As budget-conscious consumers continue to do more price-comparison shopping online, it’s more important than ever to make sure customers can find you online when they search, as well as make sure they see the results you want. Five search experts offer ways to improve your SEO.
Few people know that each page on your Web site is an opportunity to deliberately target one — and only one — keyword term or phrase. All other search hits to your pages should be considered gravy. Once you figure out which term each page targets, you can calculate the upper limit of how much traffic you can expect to get to your site (using the Google AdWords Tool) with your existing content. It might seem like sacrifice, but by focusing your SEO efforts on one keyword phrase for each page on your site, you’ll get higher rankings for these important, high volume searches.
Mike Levin, director of SEO strategy, 360i
Use unique keywords
Solid keyword research and theming are key to ensuring that your Web site is found near the top of organic search results. Be sure to use keywords in your Web site copy that are germane to your business and industry. Be consistent when crafting your page titles (meta tag descriptions). You want to feature unique keywords, but be careful not to be too repetitive or you’ll get filtered for being “spammy.” Also, make sure you use keywords that are relevant to each specific page you optimize so your traffic is directed to the right places. As important as your meta tags are, don’t overlook some basics, like making sure all internal links point to your home page and not to an “index.html” or “default.html” page. Us a “301 Redirect” to resolve canonical issues (this is where both the www and non-www versions of your pages are listed, potentially causing duplicate site listings). Lastly, be sure to utilize the wide array of free analytical tools available online. The more you know, the more effective your SEO will be.
Jeff Stibel, president, Web.com
Understand the importance of title tags.
One of the major keys to SEO is the title tag. If there are 200 elements or factors that the Google algorithm monitors, the title tag seems to have more weight than the 199 rest of them. A big mistake people make is putting the same title tag on every page. So if “mysite.com” is the title tag on every page on the site, the only term they rank for is such name. Each page has to be about something different. The best way to let the search engine understand that is to make sure that title is unique to the page. You will occasionally have words that are used on more than one page, but work very hard to make them variations. Try to make them singular in one place, plural in another, and make sure every title page is as unique as possible.
Greg Jarboe, president, SEO-PR
Monitor user-generated content
Reputation management is part of SEO. User generated content found in social networks, blogs, user reviews and other places are finding their way onto search engine result pages more and more often. Marketers want to ensure they are monitoring those voices and the content associated with it. It’s not about trying to suppress negative commentary, but to engaging with your consumers directly in an authentic way. Respond honestly with a voice that is empowered to represent the company, and do so in a way that’s human and not defensive. Make sure there is a customer advocate that can firmly state, “I’ll look into this personally and get back to you personally.” Marketers can best affect the sentiment about their brands by being open to the feedback, responsive to consumers concerns, and authentic in their approach.
Mark Schwartz, managing partner, Steak
Integrate SEO with other search marketing methods
If your marketing efforts are only a hobby, then SEO alone should be enough. But when you are responsible for marketing a business where failure is not an option, then SEM (PPC marketing) should and must be used alongside SEO. First, PPC allows immediate visibility. Once you launch your ad campaign, your ads can begin to appear within the search listings right away. Through PPC, you can gain search traffic while you’re waiting for the search engines to index and rank your work on the organic side. And since PPC’s immediacy also allows you to tweak your search ad copy, keyword lists and landing page choice, you can use PPC to quickly learn what kinds of keywords and messages work and don’t work. You can translate that information into smarter choices for your SEO optimization. Lastly, it is always better to command more SERP real estate by having both SEO and SEM placements on the results page.
Mark Simon, VP of industry relations, DidIt