SEO strategies have to involve a long-term approach and strategy, one that encompasses web design, content, communications, and social media. How do you get started?
Here are some important elements to keep in mind when developing an effective SEO strategy:
Bow Down to Content
We’ve heard the old refrain about content being king, but in reality, content has only achieved real regal status in the last couple of years. Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, in particular, have helped encourage a focus on high-quality content, punishing sites with duplicate or redundant articles, short or unhelpful text, and over-optimized pages.
What is quality content? Essentially, it means putting the reader (or visitor) first. You can’t just stuff pages with keywords and black hat SEO techniques. Google and the reader expect more. You therefore have to develop content that is authoritative, informative, and engaging. Focus on specific niches or products that you are passionate about, and look to add value to everything that you produce.
It is equally important, however, to focus on how you are delivering this content. Always follow web design and writing best practises, using clear, concise language, short sentences, bullets, and headers. Make it easy for your visitors.
How do you gain authority and credibility? This question has always plagued content producers and SEO specialists. Thankfully, recent studies have attempted to codify the process. The most notable, the Stanford Web Credibility, has in fact compiled guidelines to help websites enhance design and credibility. Their suggestions include:
- Providing third-party support for information you provide.
- Highlighting expertise and knowledge.
- Providing contact information.
- Designing your site to look professional.
- Making your site easy to use and useful.
- Updating content often.
- Limiting promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).
- Avoiding/limiting errors.
Click here for more on the Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.
Develop an Effective Backlink Strategy
While some classic “link building” strategies are no longer recommended (including one-for-one link exchanges, paid link, article syndication, and link wheels), backlinking is still the most important component of SEO. Effective link building strategies include submitting to relevant directories, producing great content as link “bait”, leveraging social media to acquire quality links, and interlinking web properties to boost online presence, among many other techniques.
Count on SEO Professionals
While SEO tactics can often be a DIY enterprise, there are many reasons why you should turn to the experts. For one thing, SEO agencies and consultants can help keep you up to date on any search engine trends and changes. They will also help analyse the competitive landscape and provide the necessary analytical foundation. Take advantage of their expertise.
Monitor your Performance
Spend enough time working on SEO, and you realize something very quickly: without data, you have nothing to work with. There are now a number of tools that can help you monitor website performance on a regular basis, and it’s essential that you leverage the information they provide. Data-driven approach will allow you to track and analyse the effectiveness of your SEO strategy, and enable ongoing tweaks and improvements.
Ultimately, developing an effective SEO strategy requires a long-term commitment. There may not be any magic tricks, but following these tips, and investing the necessary resources can have a huge impact on your online presence and ROI.