What is in your arsenal to help the search engines find your content?
Do you have a special military-style unit capable of striking the Internet with speed and precision, giving you highly valued search results above the competition? Before you drop the bomb on SEO, check out these five tips that will change you from an unknown victim to an organized search engine commando capable of saving the day.
First, amass your arsenal. Our list of special search weapons include some paid-for tools but also many free resources. My favorite weapons include the W3C Validator and the Google suite of tools, comprising Analytics, AdWords, Autocomplete, Social Reports, Trends, and Webmaster Tools. Paid tools include Majestic SEO for link reports, SpyFu, and NUVI Social Media Monitoring.
Next, prepare your tactical operations tactics. Prune bad links, research available data, go mobile, keep your website up to modern standards, update your social information, and monitor and build your SWAT network using the appropriate social media channels.
Finally, when fighting the bad guys, don’t shoot first and ask questions later; be prepared with these five tips:
1. Evade linking penalties:
When the SWAT team is called in for low-quality links, you’d better be prepared. If your website was hurt this year from the most recent algorithm updates, it could be because you have a bad link portfolio. The weapon of choice would be Majestic SEO to conduct a full link report. Once you identify the bad links, take charge by contacting the link owner to have it removed—or, if unsuccessful, go directly to Google Webmaster Tools
to disavow the link. Perform a full sweep to ensure the perimeter is safe. Disavow by domain, not by individual pages, and disregard all future orders to buy links.
2. Recovering stolen property; missing keyword data:
A thief has stolen your keyword data; how do you get it back? Use multiple weapons including Google Autocomplete to research related keyword phrases, Google AdWords to research the value of your determined keywords, and Google Webmaster Tools to track impressions and clicks. The main SWAT tactic is to look at all the available data around you to determine a functional workaround to fill in the gaps.
3. Update the webpage layout:
The bad guys have hidden money, but you can’t find it. Weapon of choice would be to make sure your website is in compliance with W3C Validator
. Compliance is necessary for search spiders to index your site. With the world going mobile, don’t let your squadron fall behind. Make your website capable of responsive design for users on portable devices. Decrease resistance in accessing your mobile side; then watch your returns grow. Your SWAT tactic is to keep your webpages simple while striving for the best user experience.
4. Use the knowledge graph:
A terrorist organization is trying to discredit the SWAT team; you must share information with the public about your organization. Weapons of choice would be Google Profile and Wikipedia. The SWAT tactic is to make sure your profile is up to date, because for most people that is what Google will showcase in the search results. For more noteworthy organizations, Wikipedia is another primary showcase. Don’t forget your other fronts. Bing’s version of the knowledge graph is called “Snapshot” and uses information from Klout as well as direct feeds from other social networks.
5. Social media monitoring:
The bad guys are networking within their evil empire, attacking your reputation across the globe. So, what are they saying about you? Weapons of choice would include the easy to access and free of charge Google Social Reports, which enables you to track social media interaction for your website. Also consider the fee-based comprehensive global monitoring program NUVI.
The SWAT tactic is to monitor what is being said about your business and to use that information to protect your reputation and help build awareness and conversation around your organization. Not all social media channels are appropriate for your business, but if you know what people are saying, social media can reveal potential problems before they happen or can inspire ideas that will increase traffic. Business Wire uses NUVI for monitoring social media and finding important influencers that can enhance your brand or company.
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It is hard to fight crime—and even harder to keep up with the numerous daily changes from the search engines—but you are not alone. These strategies, tactics, and weapons will help you build a successful SEO program, which will protect you from long-term attacks by humans and algorithms alike.
Let us know what your favorite SWAT tactics are for SEO.
Fred Godlash is a marketing specialist at Business Wire. A 25-year freelance journalist that has covered everything from entertainment to technology, Fred is also a regular contributor to BusinessWired, the company's blog. Find him on Twitter @fredgodo.