Thursday, 16 June 2011

Hey, why isn’t my site at the top of Google?

1. I want it now!
Just like other types of marketing, online or off, SEO takes time. It’s not going to produce overnight results.
An SEO can take up to 3 months to get results – and 12 months to get a return on your investment. But this all depends on how competitive your industry is. For example, to rank well in a niche with a low volume of demand, such as “chocolate flavor pizza” will take less time than a more competitive one, like “laptop repair”.

Google Search
2. … and for €0
While it all depends how competitive your industry is, SEO requires an on-going, regular investment. This could be in-house, if you have the skills available, or working with an SEO agency.

3. Research? What’s that?
One of the most frequent SEO mistakes is optimizing your site for the wrong keywords.
Research is vital. This will give you a list of the search terms that users are actually searching for. Data such as global & local search volumes along with the amount of competition will mean you optimize your site for the right keywords.
You also need to take into account the conversion rate. For example, if you rank highly for the search term “free chocolate”, this is great – but these visitors are potentially no use to you!
Use the Google Keyword Tool to get a good overall idea on keywords to aim for.

4. Required = #1 position for all searches
Sadly, it’s possible that you may never reach that #1 position for highly competitive search terms such as “insurance” or “laptop”. Even with a significant investment, there is only so much SEO can do – and you may well be wasting your money.
However, a great place to start is adding location. Just by adding your town or area to the keyword you’re aiming for, you’ll see there’s less competition. After you’ve established your site for these less competitive ones, you can move on and start targeting the more popular ones. Visitors who are looking for your product/service in a particular area are also likely to be more qualified – as they’re already in your target location.

5. Wait, I need to optimize the inside of my site?
Yes. Before you start looking outside, you need to make sure your on-site optimization is up to scratch. This makes up the base of your SEO efforts, and it’s really important to have this base securely established before moving on to the next step.
This includes page titles, meta descriptions and copy that’s optimized for your keywords for all top-level pages.
In short, onsite optimization is the most important part of SEO – so get started!

6. ……link to other sites, AND be sociable? !

To rank well, links to your site are important. Even better? Links that use your keywords as anchor text. The best way to get links is to publish great content – that will naturally attract links as people share it with their networks.
Remember, quality is more important than quantity. It’s worth more to have a small number of high-quality links than a large amount of very low-quality ones (eg. on linkfarms).

A great way to get the word out about your great content? Social Media. 
This can be through a blog, Facebook page, Twitter stream, social bookmarking sites such as Stumbleupon or Reddit…. There are so many possibilities available – the challenge is finding out where your consumers are. If they’re busy tweeting from dawn to dusk, this is where you’ll get the best results.

…. so, SEO is hard work...
But thourough research, an on-going investment, realistic objectives, on site optimisation and Social Media will set you well on your way to that #1 spot !

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