7 C’s of SEO

Want to get found on Google? This article helps to shine a light on the mysterious black box of SEO so that everybody can be running on all 8 cylinders of search engine optimization.

There is somewhat of a cat and mouse game going on at Google.  Website owners try to stuff keywords and game the system to increase their chance of ranking high on Google.

Meanwhile, Google tries to keep its algorithm secret and devalue certain “signals” so that nobody can gain an extraordinarily competitive advantage.  Google, after all, makes is money selling links in its Sponsored Links section.  If it were too easy to rank naturally and organically then Google wouldn’t make as much money.

I have tried to sort out Google’s algorithm holistically so that if you work on all aspects of your search engine otpimization as if it were a complete ecosystem, then you stand a better chances of surviving changes to Google’s algorithm and hold your rankings.

I have organized my observations around what I call, The 7 C’s of Online Marketing.  It goes like this…

Crawlability

Crawlability is how easy it is for search engine spiders and robots to get inside your website … to scan the words, photos and videos; and to index that information in its archives…

To make your site more crawlable, try to avoid Flash and framesets.  If you have a robots.txt file, make sure is say “allow” and not “disallow” by mistake.  If you have the option of using text decorated rather than text imbeded in a JPG or GIF, do it.  Only use tables to display tabular data – not to layout the structure of your site.  Also, make sure your server and site is fast – Google stops crawling sites that are slow to load.

Credibility

Credibility has a lot to do with what other people, bloggers and webmasters have to say about you.  For example, the more references or citations to your website, the more credibility you have…

To gain more credibility, make sure you renew your domain name for as many years as you can afford. Write as many compelling articles as you can that people will want to link to.  Create as many social media profiles as you can and link back to your site.  Contribute articles on other websites, like Biznik, so you have an opportunity to link back to your site.  Try to gain the attention, citation and inbound links of academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and possible .gov sites.  Make sure your site is not hosted on the same server as gaming, gambling or adult content.

Content

Content is the actual words, pictures, links and data you have on your site.  One way search engines determine how relevant you are vis-à-vis a search it to study the content on your website…

To get more content, don’t make too much work for yourself.  I’d rather see four 500-word articles a month than one 2,000 word article.  So, focus on short, concise articles with catchy headlines that gets your point across quickly.  Maybe you can hire some guest bloggers.  Once, I held a logo design contest and it created a huge surge of user generated content.

Code

Code refers to the extra emphasis you place on Content behind the scene. Among other things, it involves meta tags, title tags, headings, hyperlinks, bullet lists and other techniques to bring more attention to specific words…

Make sure you pay attention to Title tags.  Every page of your site should have a unique, concise page title.  Photos should have alt text and videos should have accompanying transcripts.  Leverage your headings tags instead of simply increasing the font size.  Make sure your URLs are both people- and search-engine-friendly.

Conversation

Conversation is all about social media. How many people have bookmarked you? How many have shared you on Facebook? How many have Tweeted about you? Is anybody buzzing about your website?

Make sure you have social media share chicklets on your site.  You want to make it easy for people to bookmark your site on Delicious and Stumbleupon.  Make it easy to share a link to your site on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.  Make sure you have a blog and leave your comments open.  Stoke conversation.

Competition

Competition refers to a couple of things. First, how many other websites are doing the same thing you are doing?  The more competitors there are, the more difficult to rank on search engines…

The more competitive a keyword phrase is, the more difficult it’s going to be to rank high on Google.  Make sure you go for the long-tail keyword phrases.  Besides, a more sophisticated consumer in the advanced stages of making their buying decision will likely use a long-tail keyword search term to find you anyway.  So, it’s a win-win situation.

I would, for example, focus my attention on the long-tail keyword phrase, “Washington DC SEO Expert” rather than simply “SEO Expert.”  People and business owners in DC would be my target market anyway.  Speaking of which, what happens when you Google, “Washington DC SEO expert”?  Who ranks first?

Conversion

Conversion refers to a couple of things. First, it is the content within the description tag, which is appears on Google results page.  This information helps a person decide whether or not to click onto your site…

Every page should have an elevator pitch style description.  The meta content=”description” tag is what influences the little snippe of information on Google’s search results page. A well-written description tag could be the difference between somebody clicking onto your site or onto the next one.

So, if you want to get found on Google…

… and want to stay found on Google, you need to do a lot of different things right.  If you can hit it on all 8 cylinders (actually, I have an 8th C of online marketing – Compliance – as in Section 508 Compliance for web accessibility) then you can not only work towward dominating your most coveted keyword phrase but you can also stay there regardless of what other people do and regardless of how Google changes its algorith.

Would love to get your feedback on this.