I’ve been on the fringe of the SEO industry for over 10 years now. I’ve have watched it change from the good old days of when keyword stuffing would get you at the top of AltaVista to the modern day which uses some of the worlds most sophisticated software and technology.
And after experimenting, researching, listening to White Hats, Black Hats and an entourage of other SEO guru’s I’ve come to the conclusion that now-a-days effective “SEO” has become pretty simple. Not necessarily easy, but it is simple. The 3 steps below are my ‘secret’ formula which has worked well, for instance most of our business leads for The Artists Web come from natural search and our advertising budget is practically zero.
Step 1. Get a high Page Rank
This is more important than anything else and also significantly more difficult than the following steps. I’m sure you already know what Page Rank is – and that getting a high PR is basically down to how many quality incoming links you have. In essence what the rest of the internet is doing is more important than what you do on your own site.
In my opinion, the most effective long term ways of getting incoming links are
- Have a regularly updated interesting website/blog
- Create a great web service
- Create some viral content
- Make lots of friends
Step 2. Know your target subject and keywords
Your website has a theme, and you have a target audience you wish to attract. Obviously the theme and the search terms your target audience use must align. Moreover use keyword tools to find out the specific language most commonly used – for example is which term is most searched “sell artwork” or “sell paintings”?
Step 3. Create a high PR page for the subject/keyword in question and apply a few simple techniques
Finally you create a page on your site, give it as much page rank as you can and make sure you are using the keywords appropriately. These techniques will help, but they are no silver bullet – really the without the first step (getting the high page rank) any SEO ‘technique’ is going to be of limited use.
- Link to the page from every page on your site, or at least from your higher PR pages e.g. the home page. This ensures you are allocating as much page rank to the page as you can.
- Put the main keywords in the page title
- Write a compelling Meta Description, the meta description is often used on the search results page, this is your chance to write some compelling copy which encourages people to click on your link. Don’t worry about keywords, consider it similar to writing the copy on a paid search advert.
- Phrase your copy to natuarlly include search phrases. This is the only ‘trick’ that I use, just bare in mind your target search phrases. e.g. for the phrase “sell paintings”:
Selling paintings online is easy with our service.
Our service helps you easily sell paintings.
- Use appropriate keywords in the url e.g.
Surely it’s not that simple?
Well actually I think it is. Basically google (for now english language search is pretty much all about google) has some of the best brains and technology continually working to ensure it has the most relevant, useful and authoritative results. It’s therefore simple enough to presume that long term the most relevant, useful and authoritative results will tend to feature first, so really all you have to do is be relevant, useful and authoritative – simple, but not necessarily easy. Yes there are plenty of other techniques and factors (HTML validation, link anchor text, page cachebility) but none of them will make a significant difference unless you have and interesting an respected website.
Finally, don’t cheat
And don’t be tempted to go for any ‘black hat‘ SEO technique – do not run the risk of being penalised. Think long term and focus on quality.