Basic SEO is not hard, it is a methodic and logical approach to your Market. Let’s get this straight. SEO rankings is really about understanding your market, your competitors and ultimately your visitors. A little bit of discovery will go a long way in successfully commanding your market.
Before we get into the 5 elements of SEO, we need to examine the discovery side of your business.
- Understand your market. Is there really an on-line buying market? You can have thousands of searches monthly with very few buyers. Is your product or service conducive to marketing on the Internet? Example: I ran across a market not long ago that I thought had some potential. “Tattoo Design”. Many thousands of searches each month with relatively few competitors. So I found an affiliate program and set-up some PPC ads. After several hundred dollars in clicks and 1 measly sale, I stumbled into a forum that was talking about tattoos. What I discovered was that people weren’t going to pay for designs because they can get them at the tattoo shop for free and that the only potential customers I had were the actual Artists themselves. This reduced my market to a fraction of what I thought it was. I failed to understand the market.
- Understand your main Competitors. Choose battles you can win! Who is competing for your keywords is a fundamental requirement of effective SEO. If your website is new, avoid chasing keywords that you cannot rank well for. You are spinning your wheels if you believe you can go up against competitors that have Page Ranking of 5 and up. Not impossible but it will take a lot of work and time.
- Understand your visitors. This is the toughest one of them all. Since most visitors only stay on a site for 15 to 30 seconds it is hard to determine what they like or dislike. You can discover clues to what they want by visiting forums and absorbing the posts. Emphasizing the problems or situations is an effective way to create website stickiness.
So what does this have to do with SEO rankings?
Quite a lot actually. You see if you have a pretty good grasp on the 3 items above your SEO efforts will be much easier and the results will be greatly improved. Ok, on to the 5 Elements of good SEO.
These are loosely listed in the order they should be worked on. I say loosely because each element is an ongoing process and all elements are of equal importance. This means for example, that you need to add content and continue to work on backlinks simultaneously etc.
SEO Element #1 – Keyword Research. Effective SEO starts with good keyword research. I belong to the camp that says you should have 2 keyword lists. List #1 contains maybe 10 or 15 of your main keywords and list #2 contains all the associated keywords. List #1 is used to build your main pages and List #2 is used for less important internal pages or articles etc.
SEO Element #2 – Know Your Competition. It is alarming how many website owners have no clue how their main competitors got to where they are. Knowing how well your competitors are optimized will give you a clear path for your own search engine optimization.
SEO Element #3 – On-page Optimization. This is probably the easiest part of the process. Once you have a template set correctly, it is just a matter of tweaking each page of your site.
On-page optimization includes:
- All relevant Tags (Title, Description, Keyword, Alt)
- Keyword Density on your pages
- Content (Content is truly King)
SEO Element #4 – Links. Quantity and quality are the keys here. It seems that all the SEO Professionals agree that one of the (if not the) biggest single factor to effective SEO is good quality links (and lots of them) to your site. These are the external links.
There is another group of links that can also help your SEO rankings. These are the internal links. Wherever you can be sure to link to internal pages using anchor text and hopefully that anchor text contains your keyword for the page that the link is going to.
Element #5 – Website Promotion. This is off-site promotion that has a large impact on your SEO efforts.
Here are a few areas of website promotion:
- Directories (Submit your site to and get listed in Directories)
- Articles (Become recognized in your area or market)
- Press Releases (Tell the world about your site or changes you made)
There are tons of different types of off-site promotion, these are the main ones that you can control. The result is you will get backlinks back to your site. And most of these sites are highly visited and have high SEO Page Ranking. You need high PR links back to you.