- Category: July 2012 - Search Marketing & Analytics
There are over 200 separate factors which are used by search engines to determine rankings. SEO, if done correctly, can help to improve Google ranking and drive up targeted traffic. But to get top 10 ranking in Google’s organic search results (SERP) involves a lot of hard work, covering both on-page SEO and off-page optimization, in parallel with brand and social media promotion.
The level of difficulty even significantly increased since keyword choices in the sector are restrictive and highly competitive, especially since keywords are already successfully targeted by many highly trusted and established online brands.
Steve Larkin from KSL Consulting offers advanced tips on how to improve SEO ranking and Google PageRank for any website, which I would like to present in the following.
On-Page Search Engine Optimization Strategy
KSL Consulting's advanced on-page search engine optimization techniques include:
1. A Check of Search Engine Accessibility - For existing websites, it is sensible to check website navigation for search engine accessibility to ensure all content can be found and indexed by search engines;
2. Detailed Keyword Research - Detailed keyword analysis for your target market is needed, targeting the specific keyword combinations buyers search for. Overall keyword competition, search volumes and relevance are all assessed as part of this exercise;
3. Advanced SEO Copywriting - The best method to improve Google visibility of existing pages is to undertake careful SEO of website content, taking care not to detract from overall readability. Search engines like Google and Yahoo assess the meaning and relevance of any web page for any given topic by analyzing a combination of different factors, including the page's semantic HTML Mark-up and keyword deployment, by making use of a complex process called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).
- Important on-page attributes which can help to improve Google ranking include the Page Title, H1, H2 and H3 headings and Image ALT tags as well as the mix of relevant keywords used.
- For semantic copywriting it is better to use a range of relevant keywords on a page than to excessively repeat the same keyword, as the search engine sees more content depth and is able to extract more meaning from the page.
- The objective of any SEO copywriting exercise should be to apply semantic markup and cover a broad spread of targeted keywords relevant to all aspects of the topic, hence improving the semantic meaning and relevance of the page, leading to better search engine ranking.
4. Adding Content Value and Originality - Preparation of high quality, original content focused on key topics related to your area/s of expertise, aimed specifically at your target audience. Each page should add unique value with no two pages containing a similar message or optimized for the same topic and keywords. Content should be made as "link-worthy" as possible.
5. Optimizing Title and Meta Description Tags - Careful optimization of individual Page Titles, Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords tags is needed.
6. Re-Structuring Website Content - Create a sensible page hierarchy in your website content with an internal navigation that allows visitors to find important pages quickly and easily. This can help to improve Google visibility by making pages on key products and services more focused and prominent.
Off-Page Search Engine Optimization Strategy
The Google ranking algorithm applies significant importance to the number and quality of inbound links (also known as back-links or 'in-links') that a particular website acquires from other reputable sites on the web. Google holds link data for all domains including the anchor text used in each link, which helps to determine the overall site theme and the keyword relevance of individual pages.
Search engines like Google treat backlinks, which pass their increasingly stringent link quality checks, as 'votes' for a particular page, making inbound links one of the best ways to improve SEO rankings.
This is one reason why Google tends to favor older, more established domains as these will typically have acquired more backlinks from authority websites, improving Google ranking through trust.
A new website (less than 9 months online) will often experience poor Google ranking due to the fact that it has acquired few "votes" from other sites in the form of inbound links. For this reason, search engine marketing strategies for new websites should include social media marketing and managed AdWords PPC campaigns to increase targeted website traffic and encourage natural links.
Advanced Link Building Tips
With so many Black Hat SEO companies offering "link building packages" of 100 or 1000 links for a small outlay, it is not surprising that Google has developed anti-spam measures in its advanced algorithm which discount low quality spam links and reduce the ranking of sites which have an unnatural link profile.
Google determines link value through in-depth analysis of a number of factors including:
1. Page and Domain Authority - Links from established sites, relevant to theme, will have more value when it comes to improving Google ranking. Tools like the free SEOMoz Toolbar can help a webmaster determine the authority of any domain (DA) and page (PA) when searching for high quality link opportunities;
2. Link placement - Contextual links, which appear natural and are embedded into page content, are likely to improve Google visibility more than links which appear "paid" through being placed in the page footer or in an advertisement or 'sponsors box';
3. Reciprocal Links - Reciprocated links now carry significantly less value. Reciprocal linking is in fact becoming largely pointless and if done in excess can trigger a Google penalty;
4. Artificial Link Networks - Google attempts to identify link networks aimed at artificially raising Google ranking. Sites which utilize such Black-Hat SEO techniques may be banned from the Google indexed or be slapped with a Google Penalty;
5. Domain Ownership - Links from other sites, which you own or manage, will be discounted in value;
6. Same IP Links - Links from other websites, hosted on the same web server (IP Address), will be discounted;
7. Link Relevance - Links from sites of related theme are likely to carry more weight to increase SEO rankings;
8. Google Search Ranking - Links from popular content-rich pages, which rank well in the search results for related topics, are likely to raise Google ranking more than links on content devoid pages like 'resource pages' and directories. As an added bonus, pages with top Google rankings will often provide more referral traffic as well as having more SEO benefit;
9. Google Page Rank - The Google PageRank of the linking web page is an indicator of its link strength, but not necessarily its ranking performance;
10. Number of Outbound Links - The value of any link is influenced by the number of other outbound links on the page providing the link. The greater the number of links present, the lower the SEO value. Links from 'link farms' should be avoided
Fight poor SEO techniques
Poor SEO techniques, used in off-site optimization can negatively affect website ranking and even cause a Google penalty. Google is committed to prevent manipulation of its organic search results and uses complex checks to spot artificial attempts to improve Google ranking and SERP positioning. Over-optimization is particularly dangerous as there is a tendency in link building to repeat the same anchor text usage time and time again and to source links from low quality sites which may have been identified as spam link networks. Acquiring large quantities of these types of links can reduce website rankings.
So, feel free to take a look at KSL Consulting’s Introduction to SEO and Search Engine Marketing (PDF) that covers 'white hat' SEO techniques and website promotion tips. For more experienced readers, KSL offers advanced SEO techniques to improve Google ranking and website visibility on their Google SEO advice page.