05 Jul 2013 SEO Strategy to Avoid Penalties
You need a 2013 SEO Strategy to avoid Google’s penalties. SEO refers to making your website attractive to the major search engines so they give your web pages “Page One” positioning. This process is also referred to as making your website “search engine friendly.” It is important to remember that the search engines do not rank your website as a single entity, but rather your individual web pages are indexed and ranked independently. An SEO campaign can take months to achieve a Page One ranking, however, unlike a PPC campaign, the results can be long term. Incorporating a solid SEO campaign for your business’ website is the core to achieving Niche Dominance®.
There are three components for developing an SEO strategy plan:
• Keyword Research
• “On Page” SEO
• “Off Page” SEO
“On Page” SEO
On Page SEO refers to how you make your web pages conform to search engine guidelines (search engine friendly). The following lists a few of the major components:
- Conduct and select the correct keyword phrases based upon your niche market
- Write original content – at least 800 -1,000+ words per page that include the keyword phrases for each page
- Use quality videos and images page to engage visitors and increase the time spent on your site
- Ensure that your Meta tags and web page content is unique for each page to avoid duplicate content penalties
- Properly interlink the pages using keyword rich anchor text
- Provide outbound links to authority sites, such as Google News and niche specific content sites and forums
- Add the appropriate legal pages
- Include a site map which is a list of pages contained in your web site that helps visitors and search engine bots find your web pages.
SEO Marketing Tips: If you are having a new site developed, make sure your On Page SEO is implemented at the beginning of the development process. This will prevent your site from having to be revamped after the web developer completes the website. This is not only more efficient, but your site will be launched correctly; no one wants to make SEO changes after a website has just been launched. Many web designers offer On Page SEO but, you need to feel confident they understand it. Many will just add some content to the Meta tags, even though this is incorrect. To ensure that they can perform the optimization correctly, ask them to provide a keyword list including exact match traffic amounts per keyword phrase for your approval.
Many of our clients paid a web designer to include On Page SEO, and we discovered that the resource used guesswork and the required SEO was incomplete. This resulted in a major SEO overhaul of the entire website.
The On Page SEO portion of the project is usually a one-time fee unless you are adding content regularly. If you add the ongoing content yourself, ask your digital marketing consultant for an on page SEO checklist so you can ensure to optimize your new web pages or blog posts correctly when you publish them.
“Off Page” SEO
Off Page SEO represents an ongoing program that is designed to help your web pages build authority while ranking in the search engines. This process needs to be implemented slowly over time. If not, your site will probably fail to rank well. The primary Off Page SEO technique is adding one-way back links to your web pages.
These links are from blogs, directories, Web 2.0 properties, posted articles, videos and other sites associated with your niche. Off page SEO is migrating to include “social signals” in addition to the back links. A social signal is a social media action, such as: Facebook Likes, Twitter Retweets, Google +1 or Check In. Social signals are viewed as credibility and helps to improve your website rankings.
Warning: Old SEO back linking techniques are no longer as effective since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. These older techniques can actually trigger a penalty and cause your web pages to dramatically drop in ranking. Posting ongoing quality content that is properly optimized and obtaining quality back links from authority web sites will produce the best results.
Note: It is also advisable to incorporate a comprehensive digital marketing plan that generates targeted traffic for different sources rather that depend solely on a Google page 1 ranking for a few keyword phrases. Also, incorporating the correct keyword portfolio in your content will generate more traffic and produce better ranking results.
A good SEO firm will continuously monitor your site’s progress. With increased online competition, you need to continue the Off Page SEO program even after you achieve a Page One ranking. Rankings are not permanent and can change if your competition is also vying for a Page One ranking.
Your SEO resource will run an initial report to determine where your web pages are ranking for each of the approved keyword phrases. That report will be used as a benchmark to measure progress. Remember, you may make good progress and then suddenly find your rankings falling off, only to regain their position again. It is important to understand that this is natural. It can take four to six months to achieve a Page One ranking for competitive keyword phrases, so it is vital to incorporate a continuous Off Page SEO program to maintain the rankings.
With SEO, no resource can promise you a Page One ranking since Google and the other search engines are responsible for determining page rankings.
Many SEO firms will say they will not charge you until they achieve a Page One ranking for one or more of your web pages. If you find this attractive and wish to test them, be sure that you negotiate an agreement up front. In addition, keep in mind that many firms will rank you for your business name or an obscure keyword phrase because that makes it easy to achieve ranking. This can be more of a marketing gimmick than a productive evaluation of their SEO services.
If you are uncertain, ask them to provide you with a recent keyword list with monthly search volume for your business, e.g. dentist Charleston, dentist in Charleston, Charleston SC dentist, etc. Review the list and select one of the keyword phrases that have good traffic. Make a deal with them that if they can rank your home page for that keyword phrase, then you will work with them. Be sure that the ranking survives beyond the “Google Dance” period, and realize that it can potentially take a few months if you are in a niche that has stiff competition. However, if they agree and deliver, then you know that you have a good SEO resource.
Questions to Ask
If you wish to hire an SEO resource, ask them the following questions:
- How long have you and your company been providing SEO services?
- Does your firm have any marketing experience or are you just a technical company? Please explain.
- May I call your customers or references?
- Have you lost any clients, and if so, why?
- Can you show me any of your clients’ current ranking and traffic generation results?
- Do you provide a competitive analysis of my key competitors? How do you use this information?
- Do you perform keyword research and will you review the results with me?
- For the keyword phrases you recommend, can you provide me with the exact search count for each and the amount of traffic my site should receive when ranking on Page One?
- How long will it take to achieve a Page One ranking? (If they offer a ranking guarantee, do not use them)
- Do you follow search engine SEO best practices to avoid having my website penalized by the search engines? Please explain.
- Please explain the tasks you perform for On Page SEO. It should be more than just the Meta tags.
- Will you be optimizing my entire site or just the home page?
- How often will you review my web pages to help improve conversions?
- Do you plan to make a back up of my current site in case any technical issues arise?
- How will my web site traffic be tracked? Will you install Google Analytics?
- Are you planning to deliver monthly SEO reports? Will they be more than just a Google Analytics printout? Please explain.
- Are you planning to deliver monthly SEO reports for the selected keyword phrases? Will you interpret the results?
Our Niche Dominance digital media marketing strategies include evaluating your current search engine optimization infrastructure to ensure it conforms to the sound 2013 SEO strategy and that it has been implemented correctly. Our solution is also designed to evolve with the rapidly changing search engine environment to ensure your business can achieve a competitive advantage even with fierce competition.