Optimizing your portal in 6 steps
The approach towards search engine optimization has changed quite a bit over the last year. The emphasis on quality has become very critical with pure focus on quantity taking a beating. With surveys indicating that search-based marketing has become a key channel, businesses have been focusing on optimizing their sites. The way people go about optimizing their sites has gone into a tail spin with too much focus on link building and keyword action. But with latest updates of the search engine algorithms over the last year this has become more a bane than a boon. So here we discuss an approach that can be taken with regards to on-page search engine optimization activity.
Step 1: Defining target segment and their needs
This is the most critical step as it determines the approach for your entire exercise. Who is it? What does he look for? How does your product/ service satisfy that need?
Step 2: Keyword Identification
While you use to finalize keywords numbers tools throw at you, such as high search volume – global or country specific, which you may chose based on who and where your target customer are and competition scores, what needs to be kept in mind is certain factors you need to use (mentioned below) to choose the list of keywords that you finally check numbers for.
The first kind : The product or service is an obvious inclusion.
The second kind : Most times the critical element ignored is putting yourself in the potential customer’s shoe and determining what he may be searching for. For eg. A person looking for a particular drug may not search by the name but would be looking for “drugs for headache” or “pain killers”. So inclusion of words that point towards how your product/service would help you customer needs to be included.
The third kind: Use lingo that your target customer’s are likely to use. This is all the more critical when you operate in the B2B space.
A combination of high search volume and low to medium competition score is ideal.
Step 3: Competitor
Look at both your business competitors and what your search-based competitors have done. Search based competitors are those results that are thrown above you when you search using keywords you have short-listed. It is not advisable to do a rip off of that but it can be used as guidelines in making modifications in your meta data- keywords, description, title.
Step 4: Gaps and Opportunities
Gaps: Are areas where there is content on the site for a term, but the referral volume is very low or none – people landing on your page looking for that content is low or none.
Opportunities : Are areas where there is significant search volume for something relevant to your target markets and what you are offering, but there is no content on the site to attract those searchers. Eg. If you are a HR consulting firm and you identify that there is a big search volume for payroll processing but there is no or very weak content on your site in this area that could attract lot of traffic.
Step 5: Weaving it all together
Coming back to a point discussed in the opening paragraph – Quality is the king and not quantity.
Create content based on the gaps and opportunities that are reflected from the exercise performed above – remove content that is not consumed and add content in areas you operate and search volumes are high. Use keywords in the content and ensure you do not stuff your page with irrelevant high ranked keywords. Ensure the words used in your meta tags (Title, Keywords and Description) have relevance to the particular page.
Step 6: Links
Provide links between relevant pages on your site to help your audience find information with ease and so that they do not bounce out of your site looking for information which you may have. Ensure your URLs are structured in a meaningful way reflecting what is there on the page. Check for spell errors and broken links and remove them.
Thus to sum up: Quality of content, Relevance to what you do and and providing a good experience to your audience is the key in winning over the search engines. Happy optimization.