Monday, January 13, 2014

DIY Search Engine Optimisation

Many new business owners choose to take the DIY approach to search engine optimisation. Although I would recommend hiring a professional this is understandable as after web development costs SEO is often an afterthought. If you are taking the DIY approach here are the main things you’ll need to look at.

  1. Keyword Research
  2. Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
  3. Link Building

Keyword Research

This is the starting point of any SEO campaign. You’ll need to research your keywords based on the content of each of your pages. Here is a way to go about it.
  • Make a shortlist of  about 5-6 keyword phrases for each page
  • Target 2-3 word phrases not single words
  • Target more specific phrases whenever possible. For instance ‘SEO Dublin’ instead of ‘SEO’
  • Use Google search engine to see how many results are returned for each phrase to get and idea of competition
  • Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to suggest more phrases
  • Select potential keyword phrases based on relevance, search volume and competition
  • Ideally you should choose phrases with high relevance and search volume, and low competition
  • Export your selected phrases into a spreadsheet
  • Reduce your list to one primary keyword phrase and 2 secondary phrases per page

Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Page Titles are the most important page element for search engines. The Page Title is the text that appears in the top left of your browser window is often the title that is used in search results.
Meta Descriptions are not as important although they are still relevant. Meta Descriptions are often what is used in  search engine result descriptions and so should be optimised to attract as many visitors as possible to your site.
If you use a CMS you may be able to add and edit both of the above yourself. Otherwise you’ll have to ask your web developer to take a look. Either way what you can do is create a list containing both Page Titles and Meta Descriptions for every page on your site.
Here are some things to keep in mind for each:

Page Titles

  • Use a unique Page Title for every page
  • Keep them 60 characters or less (including spaces)
  • Construct them based on your keyword research for each page
  • Include your primary keyword phrase at the beginning, followed by your secondary phrases if possible
  • Use a comma to seperate your keyword phrases
  • Try not to repeat words
  • Avoid using ‘the’ or other generic words
  • Use Capitals for the first letter of each word

Meta Descriptions

  • Keep them 160 characters or less (including spaces)
  • Include your primary keyword phrase
  • Make sure they read well and make sense ie. do not just list all your keyword phrases
  • Include your name or your business name
  • Include a contact number as an extra call to action

Link Building

If you’ve read any SEO Blog you’ll know that link building is the most important overall element when it comes to SEO. But how do you go about it? Here are some ways of building up links to your site:
Directory Submissions: There are low value links but are still worthwhile as they are easy to obtain. Local directories and niche directories provide the best value.
Article Submissions: By using a service such as Textbroker it is possible to obtain articles for relatively cheap. Once you have a number of articles ready you can include a link back to your site and submit them to sites such as eZIne Articles. This allows you to control the anchor text, placement and destination of your links.
Online Press Releases: By submitting Press Releases to Press Release Distribution Sites and relevant industry bloggers, it is possible to build up links to your site. It’s important to put some effort into the Press Release however making sure that it is well written and your idea is newsworthy.
Guest Blogging: Write a blogpost for a related website and include a link back to your site. Services such as My Blog Guest can help you to find potential partners.
Reciprocal Linking: Can still be an effective strategy if used in moderation. Again it results in lower value links that are easy to obtain. Approach people with the goal of building a business partnership and not only a link exchange. Try to get contextual links from with a paragraph of text as opposed to a  link on a list.

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