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SEO – Factors You Have Control Over

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization or marketing, much has been made lately of changes that Google has been making in its algorithm. The algorithm changes have devastated the popularity and search engine ranking of some sites and have helped others. Regardless of where your site stands in this new reality, the truth of the matter is still the same. When it comes to SEO, there are things you can control and things that you can’t. We’re going to talk about the things you can control.

Completely under your control is the content on the site. Since the release of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, much has been made of content quality. Quality content enhances the knowledge, experience and life of the visitor. When striving for quality keep in mind that “freshness” is now a Google priority in content creation. Commenting on a new development, a hot issue, or new product will enhance your SEO status. Also, better is superior to more. It is more advantageous to post new content that is great twice a week than it is to post mediocre material once a day. Remember, if you focus on quality, it won’t matter what algorithm changes are rolled out. You’ll be ready!

Some of the things to take into consideration when creating quality content on your site include:

* Is it original? By original I mean is the information new. Are the ideas fresh? Do the conclusions deliver fresh analysis of the material presented? Is the material presented in essentially the same way somewhere else on the site (if it is, change it)? It’s a good idea to ask these questions as you develop your content.

* Your content should reflect that you are an expert in your field. Don’t write content that is superficial. Delve deeper into a subject to let your visitor know you are a trustworthy source of information on your topic.

* Make sure the articles are on topic in relation to the site. If you own a plumbing company, having articles about electrical maintenance wouldn’t be topical and wouldn’t make sense, regardless of quality.

* Watch your grammar. Incorrect spelling, poor punctuation, and poorly constructed sentences will send visitors fleeing and your efforts will be wasted. Google will notice the stampede away from your site.

* Don’t be obvious. Do your homework and deliver material that the average visitor is probably not aware of.

* Finally, quality must be uniform throughout the site. If you have pages on the site that don’t meet the above guidelines, consider deleting them or merging them with more useful pages. In baseball lingo, you want strong hitters throughout your lineup.

Content is what the visitor sees. Code is what the search engines see. This is where keywords become important. Keywords don’t have the gravitas they used to but they still carry impact. You should pick your keywords with care insuring that they accurately convey the purpose of the site and the message you’re trying to deliver. They should be placed in the title and description of the article or page. They should be in the headline and the first paragraph. After that use keywords only where appropriate and where they make sense. Don’t jam them into the article just to get them in more often. That would be counter-productive.

Site architecture is another thing you may be able to control depending on how or who set up your site. Generally, you want your site to be easy to navigate, both for the visitor and the search engines. Make sure your pages link in a logical order. Ensure there are no broken links. Broken links are bad. A sitemap is a useful tool to have. It helps search engines spiders find the appropriate information on your site. A 301 redirect code will help search engines find your site if it moves. It will help eliminate those nasty 404 messages. Social sharing buttons will help spread the word about your content, especially the quality content you are now delivering.

Those are the things you can control. There are SEO factors you can’t control, or don’t have full control of. But that subject is for another day.

About the author: J.A. Moffitt is the President of Elvin Web Marketing. Elvin Web Marketing is a full service online marketing company. Whether it’s getting on the first page of a Google search, improving your site content, blog writing, submitting your business to online directories, or social or email marketing, we can help! Call us at 203-882-0171. We now offer targeted ads on national websites. Visit our webpage at

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