Location, Location, Location!
I came across some compelling content courtesy of the excellent seomoz which highlights the power of search- in particular, ranking. Of particular interest was from a study on data leaked from AOL’s search query logs which revealed the following:
- The first ranking position in the search results receives 42.25% of all click-through traffic
- The second position receives 11.94%, the third 8.47%, the fourth 6.05%, and all others are under 5%
- The first ten results received 89.71% of all click-through traffic, the next 10 results (normally listed on the second page of results) received 4.37%, the third page – 2.42%, and the fifth – 1.07%. All other pages of results received less than 1% of total search traffic clicks.
This underscores the importance of ranking high in Google; but where do you start?
There are at least five SEO fundamentals that can be controlled which are discussed briefly below:
I have written about the importance of keywords in an earlier post and have no hesitation in referring to it again – keywords are the foundation of any search engine marketing strategy. Keywords are the bait that brings people to your site through links pointing to your pages. If you pick the wrong keywords you will invariably get the wrong people. If your keywords are very competitive; (which you can check using the free Google keyword search tool and also by Googling your keyword and looking at the number of PPC ads running) look for keywords that are not so sought after.
Simple strategy: use highly targeted keyword phrases and the search tail.
- Use local keywords - A good strategy is to focus on local keywords. For example if you are a homeopath, do not go for ‘homeopath’ as your keyword. A better bet is Maida Vale homeopath etc
- Focus on sub niches- You may target your traffic on keywords related to babies for example
- Using the search tail - A good way to illustrate this is through the use of a paid search tool called Word tracker. The basic concept to grasp hold of is that whilst the first few keywords might receive significantly more searches than any others in the list that you are shown, the top terms will only account for a small percentage of all the searches. As you go further down the list of searches you will see the long tail- the remaining searches that still account for thousands of other related phrases, rendering the primary term less important than you might have first thought.
Search engines mostly index text; in other words content. They need to base their judgements on the relevance of a site to searchers through something, and content or text is what they use. When you type a term into a search engine, it looks for the words you provided. This is not the only means by which they judge a site of course, but it is a phenomenally important factor.
On Page Optimisation
Create pages that the search engine bots can peruse easily. Put your keywords into the right places in the right format on your pages. The more key worded pages the better- but do not ‘stuff’ your pages full with keywords.
There is an ongoing debate as to how important submissions are for SEO. Most SEO professionals believe that directory submissions are not as important as many people believe them to be.
What appears to be worth doing is to generate a sitemap for your site. Google’s XML sitemap can be placed into your Website’s root directory containing a list of links to your pages so that the search engines can more easily located them. Provide Google and MSN/Bing with the SML sitemap as a minimum. In addition you can add a line to your robots.txt file so that search engines such as Ask.com can find the sitemap even though you have not submitted it to them.
If your business sells locally as opposed to globally, it is important to get your site to rank when people are searching locally. It is also worth registering at specialised sites that are important for your specific business. Furthermore, if you are selling a product I suggest registering with the product indexes as most product searches are not carried out through the general search engines.
If you have great content but no-one knows about it then you are unlikely to be as successful as you should be. Links that point to your site or blog are terrifically important in the competitive world of keywords. This is particularly true if you have moderate to high competition for your keywords.
A page can rank in the first position in any of the search engines even if it has not optimised its pages with the keywords that have been searched for- if there are links pointing to it that do have the keywords!
An easy way to get links back to your site is through guest blogging. Alternatively sign up at forums such as fuelmyblog.com and get your site reviewed (sponsored reviews is a paid way of getting your site reviewed and allows you to select your anchor text). Other ideas include commenting on relevant blogs with a link back to your site.
Social Media and Search have a symbiotic relationship and should therefore be included in any SEO strategy.
Image Credit Kellyseo
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