by Dave Curtis on 04/29/2015

Basic to Advanced Resources For Conducting Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization in Tampa Bay is No Different From Optimization Anywhere Else. The same rules apply here. Google Analytics used to be the one big advantage every SEO had when it came to free resources, but no more. Since 2014 Google has reduced the number of search results provided based on keywords so that now there are almost no more indications of what the site visitor was searching for when coming to the site. What that means is that there is no way to use Google Analytics to find out which keywords and phrases were working, and which ones weren’t. If most people are arriving to the site on a particular page (outside of the home page, of course) then it’s going to be a guess as to exactly what on that page might have led them there, and if that page is ranked 3 or 5 on page one, no way to know for certain which phrases need to be focused on to help it rank even higher.

So today it is a combination of paid and free resources including Google Adwords (paid), Word Tracker (paid), MajesticSEO (paid), Raven Tools (paid), a dozen or so site analytics utilities (some paid, some free, some partially free with advanced options paid). These tools include:

Rank Checker, Website Health Check (what’s wrong with your existing site that throws up red flags), Duplicate Content Checker (red flag – Find pages that contain sentences matching what you enter), Keyword Tool, Hub Finder (Finds pages that link to competing sites are likely to link to your site.), Local Rank, SEO Site Planner, Keyword Comparison Tool, Find out where your competitors are succeeding in search, Keyword List Generator (paid and free), Keyword List Cleaner, Robots.txt Tools (server side hidden file) Robots.txt generator & robots.txt analyzer, Server Header Checker to Verify your server is sending the correct headers, Spider Test Tool (View your web page like a search engine spider.), Page Comparison Tool (Compare your web page to competing pages to find keywords.), Ad Group Generator (Generate ad groups to upload to AdWords and adCenter.), Keyword Wrapper (Quickly wrap keywords), Typo Generator (Generate mispelled keywords based on common typing errors.)

The Most Valuable Resource – The Site Audit

After the use of all or most of those tools are used, the most valuable Search Engine Optimization resource is the properly conducted and correctly interpreted Site Audit. The site audit is a thorough diagnosis of every competing website on page one in Google done to determine what the competition is doing, how many pages each site has, how many backlinks are pointing to each page within the competing site, the ranks of the sites linking to those pages, the amount and quality of the content on those competing sites, the length and depth of those pages, the number of internally cross-linked pages within those sites, and the data structure of those competing sites.

The site audit using rented server time and free tools provides a dozen or so raw data sheets of information regarding the reasons why the competition outranks every other website on all of the other pages of Google. The site audit is like a nautical chart which shows where the rocks are and which channels are clear sailing. The site map alone won’t do anything if the site itself isn’t optimized to outperform the competition’s websites. Think of it as a yacht race. Your yacht has to be designed to beat theirs, so not only do you have to stay within the channels, but you also have to be built to win.

These are the resources used by me as a working SEO, and depending on budget more or less of the paid ones will be used. Serious companies of any size know quality counts, and know that to succeed in business the mantra is “location, location, location”. Google’s page one is the number one location to be, and any business with a head on its shoulders know that location doesn’t come cheap. You get what you pay for, but there are no guarantees. A business selling baskets won’t do as well as one selling iPhones, yet iPhones are harder to rank for because businesses selling them spend a lot more on Search Engine Optimization to make the money.

Both paid and free diagnostic tool options available to fully conduct proper investigations of sites prior to and during optimization.

Please read the other pages on the topic of what is required for SEO to proceed properly:

Main Mobile Friendly “Responsive Website” Article

SEO Resources – The tools of the trade. Nobody owns them, everybody leases them (why “$200 whole site optimization” is a bad joke).
SEO Strategy – It starts with the Site Audit: There is no strategy unless we know both our own and the competition’s strengths and weaknesses.
SEO Execution – The nitty gritty.
SEO Solutions – Whether doing it over time in stages or continually, content is king.