This is a guest post from Shannon Evans. It is part of The 2nd annual “Bad Ass” SEO Guest Blogging Contest.
Being in the SEO business now for a couple of years, I have read many articles on SEO. Countless posts discuss how SEO is both an art and science. I agree on both these points, however I also think a little bit of luck also goes into the mix.
Even though no one but a few people at Google (cough Matt Cutts cough) know exactly what the SERPs are going to generate, we can do enough experiments to figure out a few things.
We know how to search relevant keywords, links from high ranking sites give us juice and what worked last month may or may not work this month. We may not have white coats and work in a lab, but SEO specialists are scientists of the Internet. We do experiments constantly and try to get our sites on the coveted first page of Google.
Keeping strict records of all link building efforts and analyzing all of the data you keep is a must in the SEO industry. Are certain keywords not preforming like they used to? Did you do something different? If not, you need to move your strategy in a new direction. In the SEO world Excel and other tools are your best friend.
There is also an art to SEO. Sometimes you know a keyword may not be highly searchable, but if you play around and think of similar words you could hit SEO gold. It takes a very analytical person to be a great scientist, but in SEO you need to be analytical and artistic.
Take guest posting for example. We know guest posts help with link building, yet if you can’t write a great article chances are you won’t get your link on many blogs. Now not all SEO specialists write guest posts. However, when looking at all the data you collect on a monthly basis, you need to be able to think outside the SEO box. How can you take your efforts to the next level. That is something your tools or Excel won’t tell you.
Ok, I might be going out on a limb here, but I think some of SEO is luck. Maybe not all the time, but there are those rare occations you just figure out something on accident—or as I like to put it luck. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does its fantastic.
It’s not to say that you didn’t implement an idea without an educated guess. However, I am a believer in luck. Maybe it’s the optimist inside me, but I think sometimes you take a leap of faith and it works. Sometimes the word luck gets used negatively, but in this instance I think sometimes when you stumble upon something that works, it’s luck.
On Friday, Search Engine Land confirmed that Google is testing frames for search options and results. If this becomes a permanent change, it will give searchers even more control over finding exactly what they want.
Because of Google’s push towards giving users even more control over searches and the fact that SERP CTR can influence your rankings, it’s more important than ever to ensure your SERP listings are as appealing as possible.
To accomplish this important goal, here are effective options you can implement today:
Have a page that includes reviews? What about dates? Since Google supports 5 different microformats, you should be able to incorporate this option on quite a few of your pages.
Because microformats can add rich details like stars or dates directly to your SERP listings, they can make your listings stand out from others and attract clicks from interested searchers.
SEO Effect did a study in June to determine the impact of the Google +1 button. In addition to their other findings, the study determined that “the Google +1 button saw a 20% increase in rankings which led to a corresponding lift in Clickthrough rate (CTR).”
Even though the exact measurements of this study are likely far from perfect, the bottom line is it’s well worth taking the time to install this Google feature on your blog or site.
Include a Price
While this won’t apply to every page of your website, it is relevant for listings tied to products or services. If a page is showcasing something that a visitor can purchase, include the price in your title or description tag.
Although including a price in your title tag can provide the biggest boost, there is a potential downside. According to RedFly Marketing, “if you’re not the cheapest, your CTR will suffer.” To minimize the potential for this problem, you probably want to stick with including the price in the description.
Entice Searchers to Click
Your title tag isn’t only for including a relevant keyword phrase. It’s also the perfect opportunity for you to entice searchers to click.
You should put the same amount of effort into writing a title for each page of your website as you would for writing a blog post or newspaper article title.
If you don’t have much experience writing persuasive titles, Copyblogger has a great crash course that will show you how to craft juicy ones for your SERP listings.