Over the years, SEO tools and techniques have greatly evolved. In the past, emphasis was on optimization based on keywords and manipulative black-hat techniques. These have no place today, where modern strategies focus on value addition and improvement of user experience.
However, just like before, search engine optimization is still a valuable long-term marketing strategy to improve a business’s online visibility. In spite of this, many entrepreneurs today still cower at the mention of SEO, believing it to be expensive and difficult. There’s no question; SEO is time-intensive, but it is not as difficult as it was just a few years ago. With commitment and the right attitude, all entrepreneurs can initiate robust SEO campaigns, and begin reaping the resultant benefits.
Google uses an extremely complicated process to assign search engine ranks for queries. Its algorithm is not fully understood, since Google has never publicized its inner operations. However, these two factors are known: the site should be viewed as an industry authority and content published should be relevant and value-adding for the query.
Luckily, there are basic techniques which when implemented steadily over time, can help your business to fulfill these requirements. You will establish your industry authority, improving your ranking and hence on-line visibility.
1. On-site content optimization
There are two ways to do this. First, the body of the content should be search crawler-friendly, so that Google can identify your industry niche and main objectives of your site. Ensure that pages display in the correct order, marking out your most important pages with solid headlines and a few hundred words of captivating content.
These include the homepage, ‘about us’, products, and ‘Contact us’ pages. Use keywords and phrases that describe the business, but be careful to add them in a way that sounds natural. Include the same words/phrases in you Meta tags and title tags (use the site’s content management system or CMS).
Second, establish a regular blogging schedule and implement it. Your strategy should include a long post each week (1,000 words and higher), increasing in frequency as you get more comfortable with it. Choose topics from subjects that would interest your audience.
You can look through frequently asked questions, or engage with your audience on social media and your blog to find out what they would like to hear next. This will establish you in your audience’s view as the go-to resource. As you answer more questions, you increase chances of being the answer to queries raised in search engines.
2. Inbound link strategy
A strong online presence is required to cement your authority on the web. This means that you should have high-value high-quality links pointing to your site. It’s not very hard to build such links. For instance, guest posting in high authority blogs affords you a chance to gain an external link, as does forum commenting. In addition, you can cite your affiliation in an interview for a publication.
The key is to diversify your link-building strategy – use many different sources and link back to many different pages in your site, not just landing pages. Ensure that the links are relevant i.e. drawn from related sites within your industry niche and fitting the context in which they are posted.
3. Local/social integration
You should already have a social media presence for your business by now. If you don’t, ensure you establish your profile on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and other social networks that are appropriate for you. Post regularly to them, engage with your audience meaningfully and you will improve your online credibility through these social signals.
You should also ensure your business has proper representation in local directories and review websites like Trip Advisor and Yelp. Ensure that your information is accurate – business name, physical address, telephone number and email. Also, use Google My Business to place your business on Google Maps. Getting increased positive reviews in such sites improves your organic search ranking.
How to keep SEO easy
These strategies will help you keep SEO uncomplicated:
Subscribe to newsletters from SEO forums and publishing blogs to stay up-to-date on techniques that can improve your SEO. As you read more news over time, it will begin making sense in your head. Immerse yourself wholly in SEO, and it will become much easier.
2. Monitor your competitors
Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Find out what they are writing about on their blogs, use free SEO tools like Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO and SEMRush to see what their link profiles look like. This can help you to better plan your campaign – it’s not for you to copy exactly what the competitor is doing.
3. Monthly reviews
Analyze you metrics on a monthly basis. Too frequent and you won’t see the kind of results you want, too sparse and you won’t have a solid idea on the state of your SEO campaign. Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools are two important tools to help with site performance analysis, though there are many others.
It’s easy, certainly, but it will require a lot of your time to get your SEO campaign going and maintain it.
Michael Bentos is an experienced digital marketer and part of the team at ParadoxSEO.com – the powerful platform that makes SEO simple. He uses various SEO tools to deliver continuously stellar quality work for all his clients. You can connect him via linked-in.