. If the spider can’t get around your site easily, it’s not going to be able to quickly analyze your content and find your relevant keywords. It’s as if you’ve hired a marketing professional to promote your new store opening but you give them the wrong address, no store name, and the worst imaginable directions. Make things accessible! This will help not only the spider, but also your visitors! Nine times out of ten, if I can’t find what I’m looking for on a site with just a few clicks, I’ll probably stop looking and go to a different site. You don’t want to be that site.
- When a spider visits your page, there are a few specific places it will check first to see if your site is relevant. These include page title, site map, and headlines. These three things need to be super relevant to your topic if you want a good ranking. If you pass through this first round of relevancy, it will then check your text, anything that is in bold or linked, and finally your listed address and company name. Keep this in mind when building your site and posting content.
- When you’re building your site or a post, you should aim to read like a bot. Take special care in crafting your code, and don’t forget to use critical features like a title and metadata (keywords and descriptions).
- Once you’ve got your site structure down, your ranking depends highly on your content. Obviously, good content consists of using any and all keywords that are relevant to your topic of discussion. If you’re content isn’t using your keywords, you are likely to get skipped over by the spider. Witty content with out-of-the-box copy is always great, but make sure that you’re getting in some of those basic keywords somewhere.
- A good keyword consists of the following qualities: low competition level, high search volume, high visitor value, and a weak #1 ranking. What does that mean? It means that you want to be using keywords that are popular, but not too popular. You want a keyword that has only a few searches, is trending upward, and is used by a website with a weak domain authority. For example, if you’re selling a new brand of sneakers, you probably wouldn’t want to use the same keywords that Nike uses because (let’s get real) you’ll never beat them out of the #1 ranking spot. There are a number of tools that you can use to find and analyze keyword strength and your competition’s domain authority (I will list them at the bottom of this post).
- You always want to be creating sharable content (and don’t forget to promote it on your own outlets too). The more hits your site gets using specific keywords, the better your ranking gets for those specific searches. Always be linking out to relevant content, include quotes from thought leaders, and use social media to promote all over the web. Shareable content is juicy, informative, emotional, authentic, personable, and witty. Your content should flow well and make sense to the reader, but should also make them think about things a little differently. Leave a lasting impression! Make your readers want to send out your content to anyone and everyone they know.
- Don’t duplicate content across various websites. When you have a blog post up on multiple sites across the web, the spider flags you as spam or redundant. So much less good! Try to keep content original or even tweaked wherever possible. This is where linking back and forth can be really helpful!
Here are some really great tools to help you out along the way:
- Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster are great site structure tools
- Xenu helps you find broken links on your site
- Screaming Frog helps you read your site the way a spider would
- Copyscape helps find duplicate content for you
- Google Analytics and Google Adwords are great for choosing keywords that are right for you
- SEOmoz is an open site explorer that will help figure out your domain authority as well as the domain authority of your competitors
Please feel free to drop in some comments with other tips or questions.