In a post on their blog, SEOMoz, a company that builds optimisation software, published a 25-step method for doing your own search engine optimisation. The author, Cyrus Shepard, calls it an “intermediate SEO instruction manual” that is simple enough for beginners.
We are going to give you some highlights here, with our own comments. The main things we want you to understand from this article are that SEO is hard work, and there are simply no shortcuts to page one of Google. The 25 steps are separated into five sections.
The first five steps involve keyword research. They recommend that you try to rank for 100′s of multiple keywords that aren’t too broad, don’t have too much competition, but still have traffic, and that are guaranteed to convert. This, of course, means that you have to spend a lot of time on keywords. If you have no idea what you are doing, it is even more time-consuming.
Steps 6-13 involve content. This is no mistake, and no coincidence. In Google’s current algorithm, content can make or break your website. Content isn’t as simple as slapping up a few blog posts with a bunch of keywords in them. Shepard really nailed the content portion of his blog post; there are a lot of factors that determine whether your content will take you to page one of Google.
The most important point, with which we fully agree, is that your content must create value for your readers. The piece divides value into four categories: usefulness, evoking an emotional response, stating a point of view, and perceived value. It goes on to say that only one of these four elements has to be present, as long as it is done well.
The medium in which the content is presented can be important. There are four great ways to deliver written content, but there are also visual elements that can be utilised to great effect.
When it comes to the writing itself, the title is important, as is the depth of content. The “holy grail” is a post that is both long and deep, and holds the reader’s attention all the way to the end. Most of all, though, a post must contain mostly unique writing, with minimal quoting of content that is already on the Internet.
Content must be of high quality. While Google is still a machine, its algorithm is able to tell a lot from analysing words and structure of a post. Also, Google measures how long people are staying and reading your posts, and if they are clicking on multiple pages within your website.
While you can’t really know what Google is going to “think,” or when people are going to read your posts, there are a few things that you can definitely control:
Does it have accurate information?
Is it well-written by someone who has done their research?
Has it been spell-checked and proofread?
Does it have errors in syntax?
Is there something original in the post, whether it is reporting, research, or opinion/analysis?
Will the reader learn something?
Could you see this piece in a professional publication, like a newspaper or magazine?
The last part relating to web content is actually web and page design. You can have the best content in the world, but if shoddy design makes it difficult to read, or your website looks amateurish, nobody is going to want to read it.
This involves content hubs and internal linking and on-page optimisation. We aren’t going to bore anyone with the details, but the rule of thumb is to write for humans and build infrastructure for search engines.
The piece uses what they call the 90/10 Rule: spend 90% of your effort on epic content, and 10% on building links. There are a lot of opinions on building links; we are more conservative than most, and for good reason. Before the Penguin and Panda updates, a lot of websites used “link farms” with thousands of links to great success. When the updates came out, many of those sites were de-indexed.
Our rule of thumb: if it isn’t organic, don’t do it.
What Does It All Mean?
First of all, it means that SEO is a lot of hard work. That is why we are so successful; we are willing to do the work that most businesses don’t have time to do on their websites. There are no shortcuts, no loopholes, and no magic tricks. Worse yet, if you try to take shortcuts, your website will get buried.
Call 1300 899 851 today; don’t leave your SEO to a part-timer.