Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
Business and website owners today understand the importance of SEO but can often become frustrated with the process. Unlike other marketing efforts that can yield quick results, SEO is built for the long term and the process itself isn’t something that can be done overnight or in a matter of a few days. If you are following a white hat SEO strategy, there are no short cuts. When signing up for SEO services you need to understand that the process will take some time to complete and it will take even longer to see results. When you do things too quickly or skip steps completely, it negatively impacts the outcome of the campaign. It’s better to do things right the first time around than need to revisit everything 9 months down the road when you see that nothing has improved, or potentially, that things may have gotten worse.
SEO best practice is to do the following, in this order:
Step 1 – Keyword Research
Recently a client said, “Well I can tell you what the keywords are so you can just skip this and get to the important stuff”. This seems to be a common misconception. Sure, you may have been working in a certain industry for years and years, but that may also mean that you are “too close” to it all. Maybe the keywords that you’d suggest aren’t what actual potential customers would use to find you. Keyword research can uncover new keywords along with long tail opportunities. It’s very rare for nothing to come of keyword research. Remember, the keywords are the foundation of your campaign and will be used throughout your site and within content that is published across the web. You don’t want to miss any opportunities because you were stubborn.
Step 2 – On-Site Optimization
Once keywords have been selected and approved they need to be implemented naturally into on-site content and within meta information including the title, description, H tags, and image tags. It’s important to be thorough. Sure, the description tag might not carry any weight with the search engines for ranking purposes, but it still appears on a SERP (search engine results page). Take a look at the back end and coding of the website as well. Are the search engine bots allowed to crawl the site? If not, you will have a hard time getting your site ranked! Use SEO software to run a technical SEO audit to make sure that you aren’t guilty of duplicating any content.
Step 3 – Link Building
This is where many clients tend to get impatient. “If links equal trust, shouldn’t we try to get as many as possible?” The truth is that link quality and relevancy is more important when it comes to search engine trust than link quantity. The search engines want to see links grow naturally over time. If you go from 100 inbound links to 1,000 inbound links within a short time frame, something is up. An aggressive approach like that can result in an unnatural link penalty. It’s not worth the risk. Slow and steady wins the SEO game every time.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this process. For example, if your website includes hundreds of pages it can take a very long time to complete the on-site component. If that’s the case, it’s best to do it in pieces and pick out your priority pages first while getting started with link building in tandem.