So I spent a little while chatting to the awesome folks (Hal and Ryan) over at porthos.com over the weekend. They have been making an effort to improve the SEO on their website and after a chat we had back in december their results have improved considerably. This chat really set me thinking alongside a few articles by Rand over at SEOmoz.org which talked about the basics of SEO and how having been involved in SEO for almost a decade many people who know about SEO consider the basics to be universally known and understood. That of course isn't true! So I thought I would post my 3 SEO basics here and share the knowledge:
- Think of the keyword first: there are three components. This holds true for every small and large web retailer I have worked with from trulia.com to arenaflowers.co.uk
- what is the value of traffic from a keyword for you? (variable a)
- how much competition is there on that keyword? (variable b)
- how many searches are there for that keyword? (variable c)
- (a*c)/b = relative focus you should be putting into ranking for that keyword
- search engines are looking for good quality content and striving for that end so my philosophy is don't keep trying to be one step ahead with spamming them
- users need to like your site and convert when they land on your site
- good quality content = good coding = usability. Use <hX></hX> tags, use Alt text, use meta tags, structure your site right for partially sited accessibility AND therefore search engine friendly code.
- lots of high quality, relevant inbound links with your target keyword (point 1) in them from other sites
- a flat internal linking structure within your site so that search engines can reach all your pages within about 2 clicks of any page
- get your keywords in your url structure. We all know it helps with search engine ranking and user click throughs on your search results, so why have horrible urls?
It was esp. interesting to me going through these points with Hal and Ryan because in return they treated me to some fun wine tasting and taught me a little bit more about wine. 2 simple points came out: see how a young (2004) cabernet tastes sweeter than a more mature wine (2001) and the bitterness of tanins from a mature wine made with unripe grapes is too strong to go with steak or a mild meal but tastes awesome with a strong cheese. Now I have heard them I get it and will use them a little bit in future at the summits and dinners I hold in my work. Perhaps whenever someone talks to you about SEO you will remember that just maybe the stuff we take for granted as universally held fact just isn't!