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The second part of my guide on how to optimise a site page; last time it was on-page content, now it’s building strength through links.
Last week I started a little experiment that would hopefully also serve as a good example for ongoing blog posts. To quickly summarise, I simply wrote about how to optimise content to achieve better rankings, (somewhat clumsily) using the term SEO Southampton as the keyword.
However, even as a Copywriter I’m fully aware that website optimisation doesn’t end with the production of content. This is only the first step (potentially of many,) and so shouldn’t be treated as the end of your optimisation endeavour.
The purpose of my previous SEO Southampton post therefore wasn’t (solely) to get a new ranking for a targeted term, it was to serve as a living example. And so far the experiment is going rather well.
Straight in at number 20 on Google, the content (coupled with domain strength) had done its job. Over the past few days it has risen yet further, now sitting in a none-too-shabby 11th in Google and a comfortable 10th on Bing. Good news and something of a relief too.
But I’m not happy with it languishing down in the lower reaches of page one/top of two. Okay, so it’s actually eclipsed the homepage of a number of sites already, but there’s plenty more in the tank for this one. I’m a greedy man and I want more. So in this follow up post I will attempt to explain the next step on the optimisation process, with a few actionable process and potential issues thrown in for good measure.
Just to go over a few points made in the first SEO Southampton post, this is an experiment folded into an example flattened out to become something of a usable guide for any site owner. It may appear convoluted or even overly complex, but hopefully by developing living proof of how SEO techniques can increase rankings, it will serve to show that anything really is possible with applied effort.
It should be noted that there are issues with this test. Firstly, the blog post is being hosted on a PR 5 website and therefore would gain an automatic advantage over significantly weaker domains. As a result of this, it is also featured within Google News and will have a number of automatic internal links assigned to it. However, whilst this should be a consideration, it shouldn’t distract from the fundamentals of SEO that are being employed and the results seen.
As a blog post though it serves as a good example of how any pages, even those buried deep within a site, can achieve rankings through targeted optimisation. The next step for SEO Southampton, is to start building strength around the content. This means link building.
You will have already noticed that I’ve started this with a link through to the post using the primary keyword (SEO Southampton) as the anchor text. Internal linking will not only pass on some strength between site pages (particularly leading from pages with their own PR), it can also help with cementing the keyword targeting. Therefore by using the anchor text – rather than ‘click here’ – I’m effectively telling the search engine robots that this is the term most relevant to the target page.
So an optimised internal link structure is hugely important, but so too is your inbound link profile. As of yet I haven’t sent any links to the page from external sources, this means it is almost entirely reliant on the content and site strength. This kind of scenario isn’t uncommon for many websites, but is easily remedied.
You can source links from any number of sites. There are directories (specific to industry, location or even general), affiliated sites and a full array of content marketing opportunities. For a deep page on your site, particularly if competition levels are relatively low, you may only need a handful of links to achieve a noticeable increase in rankings. However, the more competitive your target term is then the more work you’ll have to do.
A strong link from a relevant source using targeted anchor text is the perfect outcome for any site owner. However, these tend to be few and far between. So it’s important that you try to tick off at least one out of the three.
For instance a link from a PR 8 site from a page that discusses an entirely unrelated subject with no anchor text will still provide value. Equally, a URL link from an average domain that has a strong contextual link to the target page can work wonders – a good reason for why many write hubs, articles and guest blogs. The number of links is vital, but so too are strength, context and anchor text.
So this is the next stage for the SEO Southampton blog post. Whilst the page has a decent ranking, it can be so much better. Failure to capitalise on its current standing could see it slip back down into obscurity. Therefore links must be sought and strength added. This may not guarantee a positive response, but it will be interesting to monitor over time. It is also what all you site owners should be doing.
If you’ve invested in content, as I did with the earlier example, then you can’t expect this to suffice. Online success isn’t about simply creating something great (not that I’m calling my post great), it’s about making sure that it gets seen. You might offer the best service in your industry, but if nobody ever hires you, what’s the point? This is what SEO is all about, and why hopefully there’s plenty to learn from the SEO Southampton experiment.
So keep an eye out for updates as I will be documenting everything that goes on – good or bad – at various junctures. All optimisation will be above board and I promise I won’t cheat.
Feel free to add to the conversation below or you can even follow me on Twitter – @ImpactCopy – and let me know what you think there.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.