Truly understanding the SEO process (starting with a goal instead of trying to fix something after the fact) represent two distinct schools of thought.
Having a general understanding of the stages involved in search engine optimization can produce moderate rankings, but just as search engines are constantly retooling their algorithms, in order to keep up with or create immunity to penalties for your website, you need to make constant adjustments, tweaks and fine-tune your website to maximize performance and outperform your competition.
Each page has a different threshold, depending on (1) the competition for the industry or niche (2) the keyword objectives for your pages and ultimately your site and (3) the ranking method you engage.
As a result, you must ensure that (a) your primary objective is to create quality content to raise your organic relevance score (b) work harder (or smarter) than the sites between your website and the websites in the top 10 for that phrase and (c) once you get their have countermeasures in play to defend your position.
This is where experience pays off, a seasoned SEO firm is able to produce results deliberately and consistently and those who struggle to grasp the depth and layers of real optimization merely dabble in an attempt to find the right formula for each of the concurrent steps and layers involved.
Not the say that the latter is part of the process of heuristic trial and error and is necessary to a great extent to achieve perspective. However, with so much of the same information or regurgitated information about SEO cycling about the web, it puts those generally interested in a bind for finding truly original methods and tactics which can be actually implemented (since most SEO’s don’t share their real techniques).
They say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, we also know that SEO in theory is one thing, however SEO in application requires a synergistic continuity of objectives as well as tangible benchmarks to decipher progress.
Here are a few tactics for example that an SEO might use:
- Domain Level Domination
- Content, Title and Tag Ranking Strategy
- CMS Systems, Topical Relevance and Internal Linking
- Concentration of links to interior pages or deep linking
- A mini-site strategy emphasizing small group of keywords
- 301 Redirect (rolling multiple sites into one)
- Using sub domains with GEO Specific Key phrases as a prefix
- Capping link flow and sculpting page rank and internal links
- Using sitemaps to connect vast sections of larger websites to funnel crawling / indexing
- Using Site Architecture (such as Wikipedia) to acquire competitive rankings
Touching briefly on each tactic (any of all of these are essentially interchangeable or can be used in succession:
Domain Level Domination – Who knows how long this aspect of the algorithm will last. Having a keyword rich domain (keywords in your website name) is a proven format for creating relevance and rankings with a fraction of the effort vs. domain names that do not have keywords relative to the theme of the target phrase.
Content, Title and Tag Ranking Strategy – Works wonders for large sites with hundreds or thousands of pages.
This is based on allinurl, allintitle, allintext and allinanchor relevance. Ideally, each page represents a percentage of the overall topical relevance required to qualify your website and pages for a high ranking search engine position.
For example 100 pages about a topic (even if sparsely mentioned or unified with footer links) is more than a competing page with just a few pages on the topic.
This strategy works wonders for extremely competitive keywords (like each page is a piece of the puzzle that supports the overall ranking). E-commerce websites with optimized meta tags and titles use this tactic often due to the high number of stock kept units.
CMS Systems, Topical Relevance and Internal Linking – This is typically implemented by bloggers (who have the capacity to dedicate time and energy to developing each category over time).
Most CMS systems convert categories into relevant and structured subfolder with SEO friendly naming conventions that systematically organize link flow and distribution of link weight evenly to sub pages.
As a result, by internal linking your pages (with relevant keywords) you can emphasize which pages have more alignment and rankings for specific keywords in the SERPs. In other words, you can sculpt which pages appear first based on how you link within the content management system.
Concentration of links to interior pages or deep linking – The previous tactic touched on this lightly, but when combined with building external links to specific pages (via deep linking) search engines calculate the synergy and pure relevance and award a page with higher positioning when the ratios are perfected.
For example, a top 10 ranking can be produced from 100 internal links to a page and 25 external links to a page using a specific range of inbound anchor text from other websites.
A Mini-Site Strategy Emphasizing Small Group of Keywords – Just as implied, create a website based on a very specific range of keywords, build ten pages of related keywords under each topic or landing page, link up from the sub pages to the landing page (with keyword-rich anchor text) and dial in the external links for competitive rankings. This strategy still works well vs. creating a site with multiple topics.
Using 301 Redirects for SEO – Many sites, like homes.com or like.com employ this tactic to increase rankings for their content, both employed thousands of redirects from sites that were acquired (or devoured) for the sake of creating an authority site. There are multiple uses for 301 redirects that can be used internally, however in this reference, it was regarding other sites outside of the target domain.
Using Sub Domains with GEO Specific Key phrases – This strategy takes tons of links to gain expression, as each sub domain is essentially ranks like another site. HP for example has 50 subdomains and you can see that when conducting searches how many in fact are just extensions of their main domain hp.com.
For a juggernaut such as that, it is a valid strategy for SEO defense as well as market domination, but it takes time, energy and resources to implement and is not suggested for smaller organizations unless you have the time and energy to dedicate to the process.
Capping Link Flow and Sculpting Page Rank and Internal Links – Essentially, using the pages you have as a resource. Limiting outbound link juice from escaping by only using relevant anchor text and keeping the quality and quantity of links from page to page maximized through the use of no-follow, java script to exclude links from being crawled) and synchronizing the anchor text from Page A to the topic of Page B (which is the optimal target page).
Using Sitemaps – Using html or xml sitemaps are a great way to ensure that all of your pages are being crawled. The more pages indexed, the more ranking potential your entire site can share with itself and search engines (granted there is enough link weight to distribute).
Using Site Architecture for SEO – In short, by carefully structuring your topics, categories and content, then combining is with impeccable co-citation of anchor text you can create the wikipedia effect (the ability to rank for multiple topics). Every time a keyword appears in your site, it is linked to the target page all about that keyword. Cross reference this with every keyword you want to rank for, go through the entire site and internally link this way and you will note that your site will require less external links to rank competitively for those phrases.
To gain true expression for this tactic, you still require focused external links going to the internal pages via deep linking, by the whole site can produce double rankings for the keyword in question (as long as the linking still incorporates a spine with a sitemap or homepage to reinforce relevance).
Obviously entire volumes could be written on any of the topics above, but instead of talking about it, I have to get back to work and implement strategies like this combined with dozens of others for our own site and our clients to fine tune results.
:: Source: SEO Design Solutions