Your SEO menu – from conventional to inventive
Think of SEO as the very picky head chef of the Internet. Whether human visitors or bots, SEO dishes up the best of the best – it’s as much about the presentation of the meal as it is about the taste. Not using SEO is like throwing a $75 steak on a Corelle dish and slapping a side of grocery store coleslaw alongside it.
Implement SEO into your site’s infrastructure, a little at a time or diving in wholesale, and visitors to your site will chow down your content (rather than your competition’s), stuff themselves on your products and return again and again.
Ready to belly up to the SEO buffet?
Tip #1 ~ Listen to what your customers are ordering
Think of your SEO strategy as a menu built by search engines who are listening very closely to their customers. Internet searchers tell search engines what they’re looking and the engines do their best to deliver up the tastiest treats. A user’s reaction to what’s served is how content is filtered and sorted for future searchers.
A good example is the use of the words “holiday” and “vacation” between Canadians and Americans. When a Canadian books a trip to the Caribbean, we’ll say we’re taking a holiday (an American would likely say vacation). We can understand each other because we’re human. But if you’re trying to rank for Caribbean vacations to American visitors, your content becomes backwash to the search engines.
Tip #2 ~ Get a good sous chef
Once you’ve figured out which keywords are important, it’s all about assembling and timing – to search engines and users. Depending on the size of your site and the type of industry you’re in, you may have very different keyword strategies for every page. I once helped map keywords to a site that was 925,000 pages – there were a lot of sous chefs working in the back kitchen.
Build a site map and critically looking at the content of every page. From there, pick keywords that you know are relevant (from your research) as well as good descriptors of your on-page copy.
Tip #3 ~ Garnish your dishes
Knowing where to put those keywords in your on-page copy and your backend meta data can mean the difference between a beautifully presented site and one that doesn’t earn a repeat visit. Search engines are lazy exacting when it comes to keywords, but your visitors are no different.
The average Internet searcher consumes 7 words before deciding if it’s worth sticking around at your site, which is considerably more bites than you’d give that steak if it wasn’t what you ordered. Know where to put your keywords so they’re devoured by search engines and users.
Tip #4 ~ Ask for feedback
Even the most ego-engorged Cordon Bleu chef knows that to be successful, his guests actually have to like what he’s serving. Considering how lazy discerning Internet visitors are today, you need to continually measure your efforts. Start by adding tracking software like Google Analytics on the backend of your site – but don’t stop there.
Competitive research will show you what your competition is doing and where you can slip in and each their lunch, so to speak. You can also just ask your customers. Do they like your website? Do they find it easy to navigate? What could you do to improve it?
Tip #5 ~ Don’t forget dessert!
Ever notice that dessert is spelled with two s’s. Might because dessert’s supposed to be fun and indulgent. Topping off your SEO efforts with keyword anchoring is the proverbial cherry. If you’re going to make an ending happy, you might as well make it gloriously happy.
Think carefully about internal and external links and the keywords you use to anchor them to your pages. Adobe still ranks best for “Click here” so don’t bother competing with them – you won’t win anyway.