June 3, 2011

SEO in a Nutshell

I am writing this post for those who are entering the world of SEO. This should give you a brief framework and some key tactics to consider for a successful SEO strategy.

Remember it's not an overnight process, it requires consistency to reap the fruits. 

Before we get into the details, you need to keep an eye on some major changes happening in the search marketing industry now. This article talks about Google's new algorithm changes and how it affected search engine results. 

Alright, lets do this! Basically there are two sides of SEO; On-site (stuff you do on your website) and off-site (stuff you do off your website, in other words "link building"). I will highlight some main points and tactics in each section.  

On-site SEO
  • Keyword research for the website, every page would have a set of keywords with main focus on one or two key-phrases. For that you can use tools like Google Insights and Google keyword tool. Also consider keyword variations like singular vs plural, word order, and US/UK variations. 
  • Do some competition analysis, see what keywords your competitors are using and generate ideas from there. They most probably did some research, use that.
  • Ensure those keywords are placed in page titles, meta tags, headings, body content of the page, anchor text, alt tags for images, and in the URL.
  • Create robots.txt file and sitemap.xml 
  • Work with Google Webmaster Tools to make sure you are on the right track. 
  • Validate the site using Markup Validation Service to make sure it's free of errors. 
  • Make sure URLs are user-friendly for search engines as well as users. An example of a user-friendly URL would be http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports. Example of a non user-friendly URL would be http://econsultancy.com/f=83&t=475723.  

Off-site SEO
  • Get your website on relevant directory listings (consider Google's new algorithm).
  • Post articles to relevant article sharing sites (consider Google's new algorithm).
  • Post press releases to press releases sites (consider Google's new algorithm).
  • Competitor backlinks using tools like Open Site Explorer and Yahoo Site Explorer.
  • Submit whitepapers, reports, and case studies to document sharing sites like Slideshare or Scribd.
  • Interact on industry relevant forums with links back to your website.
  • Post job vacancies on high traffic job sites linking back to your website.
  • Blog and interact on other blogs with links back to your website.
  • Search engines are now giving weight to social signals (links from social media), you have to consider being active on social media. 

Monitor Performance

You don't have to be a super technical IT guy to do all of this but you need to have a good understanding of SEO from a marketing viewpoint as well as technical to a certain extent. 

Have you worked in SEO? What other clever tactics you can do to boost your rankings? Let me know in the comments below.


  1. Great post. I've been doing a lot of work with the off site side of seo to get my site out there, but for the most part have neglected on-site seo services because I was a little unsure exactly what to do. Thanks for providing a little bit more insight in to what exactly I need to do within my blog to get it out there more. Thanks

  2. It looks like Google's new algorithm has changed a lot about off-site seo services. What kind of changes should we expect to be making? I've looked at the panda update stuff but it's hard for me to make any sense of it. Hopefully they didn't make it harder on us.

  3. Hi Rogerburns,
    Much attention is now given to social signals and its impact on search rankings, the user experience on the site, things like internal linking and loading speed.
    It actually makes the process more fun I guess, no more intensive article writing, press releases, and directory submissions, it's now more about earned media and PR.