To kick-off the new year in style, we would like to share a few useful and practical SEO tips for 2011. Each keyword should be carefully considered as a business investment, not just from a viewpoint of a trophy phrase or ranking conquest to quell your competition.
Acquiring a raking for a lucrative keyword in the top 5 results in a search engine requires time, energy and effort which is either (a) time you invest or (b) pay others to execute. Much like search engine marketing, you have to know the value of the visitor, what profits you can yield from conversion and whether or not you have the budget, time or energy to compete in that arena.
While it is better to build your website with the SEO ranking objective in mind, this is not always practical; as many business owners learn about SEO after they start their businesses and the website is already built.
Starting with the Right CMS
There are alternatives to using dated websites or platform by building a new segment and using a sub domain or sub folder as a proxy to augment existing pages. We use this technique often when the legacy site has less than favorable dynamics (such as the inability to control page output/templates, meta data, navigation or internal links). You can read more about creating a hybrid CMS to augment rankings by following the link.
The difference between a well optimized website or “a broken wagon” of a website “incapable of being indexed or ranked” often is a side effect of having a few critical features or on page options.
As hinted above, the wish list for an optimal site includes:
- The ability to customize the title and meta data of EACH page
- The ability to change the URL structure / output for the page URL slug
- The ability to suppress specific server side includes, footers, sidebar or navigation
- The ability to add content in a strategic, orderly fashion segmented by tiers of relevance
- The ability to create themed internal links to pass ranking factor and prominence from supporting to primary landing pages.
Ironically, all of these things can be accomplished in a few minutes using WordPress and SEO Ultimate. The only consideration for initiating a keyword conquest is (1) can I afford the time (2) can I spend the money on supporting content, site revisions and links and (3) what is the ROI for that keyword for my business.
Thinking Beyond Rankings
Aside from that, SEO is just technique and timing. What happens next is the site either reaches page 1, requires more fine tuning (to other on page or off page elements) or takes longer than expected (due to vacillations in search algorithms, lack of trust or authority or a friendly battle or two with competitors (who are also trying to reach the same precipice for that keyword).
Regardless of your budget or the amount of time required, you need to have a conversion objective fr each page before you even target a keyword or phrase. You should NOT be thinking of SEO if you have no idea which actions are critical for conversions on your website.
What are some common conversion goals?
- Selling a product or service directly
- Filling out a contact form (potential lead gen revenue)
- Picking up the phone (to close a sale)
- Subscribing to a newsletter, RSS feed (to enter them into your list so you can drip on prospects over time with offers, links or related products or services)
- Sending that visitor to another website (via affiliate links or paid ads)
Regardless of why or what you are going to do with that traffic, SEO is merely one means (a very cost effective means) to reach more targeted users online.
The Investment ROI Factor
Before embarking haphazardly for a campaign, you need to know which keywords buyers use vs. browsers so you can continually scale and conquer keywords higher in the “traffic and popularity food chain” to yield higher profits. This is where most fail, they either underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done or they underestimate the greed of others as they contend for competitive keywords.
A properly leveraged keyword with the right sales funnel could mean tens of thousands of dollars to a business. Also, keep in mind that conversion and rankings should go hand in hand. So, sending traffic to a weak offer or optimizing a keyword that is not properly mapped out from a time/ROI perspective, means you can’t measure its effectiveness, advantages or weaknesses.
You should also understand the depth of the task ahead of you when you target a keyword – some take weeks, others can take months or even years. If your ROI is attached to a competitive keyword, you may spend as much to get there (or maintain that position) as you net from the profits of being there.
The idea is to target keywords within your reach that you can test, test and refine conversions, as you scale and acquire more related keywords with more search volume and semantic variations.
Until you know what type of conversions those keywords can facilitate, there is no need to try to target multiple keywords, think more about targeting the right flavor of keywords.
If you knew:
1. How long a keyword would take to get ranked
2. How many supporting pages (or internal links) are required
3. How many links you need from other sources
4. The price of those links, articles and the conversion rate once someone took action
I suggest you sincerely:
- Understand your market
- The competition swimming in it
- The best prospects for conversion
- Your costs for reaching those prospects
- Your conversion rates
- The amount of time it takes to reach your goals
If you can look at each keyword (and whether to rank for it or not) as a business decision and have hard facts to support a campaign in addition to just throwing money at it “to see what sticks” – then you can build profitable revenue streams indefinitely as a byproduct of market analysis, planning and execution using semantically themed websites, content, offers and links to reach your goals.