How do you get your website in front of as many eyeballs as possible? How do you expose your products and services to the world? The answer is, of course, to get to the top of the Google search results.
Keyword research and competitor analysis
Don’t stop reading just because it’s a boring subheading!!! This is actually very exciting, because you can find out how many people search for particular phrases on Google! I was amazed when I discovered this, but maybe that’s just me. Watch this video:
The above video shows you how to use Google’s keyword tool and SEOquake to find the best phrases to attract the most visitors. What do you think of the new video intro? Cheesy, eh?
The Google keyword tool
When it comes to SEO, the first thing you need to do is keyword research. This is an absolutely essential stage in the early lifecycle of an online business.
Don’t just guess what people are looking for – research it! Use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to tell you how many people make certain searches every month.
This tool can help you analyse the demand for your products or services. Also, this tool can tell you the exact words your potential customers are using to search for businesses like yours.
So, in the example of the video, let’s say I’m a web designer in London, I should see how many searches are being made every month for those exact words.
As you can see from the image below, the exact words “web designer london” are searched for 880 times every month in Google. I’m always amazed by how accurate these results are! You can guarantee that there will be around 880 people searching for “web designer London” this March, this April, this May… etc.
How do I know how accurate this is? Because, if you hit the top spot you can guarantee about 30%-60% of that traffic, and when that happens the same amount of traffic comes in every month – almost as regularly as clockwork! (Of course, not if it’s a seasonal search term like “halloween costumes”.)
So, now that you understand exactly how powerful this tool is, there are some Google Keyword Tool tips:
- Always use [Exact] Match Type, not Broad (annoyingly the default) nor “Phrase”
- Choose the country you’re interested in for the Local Monthly Searches, otherwise just look at Global Monthly Searches
- Look for the “low hanging fruit”, monthly visitors in between 250 and 1250 (or ideally between 500 and 1000) because they have a decent search volume and are unlikely to have high competition
- Whilst looking at the suggestions for other keywords, you can order them by number of searches by clicking on the top of the search columns
Now that you, hopefully, have a few keyword ideas to target, it’s time to checkout the competition.
Keyword competitor analysis
The first thing you need to do, if you haven’t already, is to download the SEOquake add-on for Firefox. I would add here that I personally don’t use it on my main browser. This is because it does slow browsing down while it gets all the juicy information. After installing it go Tools > SEOquake > Preferences > and cut down the number of Parameters it shows – this’ll speed things up.
Look for the first parameter – the Google PageRank. If you’re looking down the top ten Google results and you see a load of PageRanks of 2’s, 1’s and 0’s, then bingo! You’ve got a keyphrase you can target!
Please be aware that Google PageRank isn’t the be-all-and-end-all measurement of the importance of pages. Try to look at other parameters such as how many links competitors’ sites have going into them. And, some results will be there because their on-page SEO is better for that particular search. This isn’t an exact science, but it’ll give you a good start when analysing your main competitors online.
You are looking for two things: first, a decent number of monthly searches with the Google Keyword Tool, and second, nice easy competition.
If you have found a few keyphrases you’d like to target you can move onto the next stage.
On page SEO
If you want your home page to get to the top of Google for “web designer London” then you have to optimize that page for the words “web designer London”.
You can do this by adding the phrase to the heading, title, first paragraph and body text of the page. More about on-page optimization in WordPress here.
Build links to the page with the keywords in the anchor text
Of course, we all know the value of getting links to our site. But when targeting certain keyphrases, it’s necessary to get some of those links pointing to you with the keywords in the anchor text. Like this (where “web designer London” is our targeted keyphrase):
<a href="http://robcubbon.com">web designer London</a>
But, don’t over do this! Don’t get hundreds of links pointing to your site with the same anchor text as that looks unnatural. Mix up the wording of the anchor text and be sure to include links with anchor text “click here” and “find out more about”. Include links with the domain as the anchor text. Link to the internal pages not just the home page. With new sites be especially careful not to “over-optimize” both the on-page and off-page SEO.
The above has been re-written to accommodate the changes made in April 24th to Google’s algorithm, call “Penguin”. This advice still holds out but avoid building too many links and make them look “natural” in terms of anchor text.
How to get links? Well, there’s a big topic! Here’s an article with some WordPress and SEO Tips to Get Links and Google Traffic.
Blogging, Relationships and Content Marketing
Obviously I can’t cover all the good practices needed in content creation and link building in this one post. I would always advise anyone with a website to start a WordPress blog as it is good marketing for your brand. Set up WordPress with SEO in mind. Make you sure write your blog posts in an SEO-friendly manner.
Form relationships with other bloggers in your niche. Help them promote their posts and they will help you promote yours.
All this blogging activity together with the above targeting strategy will pull in massive long tail search traffic connected to your target keywords.
I should mention at this point that good content will get you good links and good search engine rankings. It’s the ultimate technique that pretty much trumps all of the above!
You can do it!
Do you have a set of keywords you target for your home page? If you don’t, head over to the Google Keyword Tool to find some low hanging fruit!
Are you aware of your competition? If not, get the SEOquake add-on and check out the competition on a search term that describes your business. Can you beat ’em? If so optimize the page and build some links to it. It’s surprisingly easy – just a few good links can make a lot of difference. But don’t over-egg the pudding. Find out more about how to get great clients for your business in my e-book.
Now, this is a thorny subject and I’m bound to have rubbed some SEO-types up the wrong way. So, I would love to hear you opinions in the comments. Be nice! Oh, and vote for the article if you liked it!