You can never doubt the power of internet marketing. When you compare this to the other traditional forms of marketing, you can clearly point out a number of advantages that can easily make you rethink your marketing strategies. One of the widely used internet marketing strategies is search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization is popularly known as SEO. It is not a new concept, but in other parts of the world it might be. For example, SEO in Kenya is slowly being accepted as an internet marketing strategy with many businesses.
Particularly, small businesses are the ones taking advantage of this strategy in their effort to compete with the big brands online. Across the world, there are very many success stories by small businesses that show the power of SEO as an online marketing strategy.
While some will hand over SEO to experts, others would be eager to learn how it works and simply try out the strategy on their own. Most people often give up because a few months down the line, they notice that it is not as easy as it sounded in the first place.
But how is it that everyone else succeeds while you do not?
Often, if you ask, you will be given most of the information that you already know, but nothing seems to be happening for you. While some will give up, others will opt to invest in SEO experts to get the strategy worked out from a professional angle.
Search Engine Optimization Commandments
In a nutshell, there is one fundamental thing that you need to decide. To either be white, black or gray. White Hats (Mat Cutts followers), follow the best practices of SEO by the book. Black Hats are the ones in from the underworld who have been at constant war with Google (Mat Cutts). Blackhats use unorthodox means to beat search engine algorithms and rank their websites.
They are the main reason why every now and then we are subjected to search engine algorithm changes. The war on web spamming has been going on for a while now and frankly, I am not sure who is winning. Gray Hats mix a bit of the two.
No matter where you belong, here are a few search engine optimization commandments that you must always follow to ensure that you get positive results on SERPs.
#1 Thou shall do Keyword Research
This is where SEO starts. Keyword research is the foundation of any search engine optimization strategy. What good is it to rank for a keyword that has no value? This is a common problem that we always face as SEO experts when we get the “know it all” clients (no offense).
A client may approach you with a keyword they are wishing to rank for. However, when you do a simple analysis on the keyword, you quickly find that it has no traffic or the monthly searches on the keyword are insignificant. This is where SEO stops for you if you insist on that keyword.
Do a good research on keywords on your niche and target these keywords on your SEO strategy.
#2 Thou should Master On Page SEO
On Page SEO is another very important aspect if you want to rank your website for particular keywords. One thing you should notice in this commandment is that you should “MASTER” On page SEO but not be obsessed over it.
One common mistake that people do is obsessing over on page SEO and forgetting about other tasks that need to be implemented on the strategy. Follow all SEO best practices when it comes to on page SEO. There are a few things from the dark side that you can use when doing on page SEO but always strive to do this by the book. Even blackhats will agree with me.
Take time with your content on the website and ensure all pages are optimized for the keywords you are targeting.
#3 Thou shall follow Web Design best practices
Web Design is very important when it comes to search engine optimization. It is important that you ensure that the design of your website is SEO friendly. There are other best practices that you need to ensure are in order so that both bots and visitors have a good experience when they land on your website.
For example, at this age and time, it would not make sense to build a website that is not fully responsive. However, you can consider between RWD or simply build a mobile lite version of the website. There are other practices such as schema and microformats that can really improve on the quality of your website.
A common rule of thumb is to always keep your design simple and appealing.
#4 Thou shall not Copy Content
You will completely turn off the search engine bots when they constantly find duplicate content on your website. Plagiarism is punishable by Google and other search engines and therefore it is always important to ensure that your content is always original.
This applies to all kinds of content. Whether it is a photo or text information on your website, get original and appealing content that will please visitors or search engine bots that crawl your website. Always use different plagiarism checkers to ensure that you are safe from penalties that might cost you a lot.
#5 Thou Must be Social
Over the years, social media has become increasingly important when it comes to search engine optimization. Social signals and engagement are taken into consideration when it comes to deciding about the quality of a piece of content.
Therefore, you cannot afford to ignore the different social networks for your brand. The most popular social media networks that you should ensure your brand is on are Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
Apart from SEO, Social Media will also help you with branding, therefore it is a strategy that you cannot afford to ignore.
#6 Thou shall build content wisely
Take time to come up with the best content for your web properties. Have a clear strategy with your content that will help you come up with the best information to put up on your web property. Also have a good content strategy on your social media pages to ensure that you always keep your fans interested in your brand.
Have a clear content strategy on different platforms and stick with it.
#7 Thou Shall Build Links Wisely
Link Building is not dead. Link building is a strategy that has been used over time to rank website and it is a strategy that has often been exploited by blackhats. However, even with the most recent algorithm updates, link building is still a strategy that is highly considered when it comes to search engine optimization.
When laying out a link building strategy for your website, always remember that the quality of the links is all that matters. You may take your time and have a thousand links for your website for a particular keyword but with no value at all. Another website on the other hand will get one single link that will positively impact the rank of its web page.
Always consider the link juice when laying down your backlink strategy.
#8 Thou shall know where to get Information
There is so much information on the internet about search engine optimization. However, if you set out reading every other blog you come across, you will end up being more confused than ever. It is therefore very important that you follow information that you get from credible sources. The fact that an article is ranking does not necessarily mean that it has the best information to follow.
Ensure that you follow brands on social media that provide the best content about internet marketing and specifically search engine optimization.
#9 Thou Shall Monitor Progress
What good is implementing SEO strategies without measuring the value? It is very important that you measure the value of what you are doing. There are different tools that you can use to measure the performance of your website.
The two most important metrics that you need to consider are the traffic and the ranking of the website. There are others that are also important such as the bounce rate of the website.
Do you want to hear something good?
You can easily get these statistics free of charge. There are different tools that you can use to measure the performance of your website. The two most important tools are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools.
Learn the tools and always plan your strategy to always improve the statistics of your website over time.
#10 Thou shall practice Patience
This is a virtue that you must afford. There is nothing like ranking a keyword overnight. SEO is always a long term strategy and you can be sure that you will need to put a lot of effort over a period of time to get the desired results.
Be consistent with your strategy, but be patient and be wary of the SEO slog
And the SEO ‘god’ says, “These are the commandments of search engine optimization, follow them and you shall reap the fruits of inquiries and online sales.”