You’ve learned what can be done on-page to help increase your search engine rankings and how you can help engines like Google find your page faster and index it on a regular basis. But search engine optimization goes deeper than that, and there are a number of performance metrics that underlie high-performing sites. Thanks to tools now available online combined with knowledge about what kind of links generate the best traffic, you can expand the impact of your website and capitalize on gains you’ve already made with your on-page SEO efforts.
Analyzing the Data
The first step in building a better SEO profile lies in looking under the hood and seeing what visitors are searching for, how long they’re spending on your site, and what types of content are most viewed. In order to help you find out what’s going on behind the screen, search engines like Yahoo, Google and Bing have developed analytical tools that allow you to see how your site is being viewed in nearly real-time.
Google Analytics is free to use, and allows you to track the number of visitors to your site, how long they stayed and how well your content is performing. In addition, the application will let you compare data across a broad spectrum of dates and other modifiers, and can be setup to automatically notify you if there is a significant change in recorded data patterns. Yahoo gives you a customizable dashboard that allows you to install multiple widgets – each representing a point of data collection or collation. Data can be seen within minutes of a visit to your website, and up to 50 actions can be tracked at any moment.
Webmaster tools can also be of benefit to your site’s success, and the Google Webmaster application will allow you to do a number of things, including analyzing how your site is perceived by Google, how your site is found in searches and the program will also send email alerts if malware is discovered on your site or if errors are returned when customers are searching for it. Tools provided by search engines themselves can be very useful in tailoring your site to perform up and above their expectations.
Why Hosting Matters
You have a number of choices when it comes to hosting your website. Doing it yourself is possible, but not particularly cost effective. Shared hosting is still a valid option, but shared IP addresses may lead to trouble if other users are using SEO methods that are not entirely above board. If you’re looking for a way to give yourself a bump and feel that this might be a factor, try adding your own dedicated IP address to your site.
A dedicated or VPS hosting is one way to resolve these problems, as well as helping to increase page speed and give you more exclusive resources. The more bandwidth and space your page has, the quicker it will load, and Google has stated that while it is not an overriding factor, page speed does have a minor impact on the ranking of your website.
The Right Hat, And Your Social Circle
There are a number of not entirely legitimate ways to bring traffic to your website, known as “black-hat” SEO. If your company is found to be using these, Google, Bing and other search engines will remove your page from their index, and you will not be found. The number of links that come to your site are still an important factor in your overall ranking – more links equals higher ranking – but manufacturing links or generating them from a false source will only lead to issues in the long run. SEO-focused, white-hat, organic link building using quality content is the key to long-term traffic gains.
Social media can also be a component in organic link building, and having a Facebook page, Google + page, or Twitter feed lets customers get the word out for you.
Best practices for SEO are always changing – the Google Panda update is a prime example, so it’s a good idea to follow the blogs of SEO industry experts, and if possible attend an SEO conference if there happens to be in one in your area. A little knowledge can go a long way in avoiding SEO pitfalls and growing your site using analysis, the right hosting and social link-building.