Part 1 to 3 in this SEO master class series dealt with stages 1 to 4 of successful search engine optimisation (SEO). Part 4 will review stage 5 – Content Development.

To summarise, the best practice approach to SEO is as follows:

Site Performance Audit
Objectives Setting
Project Plan
Keyword Analysis & Selection
Content Development
Site Structure Optimisation
Link Building
Search Engine Submission
Reporting & Analysis
Maintenance & Improvement

The Keyword Analysis phase should have identified what your target market is looking for on major search engines. By mapping these needs to your company’s main strengths, you can identify the most relevant topic areas that you can provide content for.

Best practice content development is not about producing isolated content pages that are created only for achieving high rankings on search engines. It involves a number of considerations such as avoidance of spam methods, following web copywriting practices and conversion tactics. Also important is to provide real content of value to visitors and to integrate this content into the rest of your site – rather than creating isolated pages that only serve to drive traffic.

Off course it is very easy to simply create a series of keyword rich landing pages and link these in from a site map, however, this practice is classed as search engine spam. If you are very lucky this type of strategy might deliver some short term results, however, search engines are clever enough to know this is what you are doing and will penalise you on this basis. As a result, you may get in a worse position than when you started which can be difficult to come back from.

Here are some quick tips to ensure you follow best practices:

Write For Visitors, Not Engines
Remember that you are writing content for your target market visitors, not search engines! Write your page content naturally and don’t just insert keywords and repeat them over and over. Try to understand what content your target market would want and give it to them. For example, useful resources, articles, tips, ebooks, online calculators etc.

If you are lucky, text written just for search engines might result in search engine referrals, but your annoyed visitors will ‘bounce’ (leave your site on arrival).

Value = Incoming Links
Try to provide content of ‘real value’ that would actually encourage other sites to link to you. Encouraging other relevant web sites to link to your site is far more important than creating keyword rich content. Incoming links establish your site on the web and tells search engines that your pages are important and should be given priority in search rankings.

Additional Information
Consider what additional relevant content would be of interest to your visitors and make sure this is accessible and linked from your content pages. As well as being useful to visitors, this will encourage them to stay on your page and navigate deeper into your web site (rather than bouncing!)

Avoid Spamming
It is critical that you adopt safe strategies that are consistent with the guidelines provided by the search engines and SEM industry. Best practices will bring long lasting results without the risks and short term nature of spamming methods.

Remember that SEO is about giving your target market what they want, not tricking them to go to a page of useless content on your site. After all, they might go to your site but they are likely to leave immediately.

Driving Conversions
SEO is not about driving traffic, it’s about driving traffic that converts. If you focus your efforts on targeting phrases that you know you can deliver ‘real quality’ content for, then your conversions will increase as well as your traffic.

Our May newsletter will review Step 6 – Site Structure Optimisation. This SEO Master Class series is based on our 18 page ebook titled ‘How to Implement Successful SEO’. This paper is available to download from www.clickthrough-marketing.com

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About the author:

Phil Robinson is an online marketing consultant with over 17 years experience in marketing planning, internet strategy and online acquisition. In 2004, Phil founded ClickThrough, an ethical search marketing agency. He gives best practice training for businesses, runs seminars and writes books on digital marketing.