I was speaking with a web developer recently who also happens to be a friend. He came to me personally wanting to run a pay per click marketing campaign for one of his clients. Our chat came to a point where we talked about search engine optimization (SEO). I asked if he has considered SEO marketing for his client?. He replied and said, oh, I have already taken care of that.
So out of curiosity I asked what strategy he has implemented so far, and what the progress is like. His response was quite amazing to tell you the least. He told me he has optimized the title, description and other various meta tags. And that he has also submitted to all the major search engines and some link directories.
While those are some of the necessary things one should take care of. SEO goes beyond just that, you need a good marketing plan in place. Gone are the days when you just stuff keywords into tags and just relax.
I didn’t have enough time to do a presentation for him, but here’s basically a draft of some of the things I explained to him.
1. Keyword Research
First I told him, he needed to figure out who his target audience were, and what keywords they were using to search for his kind of business (meaning his client’s business, I’ll refer to it as his business). Which is basically doing old fashion keyword research. I gave him a link to Google’s free keyword research tool which you can find here:
2. Competitive Research
I made him realize he needed to figure out who the competitors for those keywords/business were. To find out what they were doing, how they were doing it, and copy, then add a little twist and some creativity.
I told him about Google’s competitive research tool.
3. Page Title Optimization
I then talked about page titles, which in my opinion is the greatest SEO effort you can implement on your site by targeting the right keyword for your business. He already took care of this, but all of the pages contained the same page title. Like using: “iNove Media, Nigerian Digital Marketing Agency” for all the pages on this website which is ridiculous. And also because he didn’t do keyword research there was no way he could use it here.
When you do a proper keyword research in the first stage, you come up with pretty interesting phrases and keywords that are getting moderate searches for your particular business. These are some of the keywords you sprinkle on your page titles. Every page title must be unique, no repetition here.
4. Meta Description Tags
I also mentioned meta description tags, which he already took care of, but didn’t know he needed to at least add a keyword to it. Though this is no longer a major ranking factor, but still works. I’ve had pages rank just by having my target keyword in the description meta tag. Besides a meta description tag helps the users figure out what your content is all about when shown in the search engine result pages. Do not put much effort into this though. Do not keyword stuff (spam), or you might just run the risk of being penalized.
5. Internal Linking
I told him about internal linking, and that he needed to make sure his pages were properly linked to each other with good descriptive anchor tag that he would like to rank for. Basically just ensuring his most important pages were properly linked to from other pages on the website.
6. Website Technical Issues
I told him if Google and other top search engines are unable to properly crawl his pages, then nothing else he does matters as they wouldn’t be able to read or properly access his website to give him the ranking he deserved. The easiest way to handle website technical issues is to sign up for Google Webmaster Tool which is free. This will inform you about crawl-ability errors, if your site has been infected, if your robots.txt file was missing, and also enables you to submit a sitemap that tells Google where to find all of your pages quickly and effortlessly. That’s just the basics by the way.
Vote of Authority by Other Websites – Links
I talked about links from external sites linking to various pages on his website. Getting other quality sites to link to yours tells the search engines that your website is of value, and this forces them to do nothing but promote your site/pages on their search results.
There are various ways to get links, which includes writing and submitting articles to top websites that accept it, guest blogging, video submissions, press releases, social media sites, social bookmarking, do-follow blog commenting, directory submissions, link exchange from your wife and kids, etc.
Tracking Your Results
I told him he needed a way to know if all of his efforts were actually working and what he could do to improve or adjust on them. Then I mentioned Google Analytics which is free. You get a small code which you put on your pages for tracking results/conversions.
This tells you how many visitors your site had, where they came from, what pages they visited, how long they stayed, what they bought on your site, what frustrates them, and basically how often they come back.
This came last because I didn’t bother telling him about market research or business intelligence. This is a brick and mortar business trying to go online. The business has already been established, and nothing I say about this will make any difference. We just have to work hard to get him customers by all means.
When next you have a meeting with your web development team, mention some of these things to them, and if they have in-house SEO capability, have them do it for you. Of course they’d have to charge a separate fee for it.