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Your single best SEO strategy

     
9:40 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

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If you were to choose only one SEO strategy as the most recommended, what would be it? It is common knowledge that multiple factors play in multiple possible manners to affect SERP, but you are to recommend only one.

Mine would be focus on semantics. I have not read or heard this anywhere, just an intuition.
11:11 pm on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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My #1 tool is site architecture


netmeg, when you refer to site architecture, can you give some examples of the top items?

[edited by: tedster at 1:40 am (utc) on Feb 17, 2011]
[edit reason] (turning off email notices) [/edit]

11:16 pm on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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On a very basic level my stratagy is:

Quality content + quality markup = quality ranking site

Quality markup involves a lot of little things.

I almost always try for this:

<h1> being the first tag after the <body> tag with keywords.

<p> be the next element after the <h1> tag with the first 3-5 words being keywords... then the rest of the text content in <p> tags...

after content <p> tags, nav links in a <ul>....

then the skin (graphic layout) elements... in that exact order.
11:22 pm on Feb 9, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to second netmeg's vote for site architecture.

Of course you have to have content, and of course you have to have links, that virtually goes without saying. The tricky bit is how you categorize your content. Good taxonomy goes a long way.
12:03 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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netmeg, when you refer to site architecture, can you give some examples of the top items?


Think organization and navigation.
12:30 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Focus on great content for your visitors and mark up that content with microformats for search engines.
12:40 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm going to second netmeg's vote for site architecture.


I've often wondered why people bothered with XML sitemaps. If you plan a half decent site architecture, they're not necessary.
4:15 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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A good internal linking structure.
4:32 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'd start with a solid technical framework. You'd be amazed at how many SEO strategies go to waste because of wrong redirects etc.
4:54 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Site architecture<=>technical framework<=>good internal linking structure

any other terminologies?
5:48 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Unique content. Stuff people will bookmark and link to without being asked.

I feel that as time goes on the search engines will give less weight to links and more weight to a wider variety and more sophisticated ranking metrics.
7:10 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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My one strategy would be following the Google webmaster guidelines.

What you say?
7:30 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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site architecture - particularly mini-pyramids below each topic you want to rank for.

e.g. if we want to rank for a topic we don't just publish random articles in in the site, but we create an internal home page for that topic with subpages below it, both in link flow and url structure. so each section in our site becomes it's own mini-site.

breadcrumb navigation really helps reinforce this.

love the site-search tip tedster!
8:24 am on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I feel that as time goes on the search engines will give less weight to links


I hope so because the present web is not the same as 10 years ago where most content was published and linked by relatively competent and responsible webmasters. Now content is made popular in web 2.0 sites by regular people where links are nofollowed and the content is usually copied.
12:52 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Single SEO strategy- Look at your site through "google goggles" and have an SEO budget to develop and execute an integrated strategy: content development, inbound links, analysis tools, site architecture & internal linking, design and conversion, and social media. It's been awhile since I heard organic search referred to as "free"... those who get results know it's an investment in time and resources.
2:55 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Im going back to "grassroots marketing". Knocking on doors, cold calling, sending out samples. Make folks aware of our site that way.

With the SE, you never no whats around the corner. Its not a safe bet unless you a big Brand.
4:20 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The single best SEO strategy is reading WebmasterWorld forums and Blackhatworld forums daily.

I found out about that forum a week ago and found it quite interesting. Bit like evil vs good.

Really surprised it's Alexa rank is 490 compared to WebmasterWorld at 700. Why is evil (blackhat) winning over good (whitehat)? lol?
4:37 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Really surprised it's Alexa rank is 490 compared to WebmasterWorld at 700. Why is evil (blackhat) winning over good (whitehat)? lol?


Because people want to believe that running Xrumer is the key to internet riches. They bought an ebook from a guy who makes $6545 a day on the Interwebs in his underwear. Easy money, just put up an affiliate site and spam blogs for backlinks.

The problem with WebmasterWorld is that the people here tell you to do hard work and build quality. That is much less exciting that making millions in your spare time. Blackhatforums are filled with people that want to be black hats, some people that lie about being successful blackhats, and maybe a couple people that know what they are doing - but they aren't sharing their good tricks.

As for the OPs question, the single best on page thing that I have seen is getting the Title right. Especially if the niche is not that competitive. I also have seen a lot of sites that don't redirect pages when the site changes. Fix those for a quick boost.
4:44 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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For those who may be trying what I have pointed out earlier in this thread and want to find your site in the mountain of results once it gets indexed this is the quickest way to search for it:

inurl:"w3.org"+www.example.com
8:55 pm on Feb 10, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Your single best SEO strategy


No brainer for me.

Unparking very nice domains and begin adding articles, the content of which is of some real value to most visitors.

