When we talk with our customers about search engine optimization, one of the biggest things we emphasize is that SEO is not a one-time task.

Rather, it’s a progression – a series of steps taken over time to ensure that your site is continually performing as well as it should.

The tricky part is that there are so many things that can be done to improve search – some more important, and some less important. To sort them all out, you need to set priorities for your site and figure out which SEO tasks need be tackled first, and which can be pushed back to a rainy day.

Those priorities will be different for different sites, depending on a variety of factors, like how your site’s performing now, and how your customers are interacting with it. If we were pressed, however, we’d say that just about any website should have the following three tasks on their shortlist.

  • Enrich your content. As we’ve written in previous posts, the most important factor in getting people to visit your site is providing valuable content – unique, regularly updated content that readers can’t find elsewhere. Ultimately, nothing else will generate ongoing interest in your site.
  • Leverage keywords. Choosing the right keywords is critical for any website. Researching them, picking the right ones, and incorporating them into your text and navigational structure can make all the difference in how many qualified customers find your site.
  • Optimize your site structure. Google is a prickly beast that likes sites built in a certain way, using a certain type of coding. If you alienate Gooogle by using outdated coding, you’ll be closed out of search results in a flash.

In addition to these “top three” tasks, there are tons of second- and third-tier steps that can be taken to continually better your search results. An optimal SEO strategy will prioritize these steps and set up a targeted plan to get ‘em done, month after month – and get your rankings jumping higher month after month in turn.

In our previous post, we talked about the importance of including keywords in your site structure.
What we didn’t say is that keywords mean nothing if they’re embedded in cruddy content.
By cruddy content, we mean content that’s poorly written or organized. That’s salesy or full of typos. That’s been pulled from a print publication and slapped into your site without being webified.
As web developers, we’d like to think that we can create perfect sites using clean code alone. But we can’t. It’s the content in your site that matter most. Great content helps establish you as an expert in your field. It gives customers a reason to visit your site. And it helps Google understand your site and classify it properly in search results.
Need help creating great content? Here are a few tips.

  • Unless you’re a professional writer yourself, hire one. And not just any writer – one with experience writing sites optimized for web readability and web searchability.
  • Write for your customers. Yes, your website should tell your story. But think first about your customers’ story. Who are they? Why are they visiting your site? What information do they need? If your content consistently addresses your customers’ questions and interests, you can bring them back to your site again and again.
  • Remember that size matters. To optimize search results and get Google visiting regularly, you need lots of content – and you need to update it regularly. How much content do you need? Start with at least as much as your competitors have, and go from there.
  • Don’t write for search engines. Yes, keywords are important.  But if you overload your copy with keywords, you’ll lose credibility with your readers. Plus, Google knows that trick and is so over it.

The bottom line is that customers come to your site for content. Give ‘em that, and they’ll always be happy.
Want to talk with our SEO copywriter about your content? Contact us today.

Quick quiz: What’s the difference between SEO and SEM? (You know, search engine optimization and search engine marketing.)

Not sure? Join the crowd.

In a nutshell, SEO and SEM are strategies used to help companies create effective websites – websites that attract qualified, prospective customers. Customers who hopefully – to put it bluntly – buy lots and lots of stuff.

The strategies take different forms.

SEO can be thought of as things you do within your website to optimize your organic search rankings. That means increasing the chance that a potential customer will find your site using a search engine like Google. It includes things like:

  • Embedding keywords in your body copy, headings, hyperlinks, and tags
  • Building a navigational structure and page structure that can be easily indexed by search engines
  • Using clean code so that search engines can “understand” your content
  • And, of course, including great content that matters to your customers

SEM can be thought of as things you do outside your website to drive web traffic, and customers, toward it. An SEM campaign might include:

The key thing to know about SEO and SEM is that they work best when they work together, with SEO “pulling” traffic to your site and SEM “pushing” it there.

That’s the point of having a website, after all – to help customers find you, learn about you, and buy your goods or services.

Want to talk with us more about the world of SEO and SEM? Contact us anytime.