Google Webmaster Tools’ Advice For Creating An SEO Strategy

In a video recently posted on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Maile Ohye (the Developer Programs Tech lead at the company), discussed a beginner’s approach to building an SEO strategy for a website. Whilst this is, by no means, the amount of work that can be completed by an SEO professional, it is certainly a start for anyone interested in optimisation.

Ohye outlines 4 steps to building an SEO Strategy:

  • Understanding the ‘searcher persona’ workflow

    Basically, people will search for a particular query and will then select a website from the ranking and display shown. They will then read the page content and will be drawn in by the conversation and motivation. It is important to create a seamless searcher workflow.

  • Determining company and website goals

    Ask yourself a number of questions – what is your business’ goal? What can your product or service do that no one else can? What does success look like? What components are involved? How does your website play a part in this success? What do your competitors do well?

  • Auditing the site to best reach the audience

    You need to think about what sorts of groups you are targeting and where they are located. Then, think about their objectives and whether their query terms match your content. There is no point in saying “search friendly” when everyone searches for “SEO”.

  • Executing and making improvements

    You can use Google Webmaster Tools to further monitor and optimise your website. Improve search with better marketing, improve your page content to upsell your products or services, and offer a great experience and remarketing to encourage repeat customers.

Unfortunately, there are a number of obstacles that must be faced when creating an SEO plan or even just an online strategy. Fortunately, Ohye outlines many of these in the video (including people only being concerned with their own role and needing to know what sites competitors are linking to) and provides a few suggestions on how to overcome them.

Can You Build A Website That Incorporates Both SEO And Flash?

seo and flash website incorporationIt is common knowledge that Flash-based websites and search engine optimisation (SEO) aren’t exactly a match made in heaven; search engines have extreme difficulty accessing information that is contained in Flash, often making for websites that rank fairly poorly. By using the following SEO techniques, however, you might be able to help a Flash-based site rank a little better:

  • Create a detailed sitemap of your website. A sitemap is basically an XML file that provides search engines with a list of all the pages contained within a single website. This gives the spiders something to index.
  • Include descriptive page titles and metadata tags, as you would with any SEO strategy. Make sure that your tags include keywords relevant to the page and your website as a whole.
  • Utilize a Javascript library known as SWFObject, which allows designers to insert HTML code behind the Flash portions of a website. This gives the spiders something to index without being unethical.
  • Implement a deep linking strategy that aims to get other websites to link back to yours. This is a hugely useful SEO strategy that could benefit Flash-based and HTML websites alike.

The above tips only scrape the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the SEO techniques and strategies that can be used in conjunction with a Flash-based website. It is important to keep in mind, however, that all the SEO in the world will not make a Flash website rank better than a HTML one; Flash was just not made to be optimised.

Myth – SEO Is Dead

SEO MythsHave you ever spoken to someone involved with the creation of websites who has adamantly told you that search engine optimization (SEO) is dead? The person who told you this is most likely basing their assumption on the fact that Google constantly makes changes to their algorithm, but this hasn’t changed the importance or validity of SEO in the slightest.

Like the belief that content should be placed higher up the page in order to rank well, the old “SEO is dead” myth is one of the oldest ones in the book and is frequently thrown out there whenever drastic changes are made in the way that Google indexes website content. This doesn’t mean that SEO is dead, it simply means that the way we optimise content needs to change and that new techniques replace old, outdated ones.

Still not convinced? Then, perhaps you or the company you have employed to undertake your SEO strategy are using some of the black hat techniques that Google regularly changes its algorithm to stamp out. Have you been hiding content by repeating your keywords over and over in white text on a white background? Have you been creating websites with no content, then linking to it a bunch of times to achieve rankings? Have you been stuffing your content full of keywords to the point where it has been over-optimized? You can no longer hide from Google behind these techniques – instead, your SEO strategy needs to become cleverer and more ethical.

Do not listen to the naysayers who will proclaim that SEO is dead until they’re blue in the face, because it is simply not true. Whilst there are techniques that have been historically beneficial for SEO, they are no longer achieving the results they once were. Instead of SEO being dead, however, it is just simply time to move on to new techniques and strategies. As long as there are search engines, there will be SEO.