White Paper

SEO Top 10 Tips – Does anyone really have a clue?

by: Sheri Blaho

For a sales and marketing professional that does not specialize in Search Engine Optimization, I find this topic overwhelming, sometimes intimidating, and frustrating. Every “specialist” I speak with has their own “silver bullet(s)” for the solution. I have spent hours in discussions and meetings with SEO firms, web developers, Pay-Per-Click experts, social media gurus and marketing sages trying to sift through the varied and sometimes complex advice.

I have been told by all my trusted advisors that the search engine algorithms for placement is top secret and changes constantly. And it is nearly impossible to determine what the next “black hat” behavior will be….but you better NOT be doing that black hat activity or you will get a “ticket” from the search engine police and your web site will be punished accordingly.

I was recently asked to participate on a panel discussion at a business conference for ITA regarding SEO. In preparation for this event, I booked lunches with my Pay-Per-Click vendor, my web master and my social media expert to confirm what I thought each was doing for me. I next decided that I would do some independent research to see what the latest information was according to the Web. What I found was very surprising. When I typed in “search engine optimization tips” I had expected that all the SEO firms would each have their white papers at the top of this list, but not so.

Of course we started off with three paid ads for SEO firms. The three paid ads were spot on, if I were ready to engage a firm, but none of them had a whitepaper or web page on their site with SEO tips.

The first organic listing was a 2010 article with 10 SEO tips from a non-SEO general business site. Second was an article with 21 essential tips dated 2011 by a SEO company. I wasn’t feeling very confident about the value of tips that were that old, know the algorithm changes constantly. The third listing was 10 tips from 2013, again from a non-SEO general business site. Fourth was a site with 8 essential tips by an SEO firm from December 2013. Finally, information was within the year.

The fifth listing posted was within the last three days. Eureka! However, Google had them way down the list and “below the fold.” Not great placement, but at least “Page One” placement. However, it was an article promoting Google+ and its use. How did this show up in my search request? Not really about SEO. It seems Google is slipping in a bit of self-serving information for themselves. Sixth place was a PDF starter guide from Google that was very fundamental, and not dated? What is up with that Google?

The seventh listing was a 2008 article. Eighth place was a 2013 article with what I felt had the most relevant content and was from an SEO firm. The remaining listings on page one included Wikipedia which is always a hoot to read, and finally a hit from web site for a SEO company that wanted to give me a tutorial.

I found this entire exercise quite interesting. SEO firms, the so-called experts in organic listings, were not dominating a search in their own industry! The very place where their potential next client is lingering and they are not there!

My conclusion based on this and dozens of Google searches each week: No one, not even the firms that claim to be serving up “first page rankings” are as successful as they would like to be. The Top Secret Algorithm, must really be top secret. And, I do not feel any less qualified to share my Top Tips (Opinions) on this subject.

First, you must get them there. This is what most discussions and articles focus on. But if they land on your site and bounce off because the site is not relevant to their search, is hard to navigate or is lacking content, you will get a “negative” check mark from the search engines for disappointing their customers. So my first five tips focus on content.

  • 1. Content – Information Rich Site with relevant data about your product or offering
  • 2. Content – Your site should establish you the authority in your industry
  • 3. Content – The content should fresh and updated regularly always utilizing appropriate keywords
  • 4. Content - “Showcase Coverage” to allow continual update to your site with current information (press releases, white papers, etc)
  • 5. Content - Have an active Blog to build credibility
  • 6. Understand Key Words in your industry and how to use them on your site
  • 7. A quick responding web site that will hold your audience with a good user experience
  • 8. Optimize your images by using keywords in the titles
  • 9. Videos are a must and also need to be optimized with keywords.
  • 10. Drive traffic to your site with social media to build credibility. Depending on the industry, your options include, but are not limited to: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.

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