3 SEO Tips for the Ages

VengresoContent for Sales 3 SEO Tips for the Ages

3 SEO Tips for the Ages

SEO has evolved since the mid 1990s from a cookie cutter method (pre-Google) to a set of best practices that are anything but simple. Many companies still get SEO wrong even when they think they’re doing it right. Often, a webmaster informs the IT Director, who informs the Marketing Manager and the CEO that the website “has been SEO’d.” Even the verb tense is wrong. It implies that search engine optimization is a one time process like upgrading a copy machine. Nothing is further from reality!

SEO is a Marathon

SEO is anything but a one time process. I liken it to training for and running a marathon.  If you’re serious about running in a marathon, you better start training at least six months before the race. After the marathon event, unless you have no plan to ever run another marathon, you must continue to train. As long as you are a marathoner you’re always in training – ALWAYS. SEO is the same. It’s like every other aspect of business that needs ongoing care and feeding. Sure, you go through different phases of an SEO plan, but it’s never done. If you believe that, you’ll make your competitors very happy.

Simplifying the Mystique of SEO

While SEO has certainly evolved over the years, I seek to boil it down to three key points.

Site Architecture

Your website must be friendly to search engines. It starts with the code that lives behind the front end which humans see at www.yourcompany.com. For non-techies think of website code as the plumbing, wiring and brick or wood structure of a house. While, the human eye sees furniture and decorated walls, without a solid infrastructure a house is not functional.

A website’s code should be “lean” which is the opposite of bloated. When a website has a bloated CSS or long scripts, the content on your website simply gets lost in the eyes of search engines. Literally, the search engines have difficulty finding your content because it’s so buried in a bloated code environment. The solution is to have a web developer clean up the code by consolidating it (optimizing) so that the content is easier for search engines to find and index it in their search engine (database).

Another important aspect of site architecture is the meta data. This is the data that speaks to the search engines about each web page. The title tag is very important because it identifies the central theme of the page. It’s also the title which is displayed in a search engine listing. The description tag is also important because it’s the snippet or summary of the page in the search engine listing. A well written title tag and description tag can make or break click throughs from your listings in a search engine.

Keyword Strategy

Developing a keyword strategy is also critical to a sound SEO strategy that delivers results. There is no way getting around the fact it takes work. At my SEO services agency we use a keyword strategy approach that is very effective. I’ll share it here for companies and competitors alike with no reluctance. We identify the products or services of our client and the buyer personas of each one. Then we conduct keyword research by putting ourselves in the shoes of each persona. We create tables to list each persona and their pain points in order to think the way they think. Whenever possible we interview the personas or, at a minimum the people who know the personas very well inside a client’s business. Below is a sample of buyer personas used in keyword research:

This method of keyword research sets up a keyword strategy that drives the content strategy. The SEO results increase greatly for being found in search engines by each of the personas that buy the target product.

Content Strategy

It’s been said that content is king. I once had a friendly debate with my friend Andrew Davis at Tippingpoint Labs about the role of content in SEO. His viewpoint was that all you need is great content to get good SEO results. It’s true that great content can provide good SEO results. But, the keyword strategy should drive the content strategy. The keyword strategy will guide what content you produce, for whom and the writing style. For example you may need content written for a management audience and some content for a more detailed worker. If you’re writing a page about a software product, the management level page and the data sheet page should be different to address each audience. The persona tables will help define how to write each content page.

Another important aspect of a content strategy is diversity. Text based web content is very important. But, search engines score all your content. By offering a good mix of content including images (with text tags), video and audio you please the search engines. Spreading your content across the web through social media including social bookmarking sites also contributes greatly to getting good SEO strategy results.

Lastly, the best benefit of a good content strategy is that it will result in getting inbound links. That means that people will link to your content and those links are the currency of search marketing. The more relevant inbound links you have, the better you’ll score with search engines.

It’s All About Conversions

I hope these three SEO tips were helpful to you.  But, the truth is this is an incomplete plan. A solid SEO plan will get you found in the search engines, but you need a strategy that converts visitors to your website into sales prospects or members of your community. I’ll get to that in a future blog post.

I invite you to add more tips below or comment on my three tips. I hope this blog post delivers on my goal of 3Es of content marketing, as I have preached in my book, Marketing 2.0.

Bernie Borges

Bernie Borges is CMO of Vengreso, the leader in digital sales transformation. He's also Host of the award winning Modern Marketing Engine podcast. His book Marketing 2.0, was an early playbook in social media strategy. Bernie is also a trainer and speaker. He has a passion for guiding clients in aligning marketing and sales for accelerated revenue results. Bernie enjoys kayaking with his family in Tampa Bay, going to hockey games and you'll find him at the gym at 6am Monday through Friday, rain or shine.

Comments
  • Bernie,
    Nicely done. We're in complete agreement. Now that I see your approach it's exactly the same as ours. We create a series of personas, conduct market research to understand their pain points and then generate the right kind of content in the right voice and tone to help deliver content that is effective.
    You also must have a platform that is SEO friendly.
    Thanks again for continuing the discussion. I think we're in complete agreement.
    I owe you a beer!
    🙂
    Thanks,
    Drew

    • FindandConvert

      Drew,
      Thanks for your commentary. I know we've been agreement ever since we had that conversation. I remember it fondly. I continue to observe your awesome work and educational videos at Tippingpoint Labs. Keep up the great work. Hope to see you when I'm in Boston for IMS in early October.
      Cheers,
      Bernie

      • Bernie,
        Thanks so much for your constant support and interaction. You're the model online evangelist and a prolific content creator! Keep it up!
        I hope we can connect in October.
        Thanks,
        drew

  • carocc

    Very helpful, concise, and useful SEO tips. One thing most people forget about when creating a title meta tag is its role as the bookmark "name" when someone bookmarks a website or webpage.

    A bookmark is a permanent record on the website visitor's system, so the title meta tag should be something the visitor can easily find and recognize at a later date. Thus, a concise title meta tag with a brand name is easier to find than a title meta tag containing only generic text.

    Finally, a title meta tag should *never* begin with "Welcome" because it is a complete waste of space and the bookmark gets lost in a sea of other bookmarks beginning with "Welcome".

    • FindandConvert

      Charles,
      Both your points are excellent. The second one about "welcome" is a laugher. I'm amazed when I see that on a website. Their web designer should know better than to allow a client to open with "welcome."
      Thanks
      Bernie

  • Once you put the proper website SEO techniques in place, you're ready to learn how to actually identify the specific companies that visited:
    http://bit.ly/9QGOZ1

    Thanks,

    Brett Miller http://www.identifywebtraffic.com http://www.customsoftwarebypreston.com

  • Excellent post! I would also add having a SEO friendly Content Management System (CMS) is critical. One that supports fast and easy manipulation of the Title tags, Description metadata tags, URL's and keywords.

    • FindandConvert

      Derek,
      I agree. A CMS is a very important tool for marketers for effective SEO. Thanks for your comment.
      Regards,
      Bernie

  • I like that 'Marathon' analogy…i'm gonna use that with my clients…great post!

    • FindandConvert

      Tom,
      Not only is SEO a marathon, you have to "stay in shape" or you'll fall behind. That means keeping up with the changes in SEO. Thanks for your comment.
      Cheers,
      Bernie

  • Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on

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