On one hand, there is competition with varying degrees of concern for risk vs. reward. On the other, if your website approaches an aggressive ranking environment like Dudley Do Right, then you may find yourself on page 11 and slipping fast.
So what is the happy medium and how does a website (a) point the relevance model in the right direction? (b) cultivate continuity within the site using on page SEO? and (c) find a natural rate of evolution for the off page synergy and promotion needed to develop authority?
Secondly, how do you?
a) Harvest relevance through new or existing content and gain trust in the process?
b) Strengthen internal linking and optimize an array of select /preferred landing pages to act as consolidated points of relevance as a beacon.
c) Blend time, relevance and promotion while steering clear of algorithmic penalties while cementing an array of rankings for keywords with a higher tendency for conversion.
All of these components of the SEO process are crucial to any long-term organic SEO campaign; which means they must work holistically in order to be impervious to devolution.
In order to gain traction for specific keywords, they must be present within your website.
Although this metric was easily overlooked in the past as a result of link weight (strong inbound links from other sites). Now, search engines are more diligent in their assessments of relevance and require a higher quantity and caliber of content or definitive authority to elevate a page for competitive keywords.
Although, this is the most tried and true format (building content, relevance and links over time), the notion of targeting low hanging fruit (keywords within reach) is out of the question for the most ambitious webmasters, the reality is, “everyone starts somewhere”. For example, even Google, who now dominates the search arena and multiple arenas online, simply started as one website in the no so distant past.
The point here is, relevance can’t be faked in the long-run, people either visit your website and the traffic converts (since you are offering them something valuable) or your website lacks the necessary ingredients for engagement and / or conversion.
In the past, loading up a splash page with a disproportionate number of links may have tricked search engines to gain a high ranking position (like a doorway page or a website with 30 pages and 1,500 links to each page).
Now, that tactic would be deemed unnatural, so, as an alternative you need to ethically create content worth engaging.
Steps involved include:
Keyword Research: Determining which keywords are ideal for conversion and which keyword modifiers are emotionally charged with intent.
Content Creation: After identifying the keywords adding relevant content to (1) existing pages or (2) new pages such as through a blog, shopping cart or other content management system.
Selective Off-Page Promotion: Determining which keywords have reached a plateau are imperative for managing the evolution of rankings. Managing the amount of internal link flow a page receives from the total available ranking factors within a site internally as well as matching that with a referential tactic for reinforcing relevance through a facet of peer review is imperative.
Deep Linking to Promote Authority: Deep links (links from other sites specifically to a page with specific anchor text) is one way to expedite the ranking process. However, this also must be managed cyclically and holistically to avoid penalization from exceeding a natural link velocity.
Tracking and Analytics: Just like if you were lost, you wouldn’t just keep walking randomly in hopes of reaching a destination. Key performance indicators need to exist to create contrast for your overall campaign.
Tracking through server logs (a history of all traffic reaching your website), installed analytics (such as Google Analytics, Omniture, Crazy Egg, etc.) can help you find your way and extract actionable intelligence, once conversion goals are established.
After setting the stage, creating the content (say for example 300 new pages all based on nodes of the keywords that encompass the niche) you are ready to go back to the source (your own websites infrastructure) and leverage the vast layers of relevance they represent.
To do this, you need to “think like Wikipedia” and look for opportunities to link keywords across multiple pages, which can then be consolidated to a preferred / target / landing page.
For example, 50 pages of content (which feature KEYWORD A) are now harvested (if you tracked the process of content creation) and linked to (a) a sitemap (b) a hub page or (c) a target page.
A hub page is like a page in your site that has a capped number of outbound links, but is well connected through (1) site navigation and (2) internal links from other supporting pages.
Site wide or footer links (links across the entire website) worked well in the past, but search engines have a tendency to penalize or ignore duplicity due to filters (so, you are better off linking relevant pages or keywords to one specific location with consistency).
As a result, that consistency transcends the mere happenstance of the page it exists on and elevates relevance on a global level in context to your website.
In other words, search engines view your website as a repository using term weights to extract characteristics of relevance for those terms as they appear in a search query.
Depending on the continuity of your content, the age of the pages, the links that augment them both on page and off page, determines the degree of trust and authority your pages carry in the search engine result pages.
By realizing that search engines parse the boundaries of mere page level relevance weights, you can approach rankings from the perspective of a theming or using multiple keywords from a series of related or overlapping semantic nodes to create co-occurrence to naturally reinforce itself and devour all related queries.
The algorithm that deems a page a resource / destination for potential visitors in search engines essentially views your entire website like “a bag of words” reinforced by relationships involving ratios of contrast, concentration and buoyancy. Depending on how that buoyancy is structured (through internal links and deep links) determines which pages rank specifically for what terms.
The takeaway for Phase II, is to (1) use internal links where applicable (2) create sufficient amounts of content to meet or exceed the threshold / tipping point established by competitors and (3) stay ahead of the bell curve by harvesting old content for new opportunities (through links, 301 redirects or consolidating hub pages).
Although many of the dated methods are played out “like directories” which are often viewed as link farms to search engines (like the pot calling the kettle black), new methods for syndication are needed to (a) reach perspective viewers and (b) build a reputable link profile that can sustain algorithmic or the scrutiny of manual review.
A few suggestions are:
- Creating a series of RSS feeds
- Leveraging international SEO opportunities (they have social media sites, feed aggregators and just as many means to promote websites as your home country).
- Using Affiliates to drive traffic (Affiliate SEO programs) translate are the perfect marriage of relevance and promotion for a struggling website and can be a tremendous source for delivering targeted visitors to a site lacking conversions.
- Social Media and social media marketing (if Dell can sell millions of dollars in computers from leveraging social media sites such as Twitter, then you can too if you understand the art of the deal and value propositions).
- Article marketing still works if not abused and can provide an array of IP diversity to less competitive keywords through using the author’s box to build an array of long-tail keywords to specific pages in your website via deep links.
Naturally, we have to keep the best SEO techniques for ourselves, but I hope this has provided an introduction to the SEO process and at least whetted your appetite for the various degrees of implementation required to (a) acquire a competitive array of keywords across multiple thresholds and (b) leverage conversion from that traffic.
Search engine optimization is never a one and done scenario, much like a plant, it must be cultivated, pruned, nurtured and tended to until the results can be harvested and measured.
Websites do not optimize themselves, although if built properly from the level of the content management system as a proxy, based on solid SEO principles (like SEO Ultimate) you can cut the time on deliverables significantly.
You still have to do the work, conduct the research, track the results, refine the offers and keep abreast of any areas that fail to stay in phase with concurrent objectives. Sniffing out the weak links and augmenting areas that need (a) further refinement or (b) an injection of relevance or popularity is merely part of the process.
SEO as a process is cyclical and based on momentum, relevance and exposure. By managing these three critical components virtually no keyword is unattainable.
Keep in mind, rankings are merely a matter of (1) budget (2) resources (3) tact and (4) time to cross the thresholds set by (a) algorithms (b) competition or (c) the waning or waxing degree of consumer engagement that determines which keywords, markets or niches to target or ignore as tangible objectives.