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The Three R's of SEO Strategy
Sunday, March 16, 2008
SEO strategy is something that has been difficult to define as the search landscape tends to change quite frequently with new innovations and technologies popping up all over the place. While many have tried to outline the definitive SEO strategy, the fact is that a sound SEO strategy may be different for each and every business or web property. An effective search engine optimization strategy does not mean simply getting a webpage to number one in Google, Yahoo or ASK. A successful SEO strategy should focus on three areas:
  1. Getting Traffic to Your Web Properties via Carefully Selected Keywords
  2. Having Compelling and Useful Content on your Web Properties
  3. Establishing Authority via Link Development

Let’s look at each of these in a little more detail.

SEO Strategy Component #1: Keyword Selection

This is really the lifeblood of your SEO campaign. C’mon who are we kidding, without proper keyword selection, you run the risk of blending into search results oblivion. A strong SEO strategy begins and ends with keyword selection. In fact it never ends. Keyword research should be ongoing. If your business and website is to remain competitive you will need to develop creative ways to reinvent your messaging and content. Business is a dynamic process, markets change, competition change, supply and demand change and your business (in order to grow and prosper) should change as well.

Keyword selection is a critical aspect of any SEO strategy. Keyword selection depends on a wide variety of factors such as:

  • Type of Industry you’re in
  • Popularity of your brand
  • Competitiveness of keywords
  • Semantic mapping of the user
  • Stage of Awareness
  • Head vs. Torso vs. Long-Tail
  • Time of Season
  • Corporate jargon vs. industry terms vs. lingo of your consumer

The list could go on and on. The fact is that keyword selection is not a one-time thing. You really need to make an effort to understand what terms searchers will be using when looking for your service or product offering. If you cannot successfully identify relevant keywords to your business and website, you’re going to be in trouble. Just when you think tha you have compiled an accurate keyword basket or list, you need to re-evaluate it to ensure that you incporate phrases that will ideally drive qualified traffic.

SEO Strategy Component #2: Content… Content and More Content

Think about this. Let’s say that you have a 20 page website yet you have a keyword basket of 100 keywords. Do you actually think that your site is going to rank well for all of these phrase? Highly unlikely. How can your site possibly be an authority on all 100 key phrases when you do not even have a single page for each phrase. Why would the search engined rank your site higher than a site that his some history and consists of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of page? The fact is that they won’t. You need supporting content. The greatest SEO strategy that you can incorporate is content development. Not to mention from a user point of view, content development can be used to improve site stickiness and time spent on your site. You need to provide your audience with the content on your site that they are looking for. If that means product comparisons, you had better provide product comparisons. If that means pricing than provide some indication of pricing. If it means news articles then you guessed it, your site better feature relevant news articles.

Even in 2008, the search engines still like good old fashioned HTML text copy the best. Not content buried in Flash or images, good old copy. However if you need a little content "pizzazz" try incorporating videos with transcripts, blog posts, news articles or the like. If keywords are your lifeblood of your SEO strategy, them content is the rest of your "physical" makeup. Search engines need content to crawl and index and of course rank. To increase your visibility in the organic space of the search engines (ie the natural search results) you need to have a content rich site. Do not expect to rank if you do not have any content on your site. Writing content for the Web is a key factor of any SEO strategy. Yet why is it overlooked by so many? Every SEO strategy needs to focus on content development. You are defeating the purpose if you are not pumping out new content on your site on a regular basis. You want to be an authority on "car insurance" you better have content about "car insurance". You want to rank well for "cosmetic dentistry" you might want to create some additional content for your site. Content development is critical for a successful SEO strategy.

SEO Strategy Component #3: Building Your External Link Inventory

A strong SEO strategy needs to have this component for without relevant links to your site, you simply will not rank. The sites that are the true authorities are the ones with quality links from other sites and web properties. It’s not always about quantity, but more often than not it is about quality. If you want to rank well in the search engines, you need to build up your external link inventory. Many argue that the best way to do this is to buy links. I strongly disagree. Buying links artificially builds your link inventory. It improves quantity but does not necessarily improve your link quality. For my money, the best way to build your external link inventory is to do it by providing interesting and useful content. Some call this link bait, I call it smart online marketing. If you provide content that is somewhat unique, extremely useful and informative, chances are others are simply going to link to your content. Furthermore you can bet that the links will be of higher quality and more relevant.

Do you think that a site without a strong external link inventory can rank well? Well it does happen, but the "staying power" of these sites to remain in the top organic result is week. A site with a strong external link inventory will almost always outrank a site that lacks quality links. It’s built into the search engine algorithms, linking is still a fundamental factor as to how sites are ranked in the search engine results pages.

A successful SEO strategy must consist of three items (and one common denominator relevancy). The Three R's of SEO strategy:

  • Relevant Key Phrases
  • Relevant Content
  • Relevant Links

If you can address these three issues with your SEO strategy you will do well. Fact of the matter is that I have incorporated these items with my clients and the results have been amazing. I’ve seen client’s sites increase traffic to their sites by 2000% in a little over a year by incorporating these items into their SEO strategy (and this was for very well known brand… which unfortunately must remain nameless). Other client’s have seen similar increases and top rankings for a number of years for highly relevant, high traffic phrases. Before incorporating the latest Web 2.0 strategy, you might want to take a look at strategies involving keyword selection, content development and building of your external link inventory.

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posted by PlanetNim Caretaker @ Sunday, March 16, 2008  
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