Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stick With Your SEO Campaign

On a daily basis, clients seek me out to help them understand Search Engine Optimization campaigns - increasing your naturalized placement on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and AOL just to name a few. What I tell them is simple, having a website is the first step to online placement and if you want to increase your naturalized results you have to not only do an initial SEO campaign, but stick with it afterwards.

How do you know if your website is ready for an organic/naturalized SEO campaign:

  1. Is your domain more than 365 days old?
    If yes, great the domain is out of the sandbox and search engines will be more likely to index it.
  2. Is your website graphic heavy?
    If yes, then you may have a problem. Search engines can't read the text embedded in a graphic, only the ALT tag associated with the graphic. If you have a large quantity of graphics on your website, please make sure you have a good amount of content to balance it. Also, consider changing some of the graphics to text - I know you like that special font for your page titles, but it could greatly benefit you in the long run to change it to text.
  3. Is your website mostly flash?
    It has been debated for years, but from my experience websites that are flash heavy typically do not see the organic results standard HTML sites produce.
  4. Keywords are very important.
    Selecting the appropriate keywords for your site and incorporating them into the general readable content on your website can be challenging for small business owners. I once had a client ask me to spam their keywords on the HTML page, which I strongly recommended against. Search Engines are smart, they know when you are spamming particular keywords and phrases. The trick is to incorporate a few keywords on each page to help with the keyword content density on that specific page without spamming.

Tips for running your own SEO campaign:

  1. Social networking is free and easy - Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, Blogger, YouTube.
  2. Rework your website content at least every 6 months, adding a few new sentences and reworking current ones will help.
  3. Create a sitemap for your site and submit to the search engines.
  4. Know your competition and see what keywords and phrases they are using.
  5. Incorporate your keywords throughout your site, try not to spam them.
  6. Look for free directory submission sites, avoid link exchange or paying for link backs.

Additional Domains and Forwards:

Owning additional domain names is great, prevents someone else from buying them, but that’s about all it does because without link backs and original content on each domain they would not be regularly indexed. For optimization and search engine indexing, domains need to be at least a year old and have websites hosted on them, not just forwards. Although the general idea could be the same on all the domains, the content would need to be original on each website so the search engine wouldn’t penalize the site for being a duplicate of another.

Xfactor Designs has done many Search Engine Optimization campaigns over the years and the one thing every campaign has in common is they take a lot of time to implement (3-12 months). If you are thinking about running your own campaign be prepared for many, many hours of research, submissions and follow up. On average each directory submission takes 5 - 10 minutes and you'll need inclusions in at least 100 free directories before you'll start getting link backs. In addition to directories you'll also need to claim your business listing on the search engines, submit social bookmarks and submit articles for inclusion.

Once you finish your initial campaign, you will need to stay on top of your ongoing submissions and tracking. That initial SEO campaign was just the beginning, now you have to work to maintain your placement because new competitors enter the market daily and they want your search engine ranking.