Search engine optimization (SEO) is commonly used to strengthen the online visibility of your website. Some companies have larger marketing budgets and choose to hire professional firms to handle their online marketing needs. However, many small business owners cannot afford the costs, so does that mean your website won’t rank? Not necessarily, you’ll just find yourself needing to work harder to build your website traffic.
SEO Pro Tip: To understand HOW to market online, spend time thinking like your customers. What are your customers seeking? Can you create blogs, product pages, and content focused on their questions?
Anyone can implement an SEO strategy with four easy steps.
- Do keyword research – what keywords are people using to find your website
- Build quality content pages – create content people want to read
- Repair technical issues – speed and security
- Share your website – strengthen the visibility of your website by building links
The first place to start with SEO is to begin keyword research. What are the most popular phrases people use to find your website? Create a list of the keywords that people use to find your website and start building content around them.
Google uses keyword research tools to help business owners find the keywords people use and offer suggestions for additional keywords. You can use several free keyword tools to identify keywords and create a spreadsheet of other keywords to go after.
So you have a list of keywords, now what?
Most companies get stuck here and never move forward. What do you do to target the keywords? Like most business owners, there are only so many hours in the day. Free keyword tools can help identify the keywords, and provide information on how challenging it is to rank for the keywords.
Search for keywords with a high search volume but low competition. When you narrow down the targeted list, it is easier to manage how many keywords you can realistically handle.
Building the pages based on the keywords allows you to “teach” your audience about the particular area. Use this time to showcase your knowledge. Forget the old SEO tactics and focus on providing quality and stop worrying about your word count. The content needs to have a specific purpose and deliver that message in the right way.
Creating the content is one thing; you must take the time to optimize the content for the search engines.
On-Page SEO Elements
To make each page optimized correctly for the search engines, you have to use the right optimization techniques. Many people used to stuff several keywords in blog posts, assuming that would let Google rank their website higher. Google focuses on improving its search engine daily, so the old SEO methods are no longer. Google search engines can understand synonyms and semantically related words.
Not only does the content need to be well-written, but it must also pertain to the search. Google wants to be able to send people to your website, knowing they will receive the right information they were seeking. If people find the information engaging, Google rewards your site with a higher ranking on the search engines. Fortunately, building quality content isn’t as hard as it seems, focus on making the content useful and straightforward.
SEO Pro Tip: Break up the content with simple things like bolding, italics, multimedia, and videos.
Optimize the website by taking the time to write engaging and exciting title tags and page descriptions. These two elements appear in the search engine results when someone types in one of the keywords that pertain to your website.
Another way to improve the search engine result is to use a descriptive URL.
The URL needs to pertain to the content of that page. Keeping your keywords uniform to the content landing pages they lead to will help create a “content strength signal” with Google.
Improve Your Website
Another important thing you can do for your online presence is to focus on improving your website. Do a free website audit as it will identify any issues on your site that need improvement. When is the last time you had your website updated? An outdated website is one of the top reasons why small businesses lose valuable website traffic.
Slow site speeds quickly cause people to jump to a different website. Clean up your website site speed to see a jump in the search engines.
Have you checked the website for security threats? All the URLs that need updating need to be HTTPS protocol to focus on showing Google your website is secure.
Different things that can improve your website include:
- Choose a quality hosting provider with speed improvement and security.
- Reduce image sizes and make sure they are compressed without losing their quality.
Build Quality Links
Google has a list of ranking factors they provide to everyone to show what they deem “important” to your website. Quality links are one of the elements that can be challenging to build with SEO.
One comfortable place to start is community links on sites like Reddit, Facebook groups, and Quora. The goal of community link building is to build your business’s reputation by showing how you are “experts” in your trade. The more people see your business information on community sites; the more exposure will start generating additional inbound links.
Learn from your competition to find out what they are doing right and use some of their techniques. Discover what type of companies are linking to them, figure out how you can provide attractive information, and gain a link.
SEO is an industry that is always evolving. Subscribe to top SEO blogs to gain industry insights that will help you build out your SEO skills. Dedicate time to learning how to properly care for your website to see a jump in the search engines.
Hiring an SEO firm is the best way to know you’ve been able to check off all the elements needed to improve your website’s ranking ability. With the right technique, anyone can take their traffic from zero traffic to booming within a few months!