What is covered under SEO?
In order to most adequately answer this question a definition and back ground of SEO is probably needed.
SEO - (Search Engine Optimization) is a highly intricate or specialized way for search engines to rank websites.
Now Search Engine Optimization was developed in the 1990's due to the increasing desire of website owners wanting to drive more traffic to their sites, and not wanting to use the "Old Marketing Practices." (Newspapers, word of mouth, fliers, etc.) This mixed with the growing popularity of the internet, and the need for a better search capability gave birth to SEO!
Factors of On Site SEO - Search Engine Optimization
On Site SEO is comprised of several things, and below I wanted to briefly touch on each.
URL - Each url of your website can be used to better optimize your site. If you are optimizing the homepage for: Dollies. One of the best urls you can have is Dollies.com. If you are looking for one of your Category pages or product pages to be optimized for that keyword then: YOURDOMAIN.com/Dollies. The keyword phrase is still contained in your domain name.
Meta Title, or Title Tag – This is still one of the most important aspects of on-page SEO. This also shows up in the search engine results. Its the blue anchor text that leads to your site. If you have ever done GOOD PPC you know its incredibly important. (Ex. Beanbag chairs & bean bag sofas by Mojosac)
Meta Keywords, Description, and Robots - The description, although some internet marketers think it isn't as important as it used to be, is extremely important! Why? Well its important because that is what Google and other search engines use in their search results. Not only that it is still crawled and is the brief synopsis of what your site is about. (ex. To a Book the description would be the summary on the back.) The keywords are still used to tell "spiders" or "crawlers" what your site should be valid for.
H1 and H2 Tags - These are seen as bolding to search engines. They are emphasized as the main subjects of your text on each page. They need to match your title.
Body Text - Once the spiders have crawled your meta they come to the body text. This should be made up of a few brief paragraphs that tell the Who, What, and Why of your product. The body text should be optimized at a 4% density.
Alt Tags - You will want to have 4 - 5 alt tags on the images of each page. These are keywords that will help your image be found in the image results on search engines. It is just a title on the image you have uploaded to your site.
Inner Site Linking - These are the links leading from one page to the next. Both the "Anchor Text" and the URL to which it leads are extremely important. Recently Google came out with new guidelines on this as well. You can have multiple inter site links, but only the first link for a page will count.
I know this is probably still a little foggy, but here is an example: Welcome to our domain here you can buy all the best Keyword 1 and Keyword 2. If these were linked then they would count. If I linked one of the same pages as the above keywords then that link wouldn't add to the overall inbound links to that page. Excessive linking can actually now potentially harm your site. (Do I agree with this, well to a certain degree yes; but they need to find a happy medium between user friendly and over kill.)
Outbound Links - These can harm your site. They are needed, but use them sparingly. Using links to high ranking similar content pages helps your site look like a greater authority on the subject.
Factors of Off Site SEO - Search Engine Optimization
In one of my other hubs, I wrote about 5 link building strategies. Well I am going to briefly expound upon those as well as the other SEO Factors.
As previously stated SEO is a specialized way for search engines to rank websites. Well there are a few different ways websites can be found. We need to be ranking for each of these ways:
- Paid Search
- Organic Search
That said We won't be discussing each of these individually, but rather going over the practices of Off Site SEO.
Keyword Analysis - Although the outcome of this is better On Site SEO, you do all the research off site and that is why I have included it here. There are a few guidelines I like to follow, but I won't go into the specific perimeters here.
As you search your competition and demand you will get a better feel for the keywords for which you should be optimized. The two major perimeters I like to use are Demand (Google Adwords Keyword Tool) and Competition by checking the Page Ranks for page 1 competition. The better your research the better you will be able to rank quickly for your longer tail keyword phrases.
One really good way to check the keywords you are doing best for is webmaster tools - a Google product. This will show you where you rank, and with that information you can build more links with that keyword phrase to get boosted in the searches and drive greater amounts of organic traffic to your site.
Competitor Analysis - Yahoo Site Explorer, Alexa.com, Compete.com give you incredible insight into what your competitors are doing. You can check their traffic, backlinks, and even with some the keywords for which they are doing ppc. Knowing what your competitors are doing well will help you compete and stay ahead.
In-Bound Links - These could also be referred to as External links. An external link is a link from a site that is know to be an authority on your keyword topic. Some examples of these types of sites are: Wikipedia, a blog, forum, live directory, or other informational site created solely on your topic.
Deep Link Building - These are your site's backlinks. These inbound links direct traffic to specific pages on your website. If you have practiced the On Site SEO principles then you will have keywords for each page on your site. You will want to have these inbound links lead back to your site based on the keywords used. Ex. If it is a category page or sub page keyword that you are using for your anchor text, then have it lead to that page. Not all links should go to your home page.
Anchor Text - This is the text that is being used to lead back to your site. You will not always want to use the exact keyword phrases for which you are optimized. Ex. Keyword 1 should be the majority of the links, but you will also want to use longer anchor text phrases that still contain that keyword.
Blogs and RSS Feeds - These can be embedded in your site. Why is that important? Well its important because when you continue to blog you continue to optimize pages for specific keywords, usually longer tail keywords. That said you also have the opportunity or continuing to add content in one of the easiest ways possible for your site. These posts, and feeds will bring in traffic through subscriptions, tags, and keywords as well. A few of the different, bloging sites are: Blogger, Joomla, Typepad, and WordPress
Unique Content - Content is incredibly important, and needs to be updated regularly. That said avoid duplicate content, because it won't do your site much good if your regurgitating exactly what others are saying. There are free spinners everywhere to spin the content and make it "unique." What search engines do when they see consistent duplicate content, is drop you in the results. It doesn't look good if the top 10 results for a keyword give you the exact same information.
Live Directories - Theses are a collection of (usually) owner submitted sites. Another name for them is web directories. The traffic from these is usually minimal to none, but they do help in developing links back to your site. They could, depending on subject matter, even be considered as deep links.
Vertical Portals - These are sites that are highly concentrated or devoted to one subject. These are usually harder to submit to, but when accepted can drive traffic to your site and help to push you closer to your page rank. A link from one of these sites are extremely helpful.
Local Search - Local search includes local directories, yellow pages, and all the search engines local searches. (Bing, Google, Yahoo) Just like the yellow pages in the phone book people search online locally for nearby addresses, and businesses they could visit. If you can cut out their trip even better.
Social Networking - This is coming in to play more and more, and your "likes" for fan pages may even start playing a role in where you rank. Social networking is a really easy way to start getting more inbound links, as well as spreading your name. How does it work? Well if I like your link it is now placed on my Facebook page. If 100 people have liked my link, I have 100 extra links inbound to my site. This is the same with Twitter. You send your tweets w/ your links out to all your followers.
Viral Marketing - This usually refers to social networking to create self-reproductive or replicating messages (tweets, or facebook messages.) It is driven from friend to friend, and most effective if something free or funny/entertaining is shared in addition or with your message embedded. This is the cheapest and easiest, once you have a good core fan base, ways to market your product, website, or service.