It can be very tempting to believe there is (or hope there is) a single most important thing for effective SEO – one magic shortcut to effectively optimize a site for the search engines.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was one thing that will have more effect on SEO than anything else, and wouldn’t it be even better if that involved less effort than all the other options so that they could be conveniently swept under a mental carpet…
Bad news… there ain’t!
Let’s look at what is really required for effective SEO….
First, you need a good fundamentally sound base on which to build.
This means you will need good, well structured content that can be easily accessed and indexed by the search engine bots that crawl the internet.
So you should be looking to provide unique, good quality content on a focused subject. Google et al, like the same kind of thing your potential visitors do.
Think about how the subject breaks down into categories and then topics within each of them. The site should have a good internal link structure between categories. On a WordPress site, this includes implementing the permalink structure accordingly.
Construct the site structure sensibly for human visitors and then it’s also likely to be indexed well by the search engines.
As part of this, in addition to a helpful sitemap for real visitors, you should also provide accessible xml sitemaps that the search engine bots will use to crawl and index the relevant pages of the site.
Next, think about the keywords that are relevant to the site – what is the site about, what will your potential visitors be searching for, are there related search terms etc.
Here is where you can use tools like the Google Keyword tool and MarketSamurai for keyword research and brainstorming. You’ll be looking to find keyword phrases that are relevant to your subject and that enough people actually search on.
If your site is commercially orientated in some way or another, then you’re also likely to be looking for search terms that have some degree of commerciality and reasonable degree of competition (no competition is likely to imply there is no commercial marketplace around that phrase).
Keyword research and search term selection is a fundamental part of any successful site optimization. There are no short cuts here – just methods and tools which can help you brainstorm, find, analyze and refine your keyword selection to aid your tactics for effective SEO and increase their impact in the short, medium and long term.
Once you have done sufficient keyword research for the basis of a site, you’ll be looking at implementing on-page SEO for the selected keyword terms.
This is where you look to ensure that things like page titles, meta tags, heading tags, images etc are all optimized for the keyword search term phrases around which each page or post is based.
At this stage, you will hopefully have established a good platform on which to continue the process of effective SEO which is link building!
We’ll look at that in another post….