via Think Vitamin by Blake Acheson on 11/30/10
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I am the founder of the popular service My SEO Tool. I’ve been involved with SEO, application development and web design in some way, shape or form for about 15 years now. SEO is probably the most obfuscated topic related to website development and marketing. Through this article, I hope to help fellow developers and designers obtain a solid understanding of the core SEO principles.
It seems like everyday, you read a headline announcing some new algorithm change or search result enhancement. It is very easy to get lost when you are bombarded with so much information. SEO takes the shape of a mythical beast sporting a jet-black beard and an appetite for time wasted.
Sometimes you need to step back and just focus on the basics. Keeping tabs on all these abstract, “flavor of the week” techniques will drive you crazy. The basics worked in ’98 and still work today.
Identify Your Target Market
The first step is to identify your target customer. This is the most important step. If you fail at this, you are in for a world of hurt. Here are some quick questions you should ask yourself:
What problem does this page solve/explain?
Who has this problem (age, income, occupation, location etc)?
What are all the possible phrases they are typing into Google to find a solution to this problem?
Now that you have a list of all the possible phrases it’s time to pick out the ones that people are actively searching. A ranking means nothing if no one is consistently searching for that phrase.
How many people actually search for this keyword?
There are 2 main ways you can determine how many people are searching for a particular phrase. You can use the Google Adwords keyword tool to get a rough estimate or you can go one step further and create an adwords campaign for the sole purpose of measuring impressions. I prefer to use the adwords campaign method as it’s much more accurate.
How hard will it be to Rank for this keyword?
There is a very simple way to determine how competitive your keyword is. Simply Google intitle:”your keyword” AND inanchor:”your keyword”. This returns the pages you will be competing against. Obviously, the more pages you are competing with, the harder you will need to work.
Pick your Battles Wisely
The more competitive the phrase, the longer this process will take. It’s better to focus on keywords that have the highest search volume with the lowest competition levels. That being said, you also need to make sure these keyword clicks will translate into sales. Don’t optimize for “red shoes” if you only sell luxury shoe laces.
How to Show Relevancy within a Block of Text
There are 4 main things you can do to show keyword relevancy.
Use your exact keyword (“my keyword phrase”)
Use variations of your keyword (“this is my keyword containing multiple phrases”)
Use topically related words (“He-man” -> “Skeletor”, “She-Ra”, “masters of the universe”)
Bold or underline key occurrences of these relevancy indicators
Use 1-2 relevancy indicators
Keep it under 70 characters in length
Accurately & adequately describe the page
Ask yourself “Does this motivate someone to click on it”
Scatter relevancy indicators inside H1,H2,H3 etc. tags
Scatter relevancy indicators inside paragraph text
Do not overdo it or you will be penalized
Link to other pages using a relevancy indicator for that particular page
Use alt tags if the link is an image
Do not overdo it or you will be penalized
The number of backlinks you will need is completely dependent on how competitive your keyword is. If you have a lot of competition, you need a lot of links and vice versa.
It is important you obtain links from reputable websites. 100,000 links from junk websites is not as valuable as a single link from apple.com.
Make sure you use relevancy indicators described above (within anchor text/alt text) when using these methods:
Submit your website to industry related directories
Hit up your business contacts for links (those that have related websites)
Share your page on various social networks to attract links
Look at who links to your competitors etc.
Most importantly, create great content that people want to read!
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