Many SEO projects are doomed to fail from the very outset. If you don’t deal with the basics correctly, you’ll struggle to make the impact that you desire.
My own focus is always on the fact that search engine optimization should be cost-effective. You need to see an obvious financial return from your efforts. It’s easy to get carried away, believing that improved search engine positioning should be the measure of your success.
In fact, better positioning and more visitors don’t necessarily indicate success. It’s sales that really count. So the aim of your project should be to help your business to become more profitable.
Any SEO project simply must start with keyword research. This is a phase of the project that receives surprisingly little attention, given its undoubted importance. Put simply, if you fail to target the right keywords, then you won’t be able to have a successful project. It’s that critical.
When you’re carrying out keyword research, you need to think about a range of issues. Don’t get drawn in to identifying phrases that generate lots of searches each month. That doesn’t mean that such figures aren’t important.
But it does mean that you need to be thinking a bit more deeply. Is a particular phrase likely to result in more leads or sales for your business? Try to identify whether a searcher will be close to making a buying decision. Are they still at the research phase? You’ll want to target searchers who are likely to buy.
Also think about the competition. Depending upon your industry and market, you may find that rivals have been spending a lot of money on achieving search engine positioning. This doesn’t mean that you can’t compete, but it does mean that you need to be realistic about your budget and likely outcomes.
What’s SEO about these days? It’s easy to become convinced that it’s about link, links and yet more links! The importance of links should certainly not be under-estimated, although there’s still a place for traditional, on-page SEO.
If you’re fortunate enough to be in one of the less competitive markets, you may find that basic on-page optimization can give your site a big boost, even with minimal link-building.
Think about your use of titles and headings. Remember to mention your target keywords within the content too. You shouldn’t be aiming to stuff your content full of keywords though. Write with real human beings in mind.
Try to add content regularly too. Most of the main search engines like to see the addition of regular, fresh, original content. It makes sense to give them what they want!
How about the issue of building links? This is an area that you’ll almost certainly have to tackle to some degree.
The scale of the competition that you face is likely to define the extent of your link-building campaign. There are numerous different ways of building links, but remember that one word really counts: quality.
If you’re intending on using automated software to build thousands of links, then you may wish to think again. Such an approach is not usually associated with quality.
The above fundamentals are vital to your SEO hopes. Get them right and you’ll be set to succeed.
Keith Barrett works at Search South, a leading UK search engine optimisation agency. He provides Hampshire SEO services to a wide range of clients.