Now, if I could just get a little more "Attaboy, Webwork!" ranking upticks of encouragement from the SEs, for starting to do justice to these domains by unparking them . .

I guess that would be the outcome of what's called "real SEO", huh? :P
3:48 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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OP
If you were to choose only one SEO strategy what would be it?
  • Mine would be focus on semantics.
    I have not read or heard this anywhere, just an intuition.
  • Just googled and found a seo provider' page titled "Semantic SEO":
    We use Content Strategies, Syndication, Meaningful Markup, and an assortment of SEO techniques and strategies coupled with emergent Semantic Web tools and technologies to radically increase Return on Investment for our clients.
    (lots of fancy stuff..)

    IMHO, there's NO "only one strategy". To reduce the burdon, I would prefer content plus content plus links and then repeat.

    Validated html is just another item in the list, as is robots.txt, good site structure, and meta=description... If you choose "only" validated html, it will make no major difference in serps.
    6:55 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    Because people want to believe that running Xrumer is the key to internet riches.


    It might NOT be the key to internet riches. And many people in those forums will certainly lie about its efficacy.

    However, on these webmasterworld forums you will find many webmasters who were knocked out of the top spots by people scraping content, using Xrumer and spamming forums, blogs and profile pages. So, while it may not be the magic key, it certainly has dethroned a lot of "legitimate" web sites from the top spots.

    In fact, if it weren't so effective, why is google re-dedicating itself to fighting spam?
    10:39 am on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    it certainly has dethroned a lot of "legitimate" web sites from the top spots


    For a short while maybe.
    1:30 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    Is it possible that links are now NOT the king of ranking?
    But the thing is - I just have like 300 links and they are nice and hot - but my competitor has 40 or so cold ones - hes at 1 and im at 7 or so.
    My domain is a few months older.
    It make me wonder whether hes done something "else" which I havent done


    I feel you MrFewkes. I'm in the same boat. 300 natural links. Got passed by the competition. The one thing they all have in common is size. I remained small while they got huge. Obviously, size is very important to Google. Which is measured by what? Links. Page count. Is that it? Anything else Google would use to to measure size?
    2:11 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    Not fixated on SEO right now - just working on Social, Word of Mouth, direct marketing, and other advertising. Focusing on "not search" has helped all of our 'not search' signals. In other words: we started hitting all the signals outside of search that helped our search. I feel it takes 10 hours of SEO work to equal the results of 1 hour of traditional marketing.
    2:34 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    links
    3:21 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    I feel it takes 10 hours of SEO work to equal the results of 1 hour of traditional marketing.


    In the short term yes probably so. But, when done properly, SEO will produce long lasting benefits that require only slight upkeep whereas with traditional marketing you have to keep grinding away at it. SEO will then be chugging away on cruise control.

    And certainly I'm not talking about SEO in the way most think of it -- from the popularity game. That approach is too volatile. I'm referring to building a very solid foundation internally -- content, architecture, applied technologies, server environment. Only after every last drop of performance has been milked should we then look outside the domain for boosting factors.
    5:13 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    In principle, I've been moving more over to Brett's way of thinking this year. Like everyone who does client work, I get a lot of "make me rank, make me rank" emphasis on search in marketing, but what I have to keep explaining over and over is that search doesn't create demand

    If nobody knows about you, or what you're doing, or what you're providing, then they're not searching for you yet. Search is reactive, not proactive, and that's just too passive for me. Of course it has its place, and its an important one. But too many people wanna leapfrog traditional marketing (creating awareness) to concentrate on search (being found), and then throw up their hands when it doesn't work.
    6:08 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    @netmeg Do you really think that valid HTML helps rankings if the site architecture is otherwise optimized and Google can find and crawl the content? I've heard both sides of the debate and have certainly had no problem ranking sites #1 for competitive terms when the site has a ton of validation errors. Also, valid to which DOCTYPE?
    6:13 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    @tedster great tip on the site search. I've mined that before for long tail terms and synonyms that I wasn't ranking for and then went after them. I've also used it simply for deciding what products to offer. If people are coming to your site and looking for products you don't have, think about offering them. If you can't offer them, instead of returning a "no results" page, put up a page with some decent info and some affiliate links to sites that do (or even "gasp" PPC ads for those products).
    6:19 pm on Feb 11, 2011 (gmt 0)

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    @WebWork you say
    Unparking very nice domains and begin adding articles, the content of which is of some real value to most visitors.

    Now, if I could just get a little more "Attaboy, Webwork!" ranking upticks of encouragement from the SEs, for starting to do justice to these domains by unparking them . .


    Are you saying that launching "very nice" exact match domains with good content is NOT working for getting the sites to rank? I'd love to hear your recent experiences with that. Mainly because I have a ton of great parked domains I could experiment with :)
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