Following on from 50 Search Engine Marketing Techniques – Part 2, this article provides 10 additional search engine optimisation tips, techniques and strategies to help your website get to the top of the rankings.
21. Don’t Just Think of the Top Spot
The highest rankings are not always worth the time and effort to attain; for certain businesses, being lower down in the rankings could still produce enough traffic to meet their objectives. If you’re running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, don’t automatically go for the number one spot and spend vast amounts of money if it’s not necessary for you. Bidding on less competitive keywords can be just as effective and may actually produce higher conversion rates.
22. Target the Right Search Engine
Everyone wants to be No1 on Google for every one of their targeted keywords, but unless you have a huge marketing budget the chances are you won’t be. Work out who your visitors really are, where they come from and how many you need to achieve your business objectives. Not all search engines will produce the same level of success or desired results. There is a growing trend for vertical specific search engines such as price comparison sites such as Kelkoo and Shopping.com. Traffic from these sites can produce more meaningful data and higher conversion rates as shoppers tend to be looking for a specific product and more often than not are likely to buy rather than just browse.
23. Analyse Search Data on Your Site
Most ecommerce websites have a search box where visitors can search for products and information. This search box can be a goldmine when you’re looking to improve your search engine rankings and usability. Firstly, store all of the successful searches from your site’s search box and then use this data to generate a list of the most popular searches. It will help you to understand what people are searching for, and to improve navigation you could link these search results to a particular product category or content page. Not all shopping carts provide the ability to redirect searches to a particular area of the site – or even record search data – but Magento is one ecommerce solution that does. Magento’s “Custom Search Results” feature enables you to modify and control your search results, providing an online retailer with relatively advanced capabilities that allow you to control your search results page.
24. Make RSS Feeds of Your Site’s Content
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) enables you to produce dynamic RSS feeds of your website’s content, which people can then read via their RSS aggregators, browsers or customisable news portals. RSS also enables you to syndicate your content, with links and attributions that point directly back to your website. Submitting your feeds to headline aggregator services such as Moreover and Aggregator Userland, which power news portals, is an excellent way to skyrocket the amount of inbound links to your site. This is a cost effective way to drive traffic to any regularly updated site, and the number of inbound links can have a positive effect on your search engine rankings.
25. Content Must be King
A website is only as good as its content – and the search engines agree. To achieve the best possible search engine rankings, you need to provide good quality content regularly – otherwise you could find your website languishing on page 12 in Google. Nothing has greater influence on search engine ranking than the written word. If your targeted keywords are not presented in an effective fashion within your pages, your chances of appearing for related searches are extremely slim. But, if you write well and format your content correctly for online readers, you will be on the right path to presenting your information effectively to search engines.
You should aim to target two to three related phrases per page, as the shotgun approach doesn’t work. Try to include your targeted key phrases close to the beginning of the content – ideally within the first sentence or two – and repeat them near the end. It is also advisable to use your key phrases near the beginning of paragraphs, and including them in and around hyperlinks can also be an effective method of signalling to the search engines what the page is about. Remember though: you should always write for humans rather than search engine spiders.
26. Install a Blog
One of the best ways to boost search engine rankings is through blogging. Blogs are just like other web pages, but are powered by self-publishing tools that allow for fast and easy content updates, and which create individual links to each update. Blogs are an extremely effective way to generate inbound links. Search engines love regularly updated content, and blogs by their nature are an indication to search engines that the website is regularly updated.
27. Use Tracking Metrics
Tracking search engine marketing campaigns is vital to understanding which search terms are producing the best and worst conversion rates. But the success or failure of a campaign cannot be measured simply on keywords alone. There are many other factors that should be taken into consideration as well, such as keyword groups (broader themes relating to the keyword), creative (page design / advertisement) and the website landing page. Use tracking that enables you to compare the cost per conversion across the various paid and unpaid search terms. This is in turn allows you to move the overall campaign budgets around to maximise the overall ROI. People not using ROI tracking are playing in the dark – even on non-commerce websites.
28. Automate the Bidding Process
Making sure you land the right keyword for your site is a core part of any PPC campaign if you opt for the paid search route. It’s also ongoing if you want to maintain a good ranking. Automating the process eliminates the headache of manually bidding on hundreds or even thousands of keywords. Applying rules-based bid optimisation will ensure that parameters are set to meet business objectives such as cost-per-acquisition (CPA), increasing ROI or maintaining a certain search engine ranking. Automated tools can also manage budgets through the ability to set limits on all the different keywords.
29. Use a CMS
A content management system (CMS) can affect search engine ranking in one of two ways, depending on the quality of the CMS: First, it can make adding new content faster, easier, and therefore fresher. Secondly, a poor quality CMS may create poor code that’s effectively inaccessible to search engine spiders.
The most frequent problem with a CMS is in ontology issues, where each entry is given a long URL with multiple parameters in a query string. Where a CMS allows the URLs to be short, meaningful structures, it usually indicates that the CMS is of a high quality and will be of significant help in creating good, search-friendly content that will appeal to search engines and humans alike.
Employing a CMS is an effective method of optimising a web page’s potential page rank by imposing checkpoints during the publishing process. A well-constructed page combined with a ‘friendly’ URL will ensure that web crawlers penetrate deeper into your site, thereby improving keyword exposure. Also, deploying a CMS enables you to add content to the site quickly, easily and, most importantly, regularly.
30. Improve Site Architecture
Technical architecture comprises the hardware, such as computers, routers, networks, caches, load balancers and software that are used for serving your web content. Problems arise from the fact that search engines ideally like to index one piece of unique content, once, at the best address for that content, and that they like their searchers to see the same content that their robot saw.
You need to match your website’s missions to those of your visitors by matching the content, navigation and labelling on your site to the keywords those searchers are using to find sites like yours. Develop a ‘marketing spine’ (a hierarchy of URLs that will remain for the long term, starting at your Home page), off which you can place your content. Organise the site so that new or popular content is placed within as few clicks as possible of the marketing spine, ideally on it or only one click away. Demote older, less popular content to deeper places within your site.
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