Here at Haden Interactive, we are committed to data-driven SEO. But what does that mean? SEO is search engine optimization — making websites communicate well with search engines. Data-driven strategies are plans and actions determined not by a cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all process, but by data gathered from our clients’ websites. Strategies and tactics, we believe, should depend on the goals of the organizations we work with, the behavior of their visitors online, and the changes we see as we implement plans for them.
There are three main sources of information on SEO:
- best practices
- tips and tricks
- data — including first party, second party, and third party data
It makes sense to start with best practices:
Tips and tricks are of limited value. For one thing, they may be outdated. You can still find advice online and at meetups telling you to list your main keywords in the footer of your website. This is not useful.
SEO tips are often reminders of best practices, but they may also be actions that have worked well for a particular website in a particular industry. As a result, they may not be relevant to your specific situation.
Use common sense to vet tips you hear or read. Get blog post titles from conference agendas? Okay. That could be a fun brainstorming idea. Is it something that will really bring significantly more patients, clients, or customers to your website? Probably not. Geotarget ad extensions? That won’t affect your website’s SEO at all. Use TripAdvisor’s widget? Not for your dental office.
Sometimes the SEO tips you hear are actually shady practices. Tricks intended to game the system can get you penalized by Google.
So you should approach tips and tricks with caution. They can be helpful, but you’ll get the best results from data-driven SEO.
In the video below, I share ways to find actionable data in Google Analytics and to translate that information into improvements in your website’s SEO.
This presentation was given at WordCamp Fayetteville. At one point, an audience member asked about inspiring sources of SEO information on the web. Off the top of my head, I couldn’t think of many. After thinking about it, though, I came up with a list of 10 SEO heroes. Check them out and add your favorites to the list!