The primary objective — why one engages in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — is to be found. Specifically, to have one’s web site achieve a higher placement on organic Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). While there is some variance in different genres of search terms, on average, 68% of the click throughs from SERPs are from the top ten results, i.e. from the first page. Of these (again, depending on the genre) between 24–31% of the click throughs occur from the 1st listing found, i.e. the top result. Realizing a greater Click Through Rate (CTR) defines a successful search matrices.
Further, one wants to drive traffic from the segment of potential visitors who are most likely to participate in “success events”. Ideally, one wants not only to be found among top search engine results, but also to raise the CTR to one’s own web site.
One needs to harvest the long–tail keyword phrases with which the visitors who completed participation in a success event found the web site. With these one conducts additional research to obtain search terms with maximum Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) value ratings. Ultimately, the Best Practice is to optimize one’s site with keywords that are lexical to the ones that were used in these searches.
From these lists of keywords one implements search engine optimization by populating the Title element, Description and Keywords meta tags, Alt and Title attributes, and page content with the long–tail keyword phrases that are both the most searched and have the highest KEI values. The goal is to merge effectively the search matrices with the web analytics for one’s web site.
With the data merged from the search matrices and web analytics one will have built behavioral models for the visitors to one’s web site. Knowing a customer’s profile enables refining the click through path to the success events. Ideally, from arrival through checkout (completed participation in a success event) should be able to be accomplished in eight clicks.
The Top Ten SEO Best Practices to accomplish favorable click through rates from high placement on search engine results pages are listed below. Some of the value placed on these items follow standards on good code writing stewardship that are applicable to Search Engine Optimization. For additional information, please follow any of the links in these Top Ten Best Practices or contact our solutions team with specific questions.
- Implement a web analytics application/service. One needs to capture the keyword phrases that are actually driving traffic to one’s site. These phrases are the search terms with which one begins long tail keyword SEO research and they’re integral to optimizing landing pages.
- Complete Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) value ratings research for long–tail keyword phrases that are lexical to the keywords harvested from successful site visits and are contextually relevant to each page’s content. Don’t optimize for the wrong keywords, e.g. keywords that either aren’t searched or don’t drive traffic from the visitors most likely to participate in a success event.
- Optimize meta tags: Match Title elements to page content and place a unique Title element on each individual page. Follow character count limits in the Title element, Description and Keyword meta tags, and Alt attributes.
- Utilize all the possible attributes and tags and effectively populate those attributes and tags as well as the page content with long–tail keywords phrases that have high KEI value ratings. Only place long–tail keyword phrases in the Title element, Description and Keyword meta tags that are repeated in the page content, e.g. avoid populating tags and attributes with keywords that don’t appear on the page.
- Create content that can be seen by search engines, e.g. not using Flash or creating content in Photoshop or Acrobat that should be in HTML. Verify page content with the one of World Wide Web Consortium’s Markup Validation Services.
- Endeavor to build contextual backlinks. It’s not only who’s linking to you, it’s whether a backlink links an article or comment to the relevant content on one’s site (rather than a generic link to one’s “Home” page). The algorithms with which Google evaluates backlinks target the nature of the link’s context. A non-contextual backlink would be one in a list of useful links, e.g. most directories. As a basic understanding… contextual backlinks have greater value than non-contextual ones.
- Utilize a robot meta tag or an external robot.txt file. The premise is to have a robot meta tag/robot.txt file tell search engines to index and follow links: <meta name=”robots” content=”all, index, follow” />. Conversely, tag admin/non–public pages with “noindex, nofollow”, e.g. <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow” />. Please note: there are many additional, more specific instructions presented in the Robots Exclusion Protocol and in Google’s Creating a robots.txt file article.
- Create a sitemap and submit it to the major search engines — Google, Yahoo, MSN Live, ASK, etc. Sitemaps need to follow the protocols set forth on Sitemaps.org. Submitting a sitemap facilitates a search engine’s indexing as well as the frequency of indexing. Short of submitting a site map, the minimum is to submit one’s web site address.
- Create a listing on Google Maps. Complete a profile in the Local Business Center. While the algorithms utilized in Google Local Search differ from the ones in Web Search, Local Search listings can influence the click through rates from Google Web Search Results Pages.
The Top Ten Worst SEO Practices are, simply, not to implement the Top Ten Best Practices.
Please feel free to inquire for more information and on any of the services PageRank-SEO offers to afford favorable results from organic Search Engine Optimization.