Search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are two of the most popular ways to leverage the traffic driving potential of search engines. A high search engine listing in the right niche can bring in massive leads which turn into sales, so it’s no wonder many businesses are using Austin SEO and SEM to secure high rankings for keywords related to their industry.
On-Page Austin SEO Done Right
Search engine optimization is the art of securing high rankings in the free, or organic, search listings. There are many things that go into a proper SEO campaign. Here are some of the essential aspects of the race to the top of the search listings.
- On-page optimization – The beginning of any Austin SEO campaign happens on the page that is the target of the ranking efforts. Many aspects of this are rather simple: The targeted keyphrase should be in the page’s title and appear in its content. How often the keyphrase should be repeated in the content is heavily debated, but many professionals believe every 50 or 100 words is sufficient. Overloading a page with keyphrase repetitions may actually incur a penalty.
It used to be that meta tags for the page’s description and keywords were considered essential. Now they have been deprecated by most search engines for SEO purposes. Descriptions, however, may appear along with a site’s listing in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), so it’s a good idea to write these snippets so they will induce a searcher to click.
- Quality content – Content is not king, despite the oft-repeated canard. Context is king. Content needs to be readable and of decent quality, but just how much quality is needed depends heavily on niche. If a site is giving small trinkets away for free, it will not need the same level of quality as one that is trying to sell $10,000 diamonds.
- Link building – Links are the true king of SEO. All major search engines pay attention to how many links point to a page from other websites. Google even cares about the so-called quality of the sites those links come from. Therefore, most search engine optimization efforts become link building campaigns almost immediately.
There are many ways to get links. They fall into two major categories: white hat and black hat. White hat link building includes methods like link exchanges, publishing press releases, making guest blog posts and getting listed in human reviewed directories. Attracting natural links with highly useful content is another method. Natural links are some of the best links that can be obtained, but it can take a long time to own the top rankings waiting for links to come in on their own.
Social media is another source of links that has become more popular lately. Bookmarking your site to sites like Digg works great if you can get your links to stick. Twitter is another place to put links. If your account has enough followers, it can even bring in direct traffic. A full social media campaign will involve several of these sites and several types of them. This way, you’ll gain a wider audience from the social media itself as well as benefit from its linking power.
Any method of link building Google doesn’t approve of can be considered black hat. Black hat methods may also annoy other webmasters. This is because most forms of black hat link building involve plastering links on sites that don’t want them or overdoing it on sites that normally would accept them. Spamming blogs and forums with link-laden comments is the most common black hat method. Results with these methods can come very quickly. The downside is that the results are usually very short lived because the other webmasters delete the spam links almost as fast as they come in. Search engines may also penalize or even ban sites suspected of link spamming.
Buying links is another method that has been branded as a black hat tactic by Google. This method works exactly as would be expected. Those seeking links pay other sites to give them some. It can be devastatingly effective when done correctly, but it also can be very costly. The key to a successful paid link campaign is choosing the right sites to buy links from. Old sites that appear to be run by amateurs often have the right mix of link power and cheaper fees. Link buying is practiced by some surprisingly large companies and is unlikely to disappear any time soon.
For those who need immediate results or are just sick of navigating the labyrinth that is SEO, search engine marketing (SEM) is often the solution. This is also known as pay per click advertising or PPC. SEM is, in its simplest terms, the white hat way to outright buy placement in the search engines. Google AdWords and Yahoo Advertising Solutions offer the ability to purchase advertising that appears both alongside search results pages and on the sites that partner with these companies. Here are a few tips for running a successful SEM campaign.
- Keyword Research – Keyword or keyphrase research is absolutely essential for making a profit from SEM. This research is done to find out how many people are searching for a particular keyphrase, how much it costs to bid on the main keyphrase and its associated phrases and how much competition there is in the niche. Proper research ensures that you won’t bother bidding on words that are so competitive that it’s impossible to make a profit.
There are many tools for researching keywords. Most of these tools are also good for SEO. Proper PPC analysis tools, however, will let you know the cost of bidding on your keywords as well as the amount of searches they get. The Google Keyword Tool is an excellent free option, while Market Samurai and Traffic Travis are popular paid tools.
- Choosing an SEM company – Google AdWords gives you access to Google and its partner sites, while Yahoo Advertising Solutions allows you to advertise on both Yahoo and Bing. Other, much smaller, SEM companies exist but are known for performing poorly. For a successful search engine marketing campaign, choose one or both of the two big players.
- Geo-targeting – If your offer is only valid in a particular area, be sure to specify it when setting up your campaigns. This will help cut down on invalid clicks.
This overview should give you a good idea about both Austin SEO and SEM advertising. Practice is the best way to learn the finer nuances of both. Practicing SEO is usually easier on the wallet than PPC since it doesn’t have to cost anything. For pay per click advertising, starting out with low competition keywords helps keep costs reasonable as you learn the ropes.
Finding an experienced Austin SEO company can be a daunting task, don’t worry, AXZM is here to help! Give us a call today!