There are endless details and nuances to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but here is a basic plan that is easy to follow and WILL produce good results. With SEO, no single trick will guarantee results over time because the landscape is always changing – more pages are constantly being added to Google’s index and Google is regularly tweaking the algorithm they use to rank those pages. Therefore if someone guarantees to get you to #1 in Google, you should be very suspicious. Instead, you should think of SEO like any marketing effort – the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it and you need to do it consistently and over time, not just once. Here’s the outline of the plan…
- Research the keywords you are targeting
- Build a specially formatted landing page for each keyword
- Create inbound links to these landing pages
- Make sure each page on your site has good keyword and description metatags along with a good page title
- Track your ranking in Google for each keyword phrase
- Track the traffic to your site
Step 1: Research the keywords you are targeting. You probably have an idea of the keywords that people would search on to find your business. However these are not alway the actual keywords that people use to search within your industry. For example, you might think that “ventura real estate” would be a popular term for people looking to buy a home in Ventura. While this is a likely search term, it may turn out that in reality many more people perform the search “ventura homes for sale” when looking to buy a home in that area. Rather than guessing which terms are most often used, you can use the Google Keyword Tool to find out for sure which phrase has the most traffic and also what other related phrases may get a lot of traffic. In addition to helping you target which keywords have the most traffic, the keyword tool will also help you figure out which keywords are the most competitive. If a keyword is highly competitive, it means that a lot of sites are targeting that keyword and that it may be very difficult to get good SEO results by targeting that keyword. It doesn’t mean you CAN’T get good placement for that keyword, it just means it will be a lot harder than for other keywords which have less competition. As a result, you should target keywords which have a lot of traffic but are less competitive. Going after these keywords will give you the most bang for your SEO buck. There is no standard threshold that you should look for in terms of the ratio between traffic and competitiveness. That ratio will be different for different industries and over time. Therefore, you will need to do a little analysis for each keyword you are targeting. The Google Keyword tool let’s you sort keywords by amount of traffic and then you can look down that list for keywords that have a lot of traffic but have a lower competitiveness index than other terms that have similar amounts of traffic. I recommend that you come up with 6-10 keywords to begin with that you will use in the next steps in the Basic SEO Plan. In the next article, I will cover how to build specially formatted landing pages for each keyword.