I assume today everybody is aware that a synonym of the internet is the web. But, do you understand the concept beyond the word?
When you are starting a new SEO strategy you have to think in your strategy as an array of different interrelated actions towards a common goal. Sounds hard? Well it is not!
First, you need to know what goal you want to accomplish with your SEO strategy. Do you want to promote your business? Announce a new line of products or services? You want people to know your brand? This is the central point that will connect all of your actions.
As in nature, in order to grow your spider web you need, well, spiders.
Search Engines, like Bing, Google, Yahoo and others, have robots called spiders who will visit your site in order to index it. Needless to say that your site must be properly coded to feed the spiders the relevant information you want to emphasize.
So far, so good. Your tiny web is starting to pay off: your website has been indexed by the Search Engine spider and some of your content starts to appear in the results. But it’s also possible that you are not appearing in the first result pages when you search for a set of given keywords.
Search Engines display information considering a lot of factors, but there are 4 fundamental pillars to establish, increase and expand your web presence:
- Keywords and how your content relates to them.
- Content available (in your overall website, not per page or article).
- Quality Referrals.
- Inbound traffic.
Other factors that may help, but are definitely not important as the above ones:
- Your actual domain name (you will not appear in the first place of results when somebody search for shoes just because you own shoes.com).
- Having your page listed in millions of —useless/unrelated— referral sites.
- Extended expiration dates for your domain names.
And finally, factors with possible negative impact:
- Bulk mailing lists, try to raise your own mailing lists; being labeled as spam by Search Engines could have a huge negative impact in search results (Search Engines offering free email service will gather information from their users).
- Websites based solely in Adobe Flash. Search Engines receive no content if a site has no HTML content.
- Loading times. The time it takes a user to display a page is known as loading time and having big image, flash, audio or video files make the loading times to skyrocket. Consider the use of images in small resolutions linking to its full size. Avoid at all costs audio/video auto play, unless the main purpose of the page is to display such content —my advice here would be always let the visitor to chose whether to start playing audiovisual elements or not.
Setting up your basic SEO strategy
The more content you generate, the more and better information the Search Engine has from your site. Additionally, when you have more content available you may have more users arriving to your website, which boosts your inbound traffic.
Think about it, let’s say you sell cheese and your brand is only known locally (city level), what page do you think is more likely to appear in first place, myunknowncheese.com which describes your cheese in a static page built with tables and last updated in what it seems to be 1998 or cheesereviewsite.com a site with a traffic of millions of active daily users where you can find comments about your cheese? In this case the referral site has a better ranking in the Search Engine than the actual product/service page.
If you want to start selling products online, build your web around big players like eBay or Amazon. If you have your own shopping cart do not minimize or disregard the use these websites to display a part of your product line; you do not need to put your best products, you may use them as an outlet, liquidation or promotional store. Think about the internet exposure and how this could bring more inbound traffic.
Consider the use of social media tools (like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google+, to mention a few) also helps you increase your Quality Referral links and, once again, it increments your exposure. Carefully select the social media where you would like to interact, having outdated or unattended profiles in social media services may generate a negative impact in your brand name/image.
If you are featured by local or national newspapers or review sites, always ask for your website to be included. It is a shame to see restaurants —or business in general— with great reviews in high-impact referral websites like yelp.com or foursquare.net or in national newspapers with no link to their website, if they have any (true story, my favorite Chinese food restaurant does not even have a website).
Once you have all of your pillars well established and a constant flow of content production, your website should start experiencing increases in the level of visits and, eventually, sales. Always keep present that if you do not want to pay, any change in your SEO strategy could take between 2 to 3 months to be reflected.
And remember: If you don’t find something in Google, it’s probably because it didn’t exist… yet.