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Episode 5 | 13 Proven SEO Keyword Strategies to Conquer Google

the SEO Tear Down with Scott GombarThis week we talked about how Google determines who ranks higher for keywords, or why your keyword ranking has dropped.  There are over 200 ranking factors for Google but we only had time for about 8.  Here are some of the things to look for:

  • Is the Keyword in the URL?
  • Is the Keyword on the web page a few times?
  • Is the Keyword in the title?
  • Is the Keyword in the meta description?
  • Do images on the page have the keyword in the alt/title tags?
  • How old is the domain?
  • How long was the domain registered for?
  • Is the content up to date?
  • Engagement? Is the content being shared or commented on (not by spam)?
  • Is the content relevant to the website?
  • Is the content written with the audience in mind?
  • Are their high-quality backlinks to the web page?
  • Page Speed. Mobile. Amp (Google claims Amp is not a ranking factor..yet).

We also discussed what you should ask when deciding on an SEO for your website.

Beyond searching for a good SEO on the internet here’re a few things to consider:

  • Do they develop content around SEO and is it up to date?
  • Do they have a reputation? Will they offer references?
  • Reviews
  • Will they explain to you how they handle SEO?

These are some of the questions you can ask. If the SEO promises to get you to number 1 on Google within a short period of time run away, far away. While it is possible it is not likely without trying to game the system and that could cost you in the long run.

Another trick you can use. Go to WHOIS Search, Domain Name, Website, and IP Tools and see how long they own their domain. Any good SEO will purchase their domain for multiple years.

Lastly, even after they are done run an audit on your site to be sure they did everything they said they would do. It’s not hard to find a free audit service. I have one on my site.Free Digital Marketing Audit | Scott Gombar

The Importance of Anchor Text in Back-links

The importance of anchor text with respect to a linking strategy cannot be overstated. Back-links are a huge part of the search engine algorithm. When initiating a linking campaign, it is vital that external sites link using the appropriate keywords and terms in the anchor text.

Almost always, linking candidates will use the company name as anchor text. This does not provide any type of description of the target company’s products or services. Sure, it may be great for branding purposes, but it isn’t usually needed. In most cases, companies already rank very high (if not first) for searches that incorporate their brand.

Here is an example using fictional company “Acme Plumbing Supplies”:

Most people will link simply using the terms “Acme”. This is alright, but it does not describe the company’s products or services, nor provide any context. By adding the word “plumbing” or term “plumbing supplies” (i.e. “Acme Plumbing” or “Acme Plumbing Supplies”), you may be able to drive additional traffic that may not have otherwise attained the corporate site.

Incorporation of Company Branding and SEO

SEO is not an exact science. This becomes apparent when trying to incorporate both SEO and branding into a strategy. This process is finicky to say the least. On the one side, SEO deals with the placement of keywords and phrases. On the other side, branding deals with company loyalty and culture. Incorporating both sides dilutes the prominence of both. But eliminating one or the other may not meet all strategic and marketing goals.

Once again, it should be emphasized that SEO is a series of guidelines rather than an exact science. Having said that, the following recommendation can be used to satisfy both sides of the equation. In general, keywords and phrases (i.e. SEO) should remain the focus of any early-stage company, while the incorporation of company branding should appear later in the evolution. This is simply a general statement and should not be taken word for word.

The reasoning is pretty straightforward. At first, no-one knows the name of your company, but perhaps they are searching for your products or services. In other words, you want to target keywords and phrases that focus around your offering rather than your company. As you build loyalty and credibility, branding becomes more important. It’s at this point that you may want to incorporate corporate messaging to strengthen the relationship with customers and instill trust in your brand.

One final thought about branding: if a searcher types in the name of your company, they are likely to find your website anyways. This is due mostly to anchor text and back-links. Therefore, optimizing for the company name is rather insignificant in most cases.

Google Authorship

SEO Keyword Research: Plurals vs. Singulars

When performing SEO keyword research, it is more strategic to include the plural version of keywords than the singular form. This concept provides greater flexibility and more opportunity for search traffic. Search algorithms have evolved and become more sophisticated. Now, they are able to index more than the specific words, but also the roots of these words.

For this reason, it is important to always err to the side of longer words. Adding suffixes or plurals to targeted terms is recommended. The concept of “rooting” is relatively new to the SEO world, but it cannot be overlooked. The increase in potential search traffic may surprise you.

An example would be to optimize for “travels” or “traveling”, instead of just “travel”. The latter term is contained within the former two terms. In other words, if you are optimizing for “travels” or “traveling”, you are already optimizing for “travel” by default. Be sure to consider this strategy when doing your keyword research and integrating your targeted terms.