I’ve been doing search engine optimization for a little over a year now and have quickly learned some of the main keys to running a successful campaign. The first and most important is understanding what king of keyword you’re targeting.
Understanding Keyword Types
In order to rank in Google for any keyword, you have to know what Google ideally wants people to find when they search for that keyword. Luckily, this isn’t some big mystery on what Google wants it’s entirely based on common sense and logic. If someone searches for “Toronto Maple Leafs” they could be looking for the official website, or they could be looking for the schedule, or they could be looking for the history of the team, the roster etc. Google will therefore go with the safest bets, including the official website, the Wikipedia page etc. They’re not going to put your blog about why you love the Leafs and how Dougie Gilmore is the best ever as the number one result. Now on the other hand, if you put in “toronto maple leafs blog” then you’re being more specific, you’re not looking for tickets or for the schedule or the official website, you’re specifically looking for a blog. Now if you were trying to start a blog on the Maple Leafs this would be a good keyword to target, as opposed to just Maple Leafs.
The same thing goes for other types of venture, like for example if you were going to do a campaign targeting a local Toronto SEO keyword like “Toronto Chiropractor” it would be a lot different than someone trying to target a national keyword, like “buy shoes online canada”. The more broad the keyword you’re trying to rank for, the more difficult it is. I always recommend when people are starting out with SEO that they should start with the simplest keywords first and focus on getting results where you can build up your confidence first rather than trying to take on something very difficult only to get discouraged down the line. Make sure you do a lot of keyword research and really understand the user intent before you even make your website, because whatever the user intent is for the keywords you’re going after, you want to make sure your website fills it.
Link Building: The Right Way.
You can buy a lot of links, like literally thousands for pocket change but more is not always better when it comes to building links. The way I like to look at it is by considering that the links coming in to your website are like the neighbourhood you live in. Do you want to be surrounded by questionable or down right shady links or do you want your links to come from reputable sources? If you guessed the latter, you’re absolutely right.
The problem then becomes trying to figure out how to get a bunch of reputable links because they’re not easy to come by and the simple answer to that is quality over quantity, you’re not going to be able to get a ton of links over night from highly reputable sources so it’s best to focus on building a quality website that other quality websites will want to link to. Make sure you’re offering a fresh perspective on things as if the content on your website can easily be found elsewhere pound for pound, then chances are people won’t want to link to it.
Staying in the SEO Loop
Spammers are always going to improve their techniques and perhaps more importantly users are always going to raise their expectations. If you used the Google of 2010 or even worse 2005 you would probably be disgusted with how poorly it worked. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm to make the search results better for the end users and that’s a good thing but at the end of the day you, as a professional SEO, need to stay on top of things and know not only what works today, but what direction search is heading in tomorrow to stay ahead of the curve.
The best SEO advice you can get is to make content that people like, want and value and that way Google will always want your site to be at the top. However knowing the intricacies of how Google decides which site should be displayed first can often times give you a competitive advantage over your competitors and who doesn’t want any advantage you can get? So staying in the loop by reading sites like moz.com can help keep you informed and a master of your own craft.
Those are the main keys to a successful SEO campaign. I hope you found this entry both helpful and practical in your future endeavors. If you’d like to chop shop with me, feel free to get in touch using the contact form, I’d love to hear from you!