Doing SEO Right –
A Breakdown Of Methods That Actually Get You
Start Your SEO Campaign
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a practice which is now over twenty years old.
In that time, search engine algorithms have become much smarter. But SEO techniques haven’t changed dramatically at all.
As a matter of fact, SEO techniques have actually become more condensed. Where old school SEO was a mixed bag of different techniques, modern SEO has defined itself by closely focusing on a few proven methods.
This is partly due to the increasing efficacy of search engines themselves. As algorithms improve, they have become better and better at identifying quality web content. For us in the SEO industry, this means that there is only one logical way to rank in search results: making quality content.
In this article, we’ll explore the techniques that actually get real traffic to websites and talk a little bit about why they work — and why they are likely to continue working for a long time.
What An Optimized Website Looks Like
These days, there are three fundamental goals of any SEO campaign:
- On-site optimization which makes the web page easy to read and process by web crawlers
- Creating quality keyword rich content to be found by search engine users
- Securing high quality backlinks from relevant websites with strong authority and good standing
While a SEO strategy might involve some other tactics, these three ideas are the real meat and potatoes of any SEO campaign. Without these three concepts, your SEO plan is going to fall flat on its face.
The real core of this strategy is step two. Steps one and three — while essential — exist largely to support the content you create in step two.
To actually appear in the search results, you need to have something for users to find. This is your content. To compete with all of the other content spread across the web, this content needs to be high quality.
Gone are the days when you can simply throw together a poorly crafted page stuffed with a few of the right keywords and watch the traffic flood in.
Search engines have become far more sophisticated. They can do an exceptional job of determining what quality content looks like. More than that, they are constantly testing your page against dozens or even hundreds of potential competitors, looking at a huge array of metrics to determine which content is most worthy of all that lucrative traffic.
SEO used to be about appealing to robots. It was about inputting the right keywords in the right format so that dumb web crawlers would consider it relevant.
Now, SEO is largely about appealing to users. Intelligent consumers who are looking for answers to questions, informative content, engaging articles, and exceptional resources.
Keywords and formatting are still important. Without the right keywords and a machine readable page, your site won’t be considered relevant enough to appear in search. But this is an easy enough barrier to break through. The real challenge is in making something that will appeal to real people.
Performing On-Site Optimization: Meta Information and Formatting
Before you can really focus on creating quality content, you need to make sure that your content can be easily digested by the automated systems which search engines user to find and rank new content. These web crawlers, like Googlebot, see the internet in a dramatically different way than a human user.
Although these systems are becoming more intricate and capable everyday, they still interpret things quite differently from human users. Therefore, they need a little help from web developers to make things easy for them to process.
On-site optimization is the most technical part of your SEO strategy. It’s a step best reserved for your web developer or website administrator.
We won’t get too deep into the technicalities of performing on-site optimization in this article, but here is a quick rundown of what is involved with on-site optimization and what it does:
- Title Tags: One of the most important pieces of information on a webpage is its Title. This is the title which appears in the top of your web browser when you visit a page. It’s also the title displayed in search results and what the user typically looks at first when browsing web results. It should include your most relevant keywords and offer a brief summary of what the user will find on the page.
- Meta Description: The meta description tells the search engine a little bit about what can be found on your page. If it meets the criteria of the search engine, this description will be shown beneath the title on search results. It should include keywords and succinctly describe what can be found on the page.
- Other Metadata: You can also include other metadata such as keywords, author, and viewport information to help search engines know a little more about your page.
- Header tags: Using different headers, you can help direct the search engine’s attention to the important parts of your page and make important keywords stand out. This also helps to organize the page for the viewer.
Schema Tags: Schema is a markup system which allows you to add microdata specifically for search engines to help them classify and better understand your pages.
- URL Structure: Your site should use a clean and consistent URL structure which allows you to include things such as categories and keywords within the URL itself. This is also part of Site Architecture — laying out your site in a logical architecture helps search engines to more effectively crawl and understand your site.
- Image names and alt tags: Web crawlers can’t view and contextualize images. But they can take a look at the filename and the “alt” tag on each image to get some idea of what is being shown on the image. Use descriptive and keyword rich filenames and alt tags to allow search engines to understand what you’re displaying on your image content.
