Search Engine Optimization: Art or Science?
Shama Hyder Kabani has discussed in her book, ‘The Zen of Social Media Marketing (2012)’, how SEO is the process of improving one’s visibility on search engines like, Google and Yahoo. It turns visitors into leads, and leads into conversions. It is different from traditional marketing because it targets a narrow audience. Only those people who are exactly looking for what you have to offer are targeted. One of the things that need to be kept in mind is ‘relevancy’; Google ranks your content if it’s relevant and informative for the readers. So the question is, how to increase the relevancy of your content in order to be rated high in search engine rankings? Here are a few tips, given by Shama Hyder Kabani in her book:
Identify your target audience and then try to figure out all the potential keywords that the targeted audience might use or put in search engines. For instance, the youth is more likely to search about sports, cosmetics, entertainment etc. Although these are stereotypical assumptions, they are sometimes very useful in getting a fair idea of the target market’s psyche. Moreover, use Google Keyword Suggestion Tool. Download all the search words displayed in this tool for any keyword of your choice. You can discover what the customers are actually searching for, and which keyword has the highest global monthly searches. If you know what your target market is searching for, you can better adapt according to your market requirements by creating content that consists of the most popular keywords.
Technical Issues with your site:
If your site has a faulty navigation system or has pages that no longer exist, Google and other search engines would not list your site in their search database. You must deal with this issue extremely diligently. You can hire a professional to design the site architecture for you if you don’t know how to do it yourself. Usually, many platforms today allow a website to be accessed for free, but most people don’t know how to make that site grow after the initial set up. Use the Google Webmaster Central to ensure that your site is search-engine friendly. It will quickly identify issues with your website, such as malware and broken links that are preventing it from being listed in search engines. Always be up to date and make sure that your site is linked to sites that have not been deleted. If your site is linked to pages that no longer exist, Google penalizes you by not listing your site in its search engine.
On page factors include: page content, title tag, url, image Alt text etc. To get higher rankings in SERPs, on page and off page optimization both are crucial.
Link-building should be credible, that is, your site must be linked to pages that are well-known in the industry. If your site is linked to some other site that was only created recently, it might reduce your chances of being taken seriously, let alone being listed in a search engine. You can always build links by networking with bloggers. Engaging with people on social networks, like Facebook, and micro-blogging services, like Twitter and Tumblr, can also prove to be fruitful. Moreover, participating in forums that are relevant to your industry can also help in building links. In order to influence the social media platform fully and properly, it is advised to research well and learn about the dynamic social marketing environment before entering it. You can also participate in sites that offer Q&A facilities like Yahoo Answers, WikiAnswers etc. This will ensure that you build your community, and not technically build links with other sites, without them noticing that you are linking to them. It is important, therefore, that a person fully interacts with the community that he/she is trying to link with, and make them participate on your blog or website in whatever way possible. This will not just help to create such networks, but will also retain them for the future.
These are just a few of the tips that Shama Hyder Kabani has to offer in her book. Search engine optimization has truly gained unprecedented importance over the last few years, and definitely needs to be taken seriously. It can rightly be concluded from Kabani’s analysis that SEO is a unique combination of both art and science.