SEO is an ever evolving field with a vast variety of opinions techniques and tactics. And while a full explanation of SEO could take numerous pages to explain, for the purpose of this article I shall go over the general topics and key points that I feel are important it in an effective SEO strategy. I believe that there are three important main aspects of a successful SEO strategy: Content, links and Social Media Engagement.
SEO Content creation is a subject that I have already gone over in-depth in my article, The Factors of SEO Content Writing, so I will not go into great detail about it here. However the key points of content creation are to create compelling content, content that is well researched and keyword rich and content that can directionalize the user to take action with call to action phrases.
Links and Link-Building
Links give Google one very important signal. They inform Google that another site or reader found material on a webpage valuable and relevant enough for them to link to it. The more links you get, the more valuable your content is deemed to be by search engines. More likes also builds trust and authority, causing your pages to rank higher, driving more traffic.
In the past, link building was a numbers game. Links came from simple tactics that included listing your site in a bunch of directories, linking to your site from comments on blogs, and other transactions that focused more on having someone dedicate the time to “link building” than actually focusing on creating value for readers.
In Today’s world, link building is still critically important, but there’s more pressure to build high quality links. Sites that you’re linking from need to be reputable and relevant to your industry. There are many different approaches or strategies for link building. Here are several that I believe can be effective:
Guest blogging: There’s an increased focus today on guest blogging as site owners look for organic ways to build links. Guest blogging is simple: you find and pitch an appropriate blog with an offer to write a post geared toward their audience. When you’re guest blogging, look for reputable blogs that are relevant to your industry and subject matter.
Press release distribution: Press releases are another way to build links to your site and help build brand recognition for your business. There are two keys for effective press release distribution. The first is to find a newsworthy story to write about in your release, or to find a relevant hook in the broader news landscape. For example, if you are a coach for administrative assistants looking for new opportunities and its Administrative Professionals Day, your press release is more likely to be widely picked up.
This syndication effect will help you build inbound links. It may also lead to valuable news coverage with publications running your story or reporters asking you to act as a source. The second piece of leveraging press releases is to use an effective press release distribution service. It doesn’t have to cost you hundreds of dollars. In fact, many are free.
Blog Commenting: Blog commenting is somewhat of a hot button issue among as SEO experts. Now while it is true that this tactic has been abused in the past by black hat SEOs, I believe that it done correctly it sparingly it can be used to build back links in an ethical way.
Target high quality directories: Indiscriminately listing your site in every directory that you can find has little value. It’s fair to say that it can even backfire. Yet there are a number of directories out there that are valuable to an SEO strategy. Be on the lookout for three kinds of directories where it can be useful to list your site. The first is local directories; being listed can help you rank for location-based keywords. The second is niche or professional directories that are squarely focused on your industry. The third are established directories with sections that focus on your area of expertise.
Social Media Engagement
In reality, social media has augmented and transformed the way that we think about SEO, without making the discipline itself go away. Today, social signals are having a direct impact on how sites are ranking in the SERPs. Here are several effective ways to leverage social media:
Interact in social media channels: The best way to build some buzz on social media is to get out there and get connected. Your social presence should be thought of as a conversation. Share content that’s high value for your contacts, while also engaging with them. Engagement means sharing other people’s content, thanking people for retweets and shares, and joining people in discussions. This doesn’t have to take a lot of time, but ideally you should spend a few minutes a day focused on engagement.
Build your brand: Social media is a great medium to help build your brand. A branded social presence can help build word of mouth that gets you customers, mentions, and links. Think about branding your social presence in three key ways. Make sure that your profile names and descriptions are branded and link to your site. Ideally your username and URL for both sites should be linked to your business name. Ensure that the look and feel of your site carries through to your profile layouts and design. Finally, share professional content in your brand’s voice consistently.
Generate social signals by making content easy to share: Focus on making sure that you’ve included the relevant networks – at a minimum, users should be able to share to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.
Have a platform strategy: “Be everywhere” is one approach to social media, but it’s rarely the most effective. Particularly if you’re trying to get traffic to your site and people to read and share your content. Instead, decide what platforms are going to be the most effective for you. The best strategy takes into account the social behaviors of your target customers. Are they video people? Facebook addicts? Spend your time online cultivating a following that generates social activity and connects to your business goals beyond SEO.
Think Google+: From a purely SEO perspective, it’s important to have a presence on Google+. Here’s why: Google has been explicit that social signals play a role in its algorithm. Twitter and Facebook matter some, but many of the search results from both networks are restricted. Therefore, the network that’s carries the most weight is Google +. Ensure that you have a profile that’s connected to your site, and spend time building your audience there. Share content, and make sure that a Google+ button is available for people to like and share your content.
While there are indeed many more factors techniques and strategies of an effective SEO campaign, I believe that the three areas I have covered above represent the core of good white hat SEO. With that being said, there is one last factor. It is, in my opinion the core, the heart and soul of successful SEO, but, ironically, it has nothing to do with technique or technical knowledge; The final factor is the ability to apply all of the above tactics and strategies with a spirit of ferocious resolve and passionate creativity. Step out boldly in whatever direction you choose to go and give it everything you’ve got!