SEO for Beginners Part III: Maintenance

The process described in parts one and two of this guide is dynamic—in order to stay relevant, keywords and processes need to be consistently updated. Below, we’ve highlighted some things to keep in mind as you continue on your SEO journey.

1. Keyword Trends- Use Google Trends to stay relevant and have content related to what people are searching. This can be in two ways: at-the-moment analysis, and planned trends. At the moment analysis is best for blog posts: if, for example, OpenTable saw that the winner of Top Chef was trending, they could write up a post linking the winner to one of their restaurants. This at-the-moment approach should be taken frequently; not only does it provide for great posts, but it can also bring more people to your website. Planned trends can be found when a trend tends to reoccur every year. These trends need to be researched ahead of time and can provide for related offers and new marketing pages. OpenTable could search for “valentines day reservations” and tailor their valentine’s day marketing pages to come out right when the phrase is trending (for example, you might find that Google Trends tells you that the majority of people are searching in December instead of late January as you originally thought).

2. External links (links to your website found on other websites) are widely considered one of the most important metrics of SEO. If the links come from what search engines deem “credible websites”, your website will seem more popular, authoritative and probably rank higher. External links are also relatively difficult to get, since you have to rely on an outside source to provide it for you.

1. Tools for Building Links:

1. SEOMoz has a tool to see all the external links for a given site (this shows up in the crawl report; see information here). Analyzing the competition’s current links can give you ideas on potential link sources.

2. It is very important to identify and keep up with key influencers/ link builders. While almost any external link helps your ranking, certain websites with high authority (think CNN or the New York Times) can greatly influence your spot in results. Try commenting on articles, trying to get stories published, etc.

1. Reaching out to vendors and partners is also a great way to get quality links.

2. Best Practices for Link Building:

1. Provide all partners, vendors and PR outlets with a link to your site and ask them to publish it. Try to avoid linking to them (if you link back to a site, the link credit is cancelled out). The more credible the site (high traffic and search engine rank), the more weight you receive.

Example: OpenTable partnered with Chicago Magazine and linked the magazine’s dining section webpage. Despite this, there weren’t any links from Chicago Magazine back to OpenTable. They even published an article announcing the partnership but didn’t include any links. An external link from a well-established source like Chicago Magazine would be extremely valuable for OpenTable in SEO terms; thus they should both request more links from Chicago Magazine and remove unnecessary links to Chicago Magazine on their website.

2. It’s preferred that the anchor text, the visible and clickable text of the link, contains your keywords rather than just your company name. While establishing an external link will increase your page’s authority, it won’t necessarily help you rank for a given keyword unless it is mentioned in the anchor text.

1. If OpenTable is being linked to, they should request that linked text be labeled “last-minute dining deals” rather than “You can view last minute dining deals here.”

3. When a search engine crawls your website, it follows internal links. Stand alone pages, those without any links from anywhere within your site, won’t be indexed because the search engine can’t find them. To avoid this, always have a central site map with every site link.

4. Google Badge- If you are a brick and mortar business, you can get free enhanced search results here. If you’re online-only, you’ll need to get a badge on the right-hand side in a more ambiguous way. You’ll need a Google+ account first. Once you have the account, Google only states that you need to post quality content regularly to get this ranking.

 

 

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