SEO is similar to building a structure that will stand the test of time. A successful search engine optimization campaign requires a solid foundation to endure challenges from competitors and changes in search engine algorithms. A campaign that includes the following three key elements will have the foundation for long-term success.
A Well Targeted Keyword Focus
Keyword research is the groundwork for a successful SEO campaign. Doing keyword research in a way that will bring long-term success requires in-depth analysis around all keywords that may be relevant to the products or services of the targeted website. Start with the most general keywords and find long tail keywords relating to each of them, then search for other long tail keywords relating to each of those. This pattern can be repeated many times to find many keyword opportunities. This strategy will also uncover some highly targeted keywords that will convert well and could be fairly easy to rank for. Remember that long tail keywords are often less competitive and typically convert much better. Be sure to search for lateral keywords as well. Lateral keywords are those that have the same meaning as other targeted keywords. So if I am optimizing a website about “aquariums”, I would also want to optimize it for the term “fish tanks."
Strong Page Element Optimization
The optimization of the HTML elements on each page of the website is a critical factor in search engine optimization. Targeted search terms should be included in various places in the HTML code to tell the search engine crawlers what the page is about. The following elements must be optimized to allow for a successful SEO campaign.
Page Title: The page title (title tag) should include the targeted search terms and be a well written sentence that is 64 to 70 characters long. It should not be a string of keywords or one keyword phrase repeated several times. Remember that a good page title will not only be keyword targeted but also will entice a person to click on it in the search results.
Page Headings: The page heading (and subheadings) should be formatted properly using H1, H2 and H3 tags and include the targeted search terms. Cascading Style Sheets can be used to format the heading to fit with the content of the webpage. H1 tags are meant to be used for the main page heading and should only be used more than once on a page where it makes sense. H2, H3 and other header tags can be used for content subheadings and headings to site navigation.
Image Alternate Text: Optimize Alt Attributes of images by including targeted keywords where the keywords have some relevance to the image. Alternate text should tell a website visitor what the image is. When optimized, the alternate text can help with keyword rankings for both the webpage and the image in image searches. Do not make your image Alt Attribute extremely long and keyword stuffed. Alternate text should be brief and relate well to the image.
Link Anchor Text: Site content should include links to other pages of the website that have keywords in the anchor text. Adding two or three keyword links into page content of 150 or more words is ideal. Do not fill the page content full of keyword links. Remember that linking in the content more than once to the same page will not give any additional SEO benefits.
Good Quality Page Content
A website with good quality content will be one step closer to getting top search engine rankings. The search engines are constantly trying to improve the quality of the search results. The one way to be sure to always be relevant when algorithms are updated is to provide content that search engines will consider high quality. That kind of content is not copied from other websites. It is unique and provides value to a site visitor. Writing guides, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, common misconceptions and practical use articles are all great ways to add good content to a website. Keep in mind that having great content will not only give the search engines a good idea of what the website is about but will also give other webmasters a good reason to link to your website.