The very first SEO activity for any sized business is Keyword Research – unless time is allocated for effective keyword research there is no point in starting any SEO campaign as no SEO campaign can succeed without it! How much time needs to be spent varies from client to client and industry to industry. Typically, as a minimum, we would allow a good half day for keyword research. Keyword research is the ‘groundwork’ of SEO
After the groundwork has been done there are 3 main components to any successful SEO campaign:
1. On-Page Optimisation – relating to the website itself.
We would add the client website to our Google Webmaster Tools account (GWT) so that we can ensure that the website complies to Google webmaster guidelines. Any issues Google has with the site in terms of: coding errors, crawl errors (Pages not found), server errors, duplicate content errors etc. will be shown in the GWT account.
Google is presently stressing the importance of the ‘web user experience’. Any crawl or coding errors that detract from that experience will lead to a site being demoted in the search results pages.
Getting traffic to a web page should not be the be all and end all of SEO – the web page has to convert traffic to sales for the SEO campaign to be judged a success. We therefore always look at the web page content to ensure the pages actually ‘ask for the business’ – many pages fail to do this.
2. Off Page Optimisation
Off page optimisation carries by far the biggest weighting in the search engine algorithm as Google views a link from one site to another as a referral or recommendation. Not all links have the same worth however and one thing the Penguin updates have changed is that now only links from relevant high authority web pages are included in the Google algorithm. It is now about quality rather than quantity.
We would do a detailed link analysis to assess the value and quality of the existing links to the client’s website. Penguin changes have also increased the importance of the anchor text used to create the links from one site to another. Over use of any keyword phrase is now seen as being ‘spammy’ and again Google will penalise a site for what it sees as spammy links.
We therefore do a full review of the anchor text and if there is any obvious bias towards any particular keywords we would recommend creating additional links using other anchor text in order to reduce the impact of the offending keyword.
3. Content Quality & Freshness / Social Signals
Google is looking more and more for evidence that your content is relevant and valued by your readers. It looks at Social Media: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. for evidence that people are sharing your content with their followers and friends. The more shares, likes, re-tweets, re-posts etc. your social content has, the higher your website will feature in the search engine results pages.
Google will also always rank fresh new content higher than old, stale content. It is important to have a content marketing strategy in place such as regular blogging, press releases etc. to make sure your content is indexed higher than that of your competitors. We can create a content marketing plan to help with this.
We check out some of the other ‘Content Quality’ measures used by Google using Google Analytics – we will install the Google analytics tracking code if the site doesn’t have it already. Content quality can be gauged using analytics by looking at the following:
- Bounce Rate – a high bounce rate suggest either poor quality or irrelevant content
- How long people stay on the site / individual pages – can people really read all your page content in just 15 seconds?
- Number of Pages visited – more pages visited suggests more interest in those products or services – look at the best performing site pages and create more ‘similar’ content
- Entry pages – where do people land on your website?
- Exit Pages – where do people leave your website and why?
The analytics can also help us with keyword research.
We hope this gives an indication of our approach to SEO but if you need more information please leave a comment below or use the contact form to get in touch.