Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is getting a lot of challenges this year with Google’s continuous drastic algorithm changes and the social media revolution. If you’re an optimizer who wants to bring your client’s sites or your own pages to the top of the search engines for driving more traffic and converting more profit, you may want to bulletproof them to any algorithmic changes and Internet revolutions. If SEO will be defined in its simplest term, it would only be mean as the process of optimizing your site for the search engines and for the search engine users. SEO doesn’t lies only in your hands, but also lies in the hands of the search engines and in the hands of the searchers. This is the essence of what we will be discussing below. This is also the framework we will use to make our websites and pages search engine optimized in any given period of time. For more specific discussions, let’s go to the following SEO tips and strategies for the year 2012 and for future beyond.
1. Plan your SEO
Planning sets the direction and the destination of your every goal, as well as your SEO goals. SEO is a very competitive battle ground. You don’t just go there and compete with all your might. Instead, you need to ensure that you have formulated a strategic plan to win the SEO competition. Search engine optimization is not only about building links. The SEO process is broader and larger than what most optimizers think. The process even starts before we build our website. SEO already begins when we think about the kind of site we will create and offer to the search engines and to our site’s users. The following things should be considered in your early planning.
The domain name – Your domain name will play a major role in your SEO. So choose the right name that will match and will help you most in attaining your SEO objectives. If you intend to rank higher on business related SERP (search engine results page), then choose business related names. Your personal name can be used if you are or if you will become an authority to that niche.
The site’s platform – If you’re blogging, choose the best blogging software that you believe will help you most when it comes to SEO. Here, I use WordPress for its built-in SEO functionalities, not to mention the other several SEO plugins we can install to it.
The title, category and niche – Plot down your intended name, niche, categories, tags, topics and the intended contents you will fill on your site. Make sure that they should all work harmoniously.
The competition – Before you compete, study your competition first. Find out who are your competitors, their current rankings, their strengths and weaknesses, and their current and potential resources. Then evaluate yourself… do you have what it takes to compete and dominate?
The resources – Define your SEO team, are you doing it all alone or you will have a group of people to help you? Assess also your financial resources and your available time. Do you have enough money and time to attain your SEO goals? You can also include the trainings you need to provide to yourself and to your team to improve your SEO skills.
Invest enough time on your SEO planning. There are many other factors you need to consider in your SEO plan. You just need to make sure that your plan is specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding and trackable.
2. Provide not only quality content, but a whole quality site
I believe that content is king. But I also believe that a kingdom is futile without the castle, bishops and the soldiers. Thus, you should not only concentrate on creating high quality contents, but also focus on building a high quality site. You should pay attention to the following:
Content as the king – Your contents are what people or your visitors are looking for when they land on your site or pages. They are also what search engines are primarily indexing and what search engine users are primarily searching. Hence, high quality contents should be your number one priority. All your great promotions and advertising will fail if you will not deliver the right products – your contents.
Speed – Search engine optimization includes optimizing your site or pages in terms of their speed or the time that a site is loaded. Google has already incorporated the site speed in determining site rankings, which is only fair since that’s the essence of optimization. Thus, you need to make sure that your site is light and fast to browse. So if you will use images and other media files, optimize them first or lighten their file sizes before you load them into your website.
User friendliness and ease in navigation – Is your site giving your visitors a lot of headaches and confusion? If yes, then it’s not optimized for search engines, and neither for users. Google bot, as a crawler, is also one of the regular visitors to your site. When it crawls to your site, it should find your site as a user/visitor-friendly site to be considered optimized. Hence, you should make your site a clean and an organized place to visit. Here are some ways to make your site user-friendly and easy to navigate.
– Use a sitemap page
– Use categories and sub-categories
– Use tags consistently
– Put a search-box
– Link content to your other related contents within the site
– Use easy to read URL’s
– Don’t put obstructing and cluttered ads
– Remove broken outbound links
– Optimize your images and other media files for fast loading
– Keep your website template or design neat and light
Site collaboration – To create an entire website that offers quality, you need to make sure that all the parts of your website are working as one. In other words, it should be consistent and collaborative. This can be achieved by ensuring that your title, description, tags, URL, category, niche, text content, images and everything on your website connect each other in terms of how it communicate to the search engines and users. So if for example you are making a blog post, make sure that the title, tags, keywords, category, URL, photos and the texts in the blog post are related to each other.
3. Be an authority
Build up an authority for your website and for the people who are behind that. For example, If you are optimizing a blog, workout your blog to become an authority blog and workout yourself to become an authoritative blogger. Search engines and readers naturally rank and recognize reputable sites and pages higher than those that are not. Earning authority is not achieved overnight; you need to diligently and patiently work for it for months or even for years. Here are 2 things you need to accomplish to earn that:
Build a brand – You need to show off your face. Introduce your website and the people behind it clearly. Make your “about page” interesting and trustworthy. Always remember that brand should be built on trust.
Build a reputation – Your website should be known as a consistent provider of quality content. If you are a blogger, you should also be known as a blogger who consistently writes high quality blog posts. Just like any other system, search engines have artificial intelligence that recognizes the trustworthiness of any page and its author. You should not also forget the natural intelligence of the people who are using the search engines. Thus, work hard to build your reputation.
4. Get social influence
Whether you like it or not and whether you’re busy or not, you need to socialize online. Google has already integrated the power of social media into their search engine through Google Plus and Blogger. Furthermore, top social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter already play big roles in discovering new pages and in starting a word-of-link on the face of the Internet. Your Facebook friends might discover your pages, write about them on their blogs, or share them in their Google+ streams. That’s the social media effect on search engines optimization. But the question now is how you will socialize and make more real friends? The following are some ways to get socialized.
Start socializing – If you have not yet created accounts in Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Linkedin, Google+ and other top social networking sites, then you should create them now.
Connect your site to social media – Integrate your website and its pages to your social media profiles. Put your website in your social network info and share your interesting pages to those networks. Also put social bookmarking buttons, such as facebook share, Twitter retweets or Google +1 on your pages to encourage your visitors to share them to different social networks.
Be human – Remember that social networking is about making relationships. That is why you should not just go there like a robot who automatically shares his or her Facebook status, tweets or stories. You need to socialize as a real human who interacts personally and builds real relationship. And if you really want to earn more friends, they keyword is “helping”
5. Execute Execute Execute!
You might know a lot of proven effective SEO tactics and techniques. You might already know all of the SEO things I’d discussed here. Just like me, I have already read a lot of SEO materials and have proven their effectiveness. But the problem is that I am sometimes too lazy to do them. My best SEO tip for you and for me is simply to put our SEO knowledge into action! Ask all successful people how they achieve success… and you will mostly get answers like hard work, patience and persistence. These are all true, but often we just can’t relate and understand these kinds of answers. The reason why people don’t understand hard work, patience and persistence is because only those who actually practice them understand these things.
With strategic planning, focusing on total quality, building authority, getting social influence and putting them all into action, your SEO dream are set to have better and more permanent results. Remember that search engines are made for searchers. Thus, they will adjust according to the needs of the searchers. So the bottom line is… focus on the searchers – the people who use the search engines.