SEO is a huge subject and only a part of the overall Internet marketing jigsaw, if done correctly it can be one of the most cost effective and successful ways of generating huge volumes of traffic to your (or your clients) websites. Below are 10 Awesome SEO tips.
1) Get reading.
There are literally 100’s of SEO agencies and Freelancers in the UK alone, each will have their own individual experiences with SEO. Most of them will also have a blog. One of the best ways to begin understanding SEO is to start by reading these blogs and articles. SEOMoz (one of the larger agencies) have put together a fantastic beginners guide to search engine optimisation, I would highly recommend that you give this a read.
2) Learn to code.
It surprises me how many people in the SEO industry are poor “coders”. I have worked with (and managed) some SEO’s Who simply have no XHTML/CSS skills at all and would rely on a web designer to do the physical changes to websites required with SEO.
The internet and the search engines for that matter are driven by website coding, in my opinion in order to become a good search marketer you need to be able to write XHTML/CSS. This will give you a far greater understanding of what is required and make your job a lot easier.
3) Practice & Monitor Results
You won’t become a guru over night, all SEO activity must be practiced, you can gain a great understanding by reading, but to truly understand the industry you need to put in hours of practice. When I first started learning I would buy a few “test domains” on which I would create a simple website and practice different techniques.
Practicing is fine but you need to be able to learn from what you have done, monitoring results is essential in the learning process. I would strongly advise the use of Google Analytics and a rankings tool such as CuteRank, monitoring site traffic and rankings changes will give you a good indication of what you are doing either in a positive or negative manner.
4) Test Test Test.
Following on from practicing, a good SEO will continually test new methods and techniques. Testing over and over again will help broaden your skill set and experiences, try out the techniques other people have told you about or you have read on the Internet.
The key to learning is testing and experimenting, SEO is a fast paced industry there are always new techniques and theories being spoken about. Test these out for yourself and drawn your own conclusions.
5) Don’t believe all you read.
As I said before, there are literally 100’s of SEO’s. If you believed everything you read you will quickly find that there is a lot of contradictory advice.
Some of the articles you read may be out of date so pay attention to the publishing date. As a rule I would suggest reading articles which are no more than 6 months old, as I have previously stated search engine optimisation is a fast paced world.
Find the big players in the industry and pay attention to what they say, but ultimately test their theories don’t just take their word for it!
6) Not all SEO projects are the same.
Remember the not all projects are the same, some of the bigger agencies are dealing with large clients who have huge marketing budgets. This will allow for a wider scope of search marketing activity. Some of the advice given by the larger agencies is not sustainable for smaller marketing budgets and smaller clients.
The majority of “real world SEO clients” are smaller companies with a limited budget, you may be reading about some high end marketing techniques that are simply not right for your client. Be careful how you spend your time, look for techniques which will be the most rewarding. Be careful not to over step the mark and do things which Google and the other search engines will not like.
This point is a difficult one to get right, if you don’t see results for your client quickly using their smaller budget you may well lose them as a client. Yet if you use techniques which are on the more shady side you may damage and even destroy their websites chances of ranking, ultimately losing them as a client and even ending up with legal action.
7) Join a community.
Joining a community where you can bounce ideas and share knowledge is a great way to become a good SEO. You might be able to find local networking groups of Internet professionals who meet regularly (usually over a cold beer or two). These have proven useful to me for gaining knowledge and building a network of professionals I can call upon for help with projects.
There are also plenty of groups on social media sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn, these two in particular have some great communities you can get involved with.
A word of warning however, there are some groups which will not tolerate “newbies” and in my early experiences these groups can be counter productive. Certain people online are highly opinionated claiming that they know everything about SEO, They simply do not!
Choose your online community carefully, you want to be seen to have a voice and also be surrounded by helpful people willing to help develop your skills.
8) Learn to write.
Writing and content production are possibly two of the most important aspects of becoming a good SEO consultant. Being able to write good engaging content for use both on-site (within your websites) or for article marketing and guest blogging is essential for modern SEO.
There are certain techniques you can use when producing content, each of them will involve a level of research or experience. If you are writing about a subject you know well then the process of creating content should be fairly easy. It is more difficult to produce engaging content about a subject you know very little about.
Planning is the key to producing great content, and the old saying “content is king” still applies. You will hear this saying over and over again and often it gets over used, but believe me if you pay attention to it you will see the benefits and rewards that great content will bring.
9) Use professional tools.
In order to become a professional builder or electrician you will need certain tools to do the job correctly and efficiently. Our industry is no different, there are many tools available for the professional SEO to choose from, all will essentially do the same job for you but vary in price and quality.
Tools are used to make the following SEO processes easier.
- Keyword analysis and research
- Competitor analysis
- Rankings reports
- Backlink building and outreach
- Traffic reporting and analysis
There are two professional tool sets I have had experience with, the first is SEOMoz pro tools and the second is Raven Tools. Both are fantastic and very similarly priced.
Google Analytics & Webmaster atolls are also essential and free so if you don’t already have an account I would sign up now!
10) SEO isn’t just about rankings.
You can be forgiven for thinking that SEO is all about rankings and getting to the top spot in the search results. To a certain degree this can be true however the more advanced SEO consultants know there is more to it that purely rankings.
It is about traffic!
Ranking highly for certain terms is one way to produce this traffic, referral traffic is another important factor. Part of our job is to build this referral traffic (traffic from other websites not just search engines), monitoring referrals in GA and continually working on building this is a great method many SEO’s overlook.
There is another great technique called “Targetting the Longtail” another term you will hear over and over again. Longtail traffic in its simplest form is website traffic coming via niche keywords (usually 3 word phrases or more).
For example if you have a eCommerce website selling shoes your primary keywords would be “shoes” ” online shoe store” etc… Longtail variants of these could be “red stiletto shoes” or “brown furry shoes” or “online shoe store based in the UK”.
Finding these longtail search terms is easy! Simply analyse your traffic reports in Google Analytics and look at your “search queries” report in webmaster tools. These two reports show you what your site visitors are typing into the search engines in order to find your site.
If your site is new and there is very little data to analyse you can also find Longtail terms by looking through the suggested keywords in tools like Google Keywords Tool or WordTracker. The SEO pro tools (SEOMoz & Raven) will also help you discover these longtail keywords.