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There can be many confusing intricacies to the science of search engine optimization, but most people get tripped up on the basics, before they even get to the complex stuff! In working with many entrepreneurial and small business clients, I’ve come to see a few common trends in the way that people look at SEO and why they are often not getting the results they want.
1) Forget sex, specificity sells!
Lack of clarity about your business offerings and target market will lead to lack of clarity in your search marketing efforts and you will either attract clients that aren’t a good fit, or you will have trouble converting your web traffic. Your search engine strategy should be based on a clear picture of who your ideal client is and exactly what you can do for them. Then make sure that you are effectively communicating that on your website.
2) Are you in alignment?
Don’t try and target every keyword on every page – create specific pages or groups of pages for specific keyword groups and for each service/product you provide. Make sure your pages are in alignment: the main elements –title, url, content, headings etc. -should all reflect the target keyword for that page.
3) The way you search may not be the way your prospect searches
There may be specific ‘insider’ terms related to your business which you know about and take for granted because you’re an expert. But a prospect may not yet know those words –how else may they be looking for your service? Doing your keyword research may reveal alternate and more popular ways that people think and search for your service/product, so be prepared to adapt your language where necessary.
4) Quality not quantity – conversions are the real point
It’s not just about the amount of traffic that you get, but how qualified it is. You’ll build a more viable business based on very targeted traffic rather than trying to only get huge numbers. So make sure you’re targeting ‘long tail’ phrases that may have a smaller search volume but deliver very specific traffic.
5) Don’t just think about how well your website performs, but how are your individual pages performing
Your homepage is not always the most relevant or effective place that visitors can enter your site. By looking at your Google Analytics reports you will be able to see if visitors are landing at the most appropriate page for their search. Make sure your most popular pages have a clear call to action or next step?
6) On-site optimization is only half the battle!
To really perform well in the search engines (especially if you have a lot of competition), you must get your content out there and build quality links back to it. There’s always something else you can be doing to find a new audience for your information such as networking with bloggers in your field and getting your content exposure on other websites.