The fact that still a bulk of the audience use the INTERNET primarily to search for information, gives a fair idea about about the prominence of search engines.
I thought it would be good to take a re-look at some of the very general tips on search engine optimization/search engine visibility for businesses. With the advances in Web 2.0 (social apps), the dynamics of search engines have changed a lot but in my opinion, the plain old fact that a lot of your customers are searching for you online, still remains the same. Today, the search engine optimization activity needs to be integrated very tightly with the overall goals of your business.
SEO Definition: SEO aka Search engine optimization is a set of activities which when executed correctly, help your website to rank better for specific keyword queries on search engines.
A broader set of activities are associated with SEO (Planning, Objectives, Strategy, Execution, Metrics), but just to get started, you can break-down an SEO project into smaller parts with further diversification at subsequent stages.
What do I want from SEO
For a lot of people search engine optimization is nothing more than getting into the top ’10’ rankings on Google.This is a classic case, because ‘Rankings’ are just a part of SEO and scaling up can be very hard for a new business during the initial stages. So before jumping on and saying, I want more traffic & higher rankings qualify your goals and try to be as clear as possible.
e.g. of a goal – I want to increase my sales leads through web-traffic. If you’re very specific, further classification would mean I want to increase my sales leads by 20% in the next 4 months.
With this as an input, you can now plan your search engine optimization activities in the appropriate direction.
Inhouse or Outsource
The first thing that you need to ask yourself is that who is going to do it? To answer this, you need to analyze your current situation from a variety of perspectives. How do you think your customers are approaching you & finding you. The cost-centers of any cash-crunched small business will question the investment on SEO outsourcing. So obviously, you need to frame convincing answers on the ROI part. On the other hand, a lot of modern web-developers consider SEO knowledge as a part of their armory. For these cases, the marketing team-members can combine with the techies to get the job done in-house.
Choice of keywords/title-tags/meta-tags
Popular misconception: Let’s randomly copy the keywords of our competitors and we will be home.
Sadly, the above doesn’t work every time 🙂
Keywords identification involves a lot of research as ideally your keywords should be a healthy mix of your industry, services and your niche. If you are in the IT services industry and you want to improve your rankings for the keyword ‘IT company India’ it will obviously take a lot of time. However, if you are offering a niche service for e.g. Django consulting in New Delhi, then achieving high-rankings for a low frequency search term (long tail of keywords) will be much easier.
This is exactly where you need to think thoroughly and frame a strategy which caters to both the scenarios.
A simple Google search would reveal that there are a lot of good tools out there for search engine optimization. Some of them are by Google itself. Like other tools, a bit of tech know-how should be good to get you started.
Here are some of the tools, that I have either tried or read about in detail.
Central place for Web-masters
Google webmaster central tools is a one-stop shop for stuff like traffic analysis, search-queries and indexing issues.
Site submission to Google
If you have a new site & for some reason it is not being crawled by Google you can add it here:
You can also add fresh content from your site to Google
Find broken links your in website
After a big website project, you want test all the links and check if they are working properly. You can do it manually off-course, but the job becomes tedious if your site has a lot of pages. Xenu’s link sleuth is a handy desktop utility to find all the broken links in your website.
Keywords – Search
I think nothing beats Google’s AdWords tool when it comes to getting ideas for new keywords. It also gives you volume estimates for keywords searches.
Keywords – Density
An application by Ranks.nl analyzes the density of keywords currently used in your website. You can just enter your website’s URL and it will show all the results.
Keywords – Ranking
To find your website’s ranking for keywords, there is a very nice rank checker by SEO Centro.
What are your thoughts on search engine optimization? Looking at today’s environment (penetration of social media) do you think it is still as important as it was a few years ago?