There are many misconceptions about natural search engine optimization (SEO) tactics permeating the ether. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about programmatic optimization strategies, link-building tactics, or content optimization. There seems to be a lingering idea that if you optimize your Web site, more search referrals will immediately surge through the pipes.
To be certain, you can produce nearly immediate traffic bursts with a little strategic link bait or a well-structured social media campaign. But this is not organic SEO at its best. Such tactics can produce quick hits though returns diminish over time. SEO really works well when you go at it strategically for the long haul. When there’s a SEO strategy in play, you must set long-term goals.
Content optimization a time-honored strategy for attaining and maintaining top performance in the search engines. It tends to keep giving and giving over time, as long as you mind the metrics and respond to new challenges accordingly.
How can you improve your Web site’s performance in the search engines before the next Black Friday or Cyber Monday rolls around? Consider implementing a goal-oriented content optimization strategy all throughout the year. Now’s a great time to get started.
Where do you begin? Know where your goods and services are positioned right now. If you’re a burning up internal resources manually tracking your Web site’s key positioning on targeted terms, make your life a little easier by leveraging a position-checking tool or two. There are plenty to choose from, such as WebCEO, WebPosition, Adgooroo, or Enquisite, among others.
WebCEO is probably one of the more cost-effective rank checkers on the market. But you must keep your program current and harvest data collected for keywords and phrases you intend to monitor over time. Enquisite is a bit more elegant; once your site is tagged, it permits you to review your site’s performance without having to do a lot of heavy lifting. Enquisite tells you what pages are ranked where for which phrases, rather than you telling it what terms to target, and it does so in near real-time. Adgooroo is a particularly handy tool if you also have to monitor PPC (define) performance.
No matter which tool you select, once you have a tracking system in place, set goals around where you want your content to be and how you will measure your content-optimization efforts over time. When you know where your content stands in the search engines, it’s a heck of a lot easier to start searching for ranking opportunities for your goods and services. Such opportunities include, but are not limited to:
- Moving a number of page-two results to page-one.
- Improving page-one positioning and visibility.
- Improving the number of targeted phrases per page into top 30 positioning.
- Improving click decisions with relevant, actionable search engine snippets.
- Increasing search-referred traffic by a certain percentage over time.
- Increasing conversions of search engine referrals over time.
Some metrics to monitor, include, but are not limited to:
- Shifts and changes in site metrics on specific keywords driving traffic, landing pages, conversions, etc.
- Total number of unique visitors and percentage of unique visitors that originate from search referrals over time.
- Total number of visitors per page or category, especially on those pages you are optimizing.
- Number of content-optimized pages indexed.
- Number of back links to the content-optimized pages.
- PageRank movement of the optimized pages.
- Or other metrics that are in line with specific marketing objectives, such as total number of e-mail registrations, sales inquiries, and click-to-call actions, etc.
After you have determined where your content is positioned in the search engines and have set some goals around your content-optimization initiatives, you are ready to start reviewing, adjusting and tweaking your content. Before you begin, it’s important that you, and hopefully your content optimization team, understand a few things about the different types of content you will be reviewing. Generally speaking, most Web sites contain two types of content: permanent and temporary.
Permanent content usually consists of category landing pages, brand collections, shop pages, product pages, about pages, and the like. Temporary content usually consists of special sales and promotional event pages, homepage features, press releases, special announcements, and the like.
Search engines spider and index permanent and temporary pages. Some pages that are constantly refreshed will be spidered daily; other pages deep within your site will only be crawled every few weeks.
Permanent content is important for maintaining domain authority in the search engine results pages and targeted rankings, and for accruing inbound links. Temporary content can be channeled to preserve an influx of new links. Remember: search engines love (love, love) fresh content! Which is why your initial content-optimization goals should address attaining results in tandem with a timeline that is 60 to 90 days in the future, even longer for highly competitive terms as some additional link building may be required to make your content shine in the SERPs (define).
With your metrics in place and your goals set, we’ll address the ongoing process of strategic content optimization when we next meet. Until then, start thinking about your content-optimization goals as you watch the surge of holiday sales referrals rolling in, knowing that they will be even better next year.
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