Inc.’s recent article How to Use Google to Improve Your SEO brings up a good point: chances are you’re already using Google to help you find what you’re looking for online–but are you using it to help others find your business?
The article opens with a summary of three fundamental SEO practices:
1) Getting as many high-quality sites to link back to you.
2) Making sure that the other sites linking to you contain relevant keywords that you would like to rank on. “If you want to reach a high search engine ranking for ‘Chicago tutors,’ for example, your best links would come from other sites that also rank well for that search term,” suggests Inc.
3) Posting keyword-rich content and integrating those keywords into your site’s title tags and meta descriptions.
If you’re new to the world of SEO, you’re probably wondering how to go about choosing keywords that are relevant to your business. That’s where Google AdWords Keyword Tool comes in. It will help you identify the terms that people looking for your type of business are searching on. The tool generates lists of keywords that allow you to compare search volume and level of competition for different terms. The article’s author, J.J. McCorvey, recommends complementing your keyword research by using Google Trends, which allows you to see the search patterns for a given word over time.
So, you’ve gotten a respectable number of incoming links, identified the right keywords and integrated these words into your site’s content and meta data–now what? How do you measure your newly optimized site’s performance? McCorvey points us to the metrics tool Google Analytics. It provides a plethora of stats such as bounce rate, or percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page, average time spent on site and more.
The other performance analysis tool, Google Webmaster, has a Diagnostics feature that can help you identify weaknesses in your site’s meta data, crawlability and more. Its Statistics arm, meanwhile, analyzes incoming traffic, including which search queries bring visitors to your site. This information enables you to go back and tweak your content so that it optimized on the best-performing keywords.
McCorvey goes on to say that the beauty of Google’s SEO tools (besides the fact that they are free!) is the ability to use them in conjuction with one another. As an example, McCorvey points to Google Analytics, whose data you can use “in conjunction with Google’s Website Optimizer, which enables split testing of modified pages. After you’ve made improvements to a page, you can set the Website Optimizer so that a certain amount of viewers see the old version of the page, and use Google Analytics to compare and analyze the results.”
McCorvey closes with a reference to the SEO mantra “Content is King,” the importance of which shouldn’t be forgotten as you get better and better at using Google’s optimization tools. If the Keyword Tool tells you that a given term gets a high number of searches and it “…isn’t extensively covered on your website, maybe it’s worthwhile to churn out a couple more pages on that topic.”