The mechanics of SEO are very complicated, it took years for me to master some of the methods, some of the lesser known techniques and some of the insider secrets that are out there to effect your rank using SEO. Knowing it all is the first step, knowing how to use and apply that knowledge is key to SEO. And I can tell you, I will never stop learning, testing and tweaking my techniques. But the core of SEO is very simple, here are the main ingredients, in no particular order:
- Properly Built Website: Clean code, keywords in titles, keywords in URL’s, keywords in H1 tags, and a faster server, easily indexable, site maps, etc. These are some of the foundations of a proper set up for successful SEO. You have to know what you’re doing of course, just because you know the ingredients to your favorite cake, doesn’t mean you know how to bake it. You can actually make your rank go the wrong way by doing things like “Keyword Stuffing” or “Repeating Title Tags”.
- Back links: links that point to your website, there are all sorts of schools of thoughts on this and anyone given enough time and creativity can point thousands of links back to your site in an effort to produce a rank change, but not all back links are created equally and not all techniques work the same. Quite simply the more external links to your site the more important Google thinks you are, but that comes with a big “it depends” on where your links are coming from, what they link to, how and how long they’re going to stick around. There are literally a myriad of other factors some of which we don’t know for certain but theorize about. For an example of a techie “for instance”, C Blocks, if you have 1,000 links coming all from the same C Block, it’s not as effective as 100 links coming from 100 different C Blocks.
- References: do you have other sites that already link to you? Perhaps an online yellow page listing? You may be listed in a few online directories already, especially if you have had a long-time established business in your local area, chances are if you were in the yellow pages, you’ve got a good foothold you just need to leverage it a little. If you have not done so already, claim these listings so you can control them, such as your Google Places listings.
- Social Media & Reviews: This is already an important ingredient and it will quickly become more and more important. The world has gone social, either hold on and leverage it or shy away from it and miss out. The magic happens when companies actually change their existing policies and procedures and tie in social media to their everyday business, otherwise you may feel what’s the point, well, if you’re not tying it into your everyday business transactions, you may be right, there may be no point. For instance, if you let a client walk out of your office without explicitly asking them to please share a review of their experience online for others to see and offering them a computer station to do-so at that very moment, you may be missing out on a huge opportunity.
- Cohesiveness: just as an ad campaign communicates your products or services so should an SEO Campaign. You need to hire a firm that understands what your business needs, who your customers are, and what they are looking for. Then target them in a strategic and cohesive campaign that is consistent from your on-site SEO such as your title tags and keywords, and keyword anchor links back to your site with your off-site SEO.