I'm always being asked about SEO and how to get ranked better. Here's an overview of how it's done:
Nine Steps to Successful SEO and Two Free Hints
Second: Install Google Analytics. Some web companies won’t let you do this and try to get by with their own lame statistics. Google Analytics is the standard by which others are judged. You’ll find more help and information about GA than anything else, so it’s the best first cut. Why do we install this? Because you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Objective measurement takes all the emotion out of the rest of the process.
Third: Decide what you want people to do when they get to your website. This is hard. When I ask most of my clients “what’s the purpose of your website?” I get a deer-in-the-headlights look. For e-commerce sites, it’s easy. You want people to buy stuff, to get to the “thank you for your order” page. For others, it’s not so easy. Do you want them to sign up for your mailing list? Download a whitepaper? Request a quote? These are the things we want to measure. These are the things that tell us if we’re getting the right type of people to the website. In Google Analytics terms, these are “goals” and need to be decided on and set before we go any further.
Fourth: Find the right people by what they search for. In search-engine land, the words people type into a search engine are the keywords. They’re about all we have to go on to gauge what people are interested in. The way we measure their interest is by how many get to the goals we set up in the previous step. If and SEO consultant says they know which keywords to use just by looking ad AdWords or anything other than your GA goals, run.
Free Hint on picking keywords: In e-commerce, people generally go through three online phases getting toward their purchase. They are: general research, comparison shopping and ready to buy. Consumers use different keywords in each phase. Consider somebody shopping for a new 4k TV. In researching, they’d use keywords like 4k TVs, or UHD TVs. In comparing, Samsung 50-inch UHD, then when they’re ready to buy, they’d search for Samsung TV dealer Alpharetta, GA. The mistake most people make in targeting keywords is that they choose keywords too soon in the cycle. They’ll target the keywords UHD TVs, and be surprised when nobody buys anything. You’re actually getting people who are just in the tire-kicking phase. The thing to notice is the length of these keyword phrases. Two words in the first phase, three in the 2nd, five in the last. Here’s the free hint you can take to the bank: The closer somebody is to making a purchase, the longer the keyword phrase they search for. You’re welcome.
Fifth: Find the keywords that make the phone ring. This isn’t as easy as it used to be. Google used to tell you in analytics what keywords people searched for to find your site. No longer. Now the only way you can find out is by buying AdWords. So set set up a Google Adwords Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign to figure out which keywords are the ones that your best prospects search for when looking for what you offer. Yes, it will cost money, but spending a half year chasing the wrong keywords costs far more in lost opportunity. We use what we use on the PPC campaign to tell us how to start our organic SEO efforts.
Sixth: Start with on-page SEO. This is the part of SEO we can control the best. It’s the words, phrases, photos, and videos that are on the site. We work in the keywords we’ve discovered in our PPC campaign and the text of the most successful ads we’ve run to create compelling, well-structured content for the website.
Seventh: Create sharable text. The next phase of SEO is off-page SEO. This generally means encouraging people to link back to our site. The more high-quality sites that link to our site, the more importance the search engines will ascribe to us. People will link to high-quality, useful, non-sales content. This entails blogging, writing or recording creating unique, valuable content that people will want to share.
Another Free Hint: People don’t read web pages. They scan them. Make the pages easy to scan, with clear major points that people can look through to find the paragraph they most want to read. Like this page.
Eighth: Make it easy to share. The way most people create links these days is via social media. Make it easy for people to share your content via the major social media outlets by putting share buttons on each page.
Ninth: Do it all again. SEO isn’t a set-and-forget activity. It requires at least quarterly review and analysis.