SEO – part art, part science.
‘Driving traffic’ is my always on my mind when building or re-building a website. There’s no point in even having a website if no-one can find it!
Start with great content.
There are plenty of theories about what constitutes ‘great web content‘ – content which will get the attention of Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the other “search engines”. I’ve always relied on my instincts and simply created content that is relevant to the ‘product’ on the site and that is interesting for your visitors to read or look at. It seems to work – my sites are regularly on Page 1 Google for their relevant search terms.
Add some “off site” SEO.
There are also many traditional “off site” elements to SEO – social media, links from other sites, directory listings and so on. These are still relevant and must be part of any SEO strategy.
Maybe a little PPC advertising?
Paid “pay per click” (PPC) advertising like Google AdWords can be a useful tactic in the early stages of a site’s existence, especially if you have a lot of established online competition. Spending some money up front to drive targetted traffic to a new website can be a good investment and I can certainly help with setting up your account and getting a campaign going.
As a general rule I prefer not to rely on PPC advertising long-term – there is plenty of evidence to show that people prefer to click on “organic” results (the ones that naturally show up). Also, it’s getting very expensive. So, I don’t specialise in PPC but there are plenty of others who do.
And finish with great content.
Recent major changes in Google’s methods of ranking sites in their search results caught a lot of people out. The ‘Penguin’, ‘Panda’ and ‘Hummingbird’ algorithms fundamentally altered the way SEO is practiced and many, many website owners found their sites literally disappearing from Google’s results – devastating for those selling online or relying on regular traffic for the success of their business.
Several web designers I know were hit hard, and their clients suffered. I’m happy to say that, as far as I know, none of my sites were hit by these algorithm changes and I’m convinced that it’s because I’ve always relied on good honest content to do the SEO work for me, rather than the many and various ‘SEO tricks’ that have been popular over the years. And, coincidentally, ‘good honest content’ is exactly what Google now looks for when ranking websites.
Oh, and a little techie stuff.
Description tags, page titles, image meta … I know about those things too.