Content Marketing – The Core of Modern SEO
Keywords have always been the focal point of any SEO campaign.
In order to have your site appear in the search results, it needs to include certain keywords which users are actually searching for.
However, these keywords can’t be simply jammed into a page. They need to be naturally included within the content of the page — content which should be relevant and useful to the users who may land on your website.
The key to creating such content is making a content marketing strategy. Your content can do several things, including:
- Informing your visitors about your products and services
- Answering relevant questions
- Showcasing different uses for your products and services
- Entertaining and informing visitors
Simultaneously, this content is infused with keywords which are actually being searched for.
To find these keywords, you need to perform keyword research.
Using these tools, you can get detailed breakdowns of information on different keywords, including invaluable information like the average search volume for a given keyword, how difficult it is to rank for that keyword, and other important details.
These tools can also give you suggestions for new keywords to pursue based on your existing content or other keywords you’ve input.
Once you’ve identified a set of keywords worth targeting, you can begin creating content focused around these keywords.
The most common way to do this is to start up a blog. A blog allows you to create long form content which can naturally include various keywords, including potentially lucrative long-tail keywords.
Not only will this content provide something to attract organic search engine traffic, it also lets you build up a useful knowledge base for your customers and clients.
It provides a means of showcasing your business’s expertise in your field, addressing consumer questions or concerns, offering updates on the latest developments in your products, news about your industry, and potentially highlighting dozens of other intriguing topics.
What’s more, since this content is written to be engaging and useful to users, it has the potential to attract more than just organic search traffic. It can be shared across social media, spread by word of mouth, and even help bolster the third part of your SEO strategy…
Backlinks: The Most Valuable Signal Boost
Since the infancy of SEO, getting links to your website has been recognized as one of the most potent methods of climbing up the search rankings.
When one website links to another, search engines view this link as a sort of “vote” for the quality of your page. After all, if someone took the time to link to it from their own website, it must have some value.
However, not all backlinks are created equally. Search engine’s heavily weight different backlinks based on the quality of the site doing the linking.
This weighting is based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to:
- The “authority” and trustworthiness of the linking website
- How often the site links to other websites
- How relevant the linker’s site is to the linkee’s
If the site linking to your scores highly in these criteria, the search engine will consider the link to be a positive vote for the quality of your website.
However, if the link comes from a spammy or low quality website, having it link to your page could actually be something of a detriment.
Backlinks are one of the most potent ways of raising your search ranking. Everytime you attract a high quality backlink, it has the potential to get you a leg up in the search rankings, while also potentially garnering you traffic from any users who click the link itself.
To secure backlinks, SEO experts employ a variety of different strategies, using outreach, partnerships, and other methods to contact sites which may be willing to provide these valuable backlinks.
At My SEO Sucks, we’ve worked tirelessly to assemble one of the largest databases on the internet of potential link-building candidates. By performing extensive outreach and leveraging our relationships with hundreds of blogs, online media publications, niche websites, and high authority sites, we work to get our client’s websites featured on highly trusted and reputable websites, boosting their search engine ranking and providing lucrative traffic.
The Whole Picture
A proper SEO strategy is an ongoing one. Consistently performing on-site optimization to keep up with the latest search engine standards, performing keyword research to find new targets, creating new content based on these keywords, and networking with other websites and publications to secure backlinks.
While the internet is a fast moving and constantly evolving space, this fundamental strategy is likely to be with us for some time to come. After all, these fundamentals have already been around for over twenty years.
Managing your SEO strategy can be quite a task. The sheer effort required for consistent content creation can be a full time job in itself.
If you want to see just how lucrative a properly deployed SEO strategy can be, the best route is to enlist the help of experts.
At My SEO Sucks, we put our vast SEO resources at the disposal of every client.
We work diligently to ensure your page is up to date with the latest search engine standards for on-site optimization. We employ teams of experts to perform keyword research and evaluate the best targets keywords for your unique business. We work closely with hundreds of content creators to write intriguing and engaging content to furnish your content strategy with the kind of content your users will love to engage with.
Taking a results oriented approach to our SEO efforts, we are confident that every dollar invested in your SEO strategy will find its way back home in the company of some new friends.
Why wait? Get in touch with us today for a consultation and we can begin working together to rocket your website up to the top of the search results.