Success with search engine optimization can seem elusive, but success does exist. Working towards that success is more crucial today than when Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search – now known as Bing – were first introduced.
The secret to SEO enhancing your site – and your business – is to schedule regular checks and implementation over time. The most effective improvements usually occur from several changes over time, instead of the one silver bullet. Here are a few tips to strengthen the effectiveness of an optimization program.
Use analytics to determine the website sections that are attracting traffic
I wrote a great way to start developing a keyword list in How to Optimize Search Engine Traffic on a Time Budget. A web analytics solution can take that list further through reporting which website pages are receiving organic search traffic. Use tools that allow you to click on landing page to view a page alongside the data. Also, some search patterns take a long timeframe to develop. So review data over different time periods (30 days, 60 days, 90 days, etc.) to determine hard to spot trends and patterns.
Review mobile traffic
You can use analytics tools to review mobile site traffic. Keywords that consistently attract mobile-related traffic can be used for mobile specific marketing such as mobile pages or mobile ads.
Invest in additional keyword tools and combining data with other segments
Keyword details can be a challenge in Google Analytics – Organic traffic is usually reported by keywords, but in 2011 Google encrypted data for users who arrive to a tagged site while logged into a Google account (Gmail, Google Docs). So your reports would display a “not provided” phrase for those visits instead of the keyword used.
To view more keyword details, many businesses investing in online tools that examine search traffic from several search engines, compare page ranks of your page against competitor sites, and to examine backlinks. These tools include CognitiveSEO, SEOMoz Open Site Explorer, and one that I use, Searchmetrics Suite.
Plus you can filter organic traffic in your reports – a few segment ideas are in the post How to Use Web Analytics to Support Your Small Business.
Insert keywords into your site structure
Make sure page names include keywords. The biggest mistake I see in websites is the use of the given page names, instead of inserting a keyword that relates to the product or service. So if www.anysite.com is selling apples and oranges, it’s better to have a structure such as www.anysite.com/apples or www.anysite.com/florida-oranges depending on the general search traffic for the keyword and page content. Review your services against the site structure to determine whether the site needs optimization or new site to best display content.
Review anchor text and backlinks
Anchor text – words that represent a hyperlink – should be related to the associated link. Know which sites are connecting to your site – review links and make sure that they lead to site.
The search tools I mentioned are terrific at maintaining a comparison list of links against each site page – saving you time to locate links in a site. Also consider using Google’s new disavowal tool that tells the search engine to ignore bad links (although removing them outright is the best idea).
Avoid Black Hat Measures
The simplest way to avoid black hat practices – steps to manipulate how a website is viewed by search engines – is to question extreme methods used repeatedly rather than evaluated in context of the site’s purpose. For example, some SEOs insert large numbers of bought links, claiming that search engine rankings will improve. But many times these links connect to unrelated sites and not relevant sites that search engines prefer. So avoid extreme tactics like keyword stuffing and hidden text, and avoid being rendered invisible online because of a search engine ban.
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These tips well help ensure that your site success will lead to your business success.
About the author: Pierre DeBois is the founder of Zimana (www.zimana.com), a consultancy providing strategic analysis to small and midsize businesses that rely on Web analytics data.
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013