Five basic steps to unlocking a good SEO strategy

  • Choose the right keywords and keyword phrases for your target market.
  • Make sure your site content is high quality and written for this market.
  • Build up a network of shared links that will build your reputation.
  • Become a local hero if you can.
  • Make sure your website builder understands SEO.

1. Choose the right keywords.

There is a lot of free keyword selection software out there to help you choose your keywords. However, one confusing feature of the key word selection process is that many of the most popular key words (helpfully selected for you by the software) are sometimes not the best choice for a small business site. This is because the most popular search words may be so heavily dominated by the market leaders, you are better off fighting a keyword sniping war around the edges by selecting less popular, but on target key words and. You should also avoid vague or ambiguous keywords which are actually called ‘negative keywords” because they can flag down the wrong prospects.

2. Have high quality content

Good original content, which has been search engine optimised to ensure that the right keywords and phrases have been written into it, is absolutely vital. That’s because when they do find a site with a high proportion of matching keywords, the search engines will assess the quality of the content being offered.

Does the site offer original content, or is it just cut-and-pasted? Is it the content new or old? Has it been updated recently? Is it on a site that is well presented and easy to navigate? All these assessments are made by search engines via analysis of the coded text on the site, since the search do not assess video, photographs, slide show or animated content, even though these elements may score overall points for adding to the interest and usability of the site).

3. Become a local hero.

To really do well, you don’t need to be the best pizza restaurant in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, but you do need to be the best pizza restaurant in your neighbourhood – and new Google Local Search was designed to help you do just that. A spin off of Google Maps, Local Search literally puts you on the map and should be part of your search strategy if your business depends on local customers and passing trade.

4. Choose a web designer who understands SEO.

Once the text is written and the look of the site is agreed, a website designer has to take the text and other elements such as jpegs, videos, slide shows etc. and fit them into your chosen template or design. This responsibility includes ensuring the navigation or flow of the site is visitor friendly, and that any special applications you need, such as a shopping cart check out, or easily updated online catalogue, are installed, tested and working. The designer also plays a key role in the SEO strategy by coding the meta tags for the titles and headings which make your content easier to find and faster to read by the search bots (these robots read meta tags and code, not English).

5. A linking network that proves your worth.

The more reputable links on the internet that point to your site, the more trustworthy the search engines believe your site to be and the higher the trust factor. Once upon a time you could swap links with anybody or even buy links by the dozen, but this practice is now frowned on by Google, since the links should be appropriated for your business. Collecting links is a fairly slow process – so the sooner you get started, the better.

A few more strategic issues.

In addition to the basic 5 -point strategy process already outlined, there are a few more strategic issues you might think about before briefing the web designer, including these:

  • Are you going to use social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn to market your website and company? This is a good strategy for some kinds of sites where friends and networks can translate into dollars, but it is extra work.
  • FAQs and a site map both score ticks from search engines.(FAQs and answers have to be carefully written to be as simple and helpful as possible while supporting your SEO strategy).