Search engine optimization is a hot topic these days, and it’s easy to understand why. Achieving a high page rank for your key terms is a great way to drive more (and free!) traffic to your site. SEO needs to be an important component of any online marketing strategy, and needs to be managed on an ongoing basis. Here are a few simple ways that you can integrate SEO strategy with your web property.
- Include an XML sitemap on your site. One of the easiest things to implement, and one of the most frequently neglected. A sitemap tells the search engine spiders which pages are live on your site, and where they are located. Remember, an XML sitemap is different from an HTML sitemap, and your site should have both. You can generate your own current XML site map by using free tools like this one.
- Make sure your URLs are search engine friendly. And by search engine friendly, I mean two things – keyword rich and content targeted. Don’t, for example, have a URL that is totally unrelated to your site’s content and not keyword targeted (i. e. www.ford.com/woglx-lgke versus www.ford.com/mustang-convertible). URLs that are search engine friendly are more likely to be crawled and indexed faster.
- Develop new content for your site, and develop it frequently. As the saying goes, “content is king” when it comes to page rank, and your site needs as much relevant content as it can get. Start by researching the most popular keywords in your category and develop new content based on those targeted keywords. WordVision is a great tool to help get your started with that. You can also get insight into popular search terms that are driving to your site by using Pardot’s natural search reports.
- Get links, links, and more links. One of the key factors that search engines like Google use when determining a page’s organic ranking is the number of sites that that link to your site (aka a “backlink”). The search engines’ algorithms attempt to determine the level of trust and relevancy that other website owners have in your company, and have decided that the more companies you have linking to you, the better.
- Make sure your meta information is optimized. While meta tags are not as important as they once were, they are still a necessary part to any SEO strategy. Each page should have a title tag, description tag, and a keyword tag. That’s right, every single page. Remember, SEO is not a one-time event. Search engines change their algorithms, new competitors enter your market, and things that worked yesterday might not work tomorrow. The key is to keep your content fresh and new, and to have a long-term SEO strategy in place.
Check out our SEO Field Guide for even more tips and best practices (registration required).