Now you have learned a lot about what actually SEO is and how it works. You have also learned about the various terminologies associated with SEO and their in-depth concepts too. You have also learned about On-page and Off-page optimization and various techniques and concepts associated with them. In the previous article, we went deeper into learning about Domain and Page Popularity the importance it holds in Off-page SEO.
But now it’s time to jump into the field and take the weapon in your hands and fight against all odds to reach the top of the search engine results page. This and the next article will be an in-depth and ultimate guide for you to beat the immense competition and reach the top spot of Google and Bing. But a guide or a tutorial can never be an assurance or a guarantee that will get you in the top of the SERPs.
These are some of the best practices that you can follow to optimize your site much better for the search engines. Or you can consider these to be some general guidelines that walk very closely with optimizing any webpage in the most authentic way.
Research and Choose the Right Keywords
(Image Source: wordstream.com)
Keywords are the first and the foremost thing you need to focus on, while optimizing your site. You obviously know what your site or product is all about, so it’s time for you to research well and find out the right keywords that people are actually using to find your website or product. You primary target would be to find some keywords having high search volume (more people looking for your site) yet low competition (least number of competitors fighting for that particular keyword).
But getting keywords which meets both of these criteria can be really challenging as it is quite obvious that the keywords which have a high search volume should have already attracted the eyes of your competitors too. So competition should be very high for keywords which have a huge volume of searches every month and should be less for the ones which have very few searches.
So, basically you can have two strategies in your mind to implement:
Strategy 1: You can target the high search volume keywords where the competition is very high. Obviously it will take a huge amount of time and effort of yours to get you to the top of the search results for such keywords.
But if you can manage to reach there, then you are surely going to have a jackpot and enjoy tremendous traffic reaching your site, but if not then surely you are going to lose all the time, money and effort that you had invested in it. The risk factor is obviously very high if you choose to go with this strategy.
Strategy 2: You also have an alternative of choosing keywords which will have a low search volume and therefore very low level of competition. It will be much easier for you to rank those keywords at the top of the SERPS and that also in a very short span of time.
But the amount of traffic that you will get will be quite less and you will need to choose several keywords to get a significant amount of traffic.
Personally, I would say that both the strategies are equally important and effective in their own ways. If you are starting a new project, then you should choose the second strategy first and then may or may not shift to the first strategy. The second strategy is obviously a very risk free and safer choice to start with.
(Image Source: onsecurities.com)
Suppose, you are a businessman and want to make a profit of $10,000 every month, then you can have two possible choices, either spend the entire time, money and effort in a single business and earn the entire profit from it or to divide the effort, time and money in 10 different small businesses and earn $1,000 from each of them. But the total profit remains same in both the cases.
Personally, I consider the second choice is much better and safer than the first one. If you are earning from 10 different sources, then your risk gets divided so even if one or two of your business falls, it won’t hurt you much.
Now let us take the example of what your keywords should actually look like. Suppose you have a company on “web designing”, then you can have keywords like “cheap web design service”, “affordable web designing company”, “best web design service” etc. Now suppose the keyword “cheap web design service” have a very high search volume of 1,000,000 searches every month, but the competition is very high and can take you more than 6 months to rank.
But a slightly different variant “affordable web design” having around 40,000 searches is much less competitive and can be ranked within 2 months. So, it is obviously a better choice to target the slightly different variant and later give the higher ones a shot (when your authority increases considerably).
Analyzing the Competition and Setting up a Game Plan
Before moving any further, it is very essential for us to analyze the present competition we have. You need to know who you need to fight with, before going into the actual battlefield. It is very difficult to predict our future competition, but we can easily make ourselves aware of our current competitors and how tough the competition is.
In marketing it is very important to analyze the competition first and then set up a proper game plan accordingly. You need to know who your competitors are and analyze their backlink profile carefully. See how they have built their backlinks, which sites have they acquired links from, how they are varying the anchor text of their links, their link building velocity and much more. Apart from the direct SEO factors, also try to analyze some of their other marketing strategies too, like the frequency with which they publish new content or product, staff members they have got, etc. And the key here is to stay one step ahead of your competition always.
After you have analyzed and understood about your present competition, you need to set up a proper strategy or game plan in accordance to that. The primary things which should be under your consideration are:
1) How many links does your competitors have and how many should you gain to beat them? Remember that the key here is to focus on the quality of links and not on quantity. You certainly can’t beat your competitors by simply acquiring more number of links than theirs.
Yes, “quantity” obviously matters, but it can never overpower the importance of “quality”. You can beat 100+ low-quality links with just 1-2 powerful and authoritative ones.
2) How natural their backlink profile is and how should you gain links to make your profile even more natural? You should have a proper mix of links from both high and low authority sites. Typically you should have a much larger number of low authority links than high authority ones to make your backlink profile seem more natural.
People generally make the mistake of only focusing on high authority links and completely forgetting about the low authority ones, while the real world scenario can be a lot different where you will have a much larger number of low authority links than the high authority ones.
3) How should you build the anchor text profile of your site so as to make it more effective and natural than your competitors? The idea here is to have a proper mix of the exact match, partial match and other generic anchor texts like click here, download now, visit this site, etc.
Never make the greedy mistake of focusing only on the exact match anchor texts and completely neglecting the partial match anchors and the generic ones. In the real world, it is very unlikely that each and every one will link to you with the exact keywords that you want to rank for, and doing something like this can trigger red flags for the search engines.
4) What should be the time span of your active campaign? If you want to complete the campaign within 2 months then you should divide the number of links you need to gain each week, so as to make things look natural in the eyes of the search engines.
It may trigger unnatural signals for the search engines, if there is no consistency in your link velocity. So you need to uniformly divide the entire job throughout the entire campaign, but you also have the full freedom of breaking the rules here and there to make things even more natural.
So, these are the most basic yet the most important things that you need to consider before starting your first SEO campaign. In the next article, we will be focusing on what types of links you actually need to acquire to improve the authority and popularity of your domain in the eyes of the search engines.
Not only that, we would also focus on some other extremely important aspects of off-page SEO in detail in the very next article. It is going to be full of information and resources, and you certainly cannot afford to miss it.