The SEO Puzzle: The Most Important Pieces

It doesn’t really matter how much you study it, it’s almost impossible to get the perfect SEO (Search Engine Optimization) score for any long period of time. Each search engine has their own algorithm to rank web sites, and as if that wasn’t complicated enough, they change that algorithm frequently in order to perfect it and make sure that the same sites doesn’t hog up the top positions simply because they’ve figured out the x-factor in the algorithm to dodge other more popular sites that have the traffic, content mass, and extensive Internet presence enough to be ranked at the top.

There are of course some key pillars that one should make sure to implement that seemingly every search engine incorporates. Google for example, doesn’t index websites. They index web pages. So making sure that each web page on your site is fully optimized for index crawlers and easy search patterns is probably something you should spend an extensive amount of time on. This is what could initially launch your site on the beginning steps of the ladder to a page rank of maybe 4-5. There is a lot more to it, and using this as a guide is both good and bad. It’s good because it shows you how to start making your website and pages more search engine friendly. It’s bad because if you use this as the ultimate SEO guide, you will quickly understand that you will never hit that legendary top spot, or page rank 10. It’s just not extensive enough. So, always approach SEO with the highest regards to the fact that it never gets completely done.

On-Page SEO Factors

Quality Content – The key to a successful website is unique and relevant content.
Keywords (Research) – Analyze and choose the appropriate keywords for your web site.
Keywords (Usage) – Does your web site use the words and phrases you want to be found under?
Keywords (Include) – Be sure to include your targeted keywords in the meta data of your web site (title, description, images, etc)
Engagement – Site Analytics – Click Through Rate, Bounce Rate, Time on Page, Time on Site, Total Pages Visited.
Freshness – of Content. Revise and Refresh content often.

Web Site Coding

URL Structure – Is your web site easy for the search engines to read?
Meta Tags – Use the proper description for each page.
Header Tags <H1> – Use relevant and structured headings throughout the web site.
Image Tags <img> – Make use of alt description tags for images.
Title Tags <title> – Use a unique and relevant title for each page.
Site Map – Keep an XML copy of your site map on your server and submit it to the search engines.

Off-Page SEO Factors – Social Media

Facebook – Bing uses Facebook “Likes” as a ranking signal for logged in users. How often are your posts Shared?
Google+ Plus 1’s – Google says it is working on using +1’s as ranking signals.
Twitter – Tweets help Google index content faster. How often are your posts retweeted?
Social Authority – What is your social authority on the web? (Friends, Fans, Followers, Connections)
Blog Regularly – Include unique and relevant content.
Social Forums – Engage in relevant social forums.
Online Directories – Build out accurate and complete profiles on online directory sites.

Off-Page SEO Factors – Links

Anchor Text Links – Do links pointing to your pages use the appropriate keywords?
Link Relevancy – Create high quality back links directing to your website.
Link Quantity – The more high quality & relevant links pointing to your site the better your pages will rank.
Link Quality – Links from only high quality relevant web sites.

Off Page SEO Factors – Reputation Management

Web Site Reputation – Create high quality back links directing to your web sites.
Review Sites – Google Reviews, City Search and Yelp.
Trust – Trust from users and search engines is imperative for long term success.
Domain Age – How long has your web site been online?
Domain Authority – Strength of your web site.
Page Authority – Strength of your internal pages.