The 3 golden rules of SEO

3 simple rules to making a search-engine success of your website.

Most of our clients presume that keyword stuffing is all that's involved in search engine optimisation.  

We think your website is possibly the least important part of your SEO strategy and so we thought we'd provide our 3 golden rules of seo here for all to see in order to put that fallacy to bed for good.

1: Quantity of inbound links - Volume

Think of your website like a celebrity. There are two basic principals at play here:

  1. Volume
    The more you are discussed the more important you must be.
     
  2. Importance
    The more important the people are who are discussing you the more important you must be by association.

This is the underlying principal that lead two students, Laurence Page & Sergey Brin, to invent a thing called Google, a search engine that used link citation or references to describe a graph of importance known as PageRank.

If lots of important websites refer to your website that makes your website more important which makes Google, Yahoo and Bing more likely to send people to you.

2: Quality of inbound links - Context

Quantity isn't enough on it's own so you need to make sure that inbound links are of good quality too.  

There are three areas to consider here;

  1. Website Context
    If there are links from David Beckham's blog and the Manchester United website to your website it's safe to assume your website is within the "context" of football.
     
  2. Link Content
    If David writes the following "and so if you want find a great football shirt shop then they're the best" then it's safe to assume that your website is a football shirt shop.
     
  3. Link Depth
    If David links to your home-page that's great but if he links to a specific, page deep within your site ( like mywebsite.com/football/shirts/ ) then it's safe to assume that this page is more specifically related to the subject.

The second point is vitally important.  This link is independent, descriptive and trustworthy.

The content and context of links on other people's websites is far more useful to Google than the content of your own pages because it's independent and so can be trusted a little more than the content on your own site.

3: Your website - Phrasing & Markup  

Last, and - yes - least, is your website itself.  Your website is, of course, really important but we can't stress enough that it's the least important of our 3 golden rules of SEO. 

When optimising your website there are, again, two things to consider:

  1. Phrasing
    Think about the phrases people use when searching for your service.  The more closely the phrases of your website mirror the phrases people use when searching the more likely you are to appear.
     
  2. Markup
    Make sure every page of your website has a good title and that you're using headings correctly.  You need to turn off all graphics & CSS to get an idea of this though.

What your website looks like ( to the average visitor ) is irrelevant to getting people through the door.  You need to treat Google as if it were a visually impaired visitor - it can't see any of your images.  Additionally it doesn't run scripts and it doesn't fill in forms.  Making your website accessible and optimising it for search engines is really the same thing. 

Is that it then?

Of course not - there's a massive amount more to say on the subject and this is as good a place as any to start

I'll be adding a 4th and 5th rule shortly.  These are a little more technical but explain a little about what to tackle first to get the best results.

In the meantime if you think I've missed anything let me know!

Write a comment.

Responses. (2)

  1. J M

    Jim

    Update: Google's use of Meta Keyword data

    While doing a little research I came across the following article.

    This is specific to Meta (Keyword) tags but underlines the thrust of this article which is that the independence of keywords is of paramount importance to Google and those keywords which appear on your website are not independent.

    http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-does-not-use-keywords-meta-tag.html

  2. J G

    Joseph

    Always great advice...

    Solid advice and good in-depth information.

    I agree that quality links back to your site is a major factor in SEO planning.

    The biggest issue I face is that I am not sure what is the best approach to getting quality links to my web site. My network is not yet established and I am not sure how acceptable it is to start asking site owners to link to my website without them getting to know me.

    Any tips? Perhaps a future post?

    Thanks