SEO – 5 Techniques to Success
There’s a big secret surrounding the whole area of search engine optimisation (or SEO as it’s often called). And the secret is – there is no big secret to being successful at SEO!
There is, however, a wide range of tools and techniques that can be applied to improve the chances of your web site being picked up by the major search engines. You can improve your marketing skills by learning how to use a number of these tools and then applying them over a sustained period of time. SEO never ends – it’s not something that you do once and then forget about.
Before we consider which tools you might want to use, let’s take a moment to think about search engines and what they are trying to do. In effect a search engine, such as Google, is delivering a service in the form of information. That information is a list of web pages that it assesses to be most relevant to the search term typed into Google.
Google’s aim therefore is to find ways of assessing the ‘relevance’ of millions of web sites in relation to the particular search terms typed in by ‘Google-ers’. This idea of relevance is central to the way in which search engines come up with their listings – and it is always under review in the corridors of power at MSN, Yahoo, Google and the rest.
So, here are a number of tools you should become familiar with and consistently use to improve the relevance of your web site.
KEY WORD OPTIMISATION
You need to decide which key words or phrases you want to optimise your site for – because you can’t optimise it for everything! Resources such as Wordtracker, with its 7-day free trial are well-worth checking out. These will help you understand which of the search terms you are considering actually have significant search traffic, and they will give you an indication of how much competition there is for the terms you are considering.
WELL WRITTEN COPY
Your site is aiming to satisfy two very different audiences – the search engine spiders and real people. The challenge with writing copy for a web site is trying to balance these two requirements. If in doubt, write for the real person, and include a sprinkling of your chosen key words or phrases.
As well as well-written copy, your site should also be able to demonstrate regular updates to Google and the others. This means regularly adding new pages, or changing the content of existing pages.
Google’s concept of Page Rank is a key factor in deciding page relevance. If you install the Google Toolbar into your web browser, it will show you the Page Rank (in marks out of 10) for every page you visit. Page Rank is heavily influenced by the number and quality of inbound links to your site. That is, links that are situated on other sites and link through to one of the pages on your site. Make sure, where possible, that you establish inbound links from sites possessing a high Page Rank of their own.
A good way to generate inbound links is to set up a Blog (short for web log) external to your site, which then contains links to your site. You can also contribute useful articles to E-zines in order to generate links back to your own web site.
Don’t forget that you can also link one page to another within your own site, and this has value for the search engines too. In the case of both inbound and within-site links make sure you link using relevant ‘anchor text’. For example, if one of your chosen key phrases is ‘marketing training’, then try to use that text as the ‘click-able’ area that leads through to the page you want to link to. This can be done very simply in HTML.
PAGE TITLES AND DESCRIPTIONS
Each of your web pages should have a specific page title (the text you see in the very top left of the screen when viewing a web site). These page titles should contain your chosen key words or phrases – and the copy on the page should also be relevant to the key words that the page title contains. (Starting to get the idea of ‘relevance’ now?).
There are a great many more ways to help optimise your web site – so if you want to improve your marketing skills in this area, keep a lookout for our next articles on the subject.