DIY SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is arguably the most essential service a marketer can provide. Although all advertising and marketing techniques are beneficial, in the age of the internet, everyone needs a website and a good one at that. The website should be aesthetically pleasing, easy to navigate, and optimized correctly with embedded keywords. But just having a website is not enough. People need to be able to find your site when they are searching for the products or services that you offer.
Every business/industry has certain advertising services that are very helpful to them and some that aren't. However, all businesses and industries could benefit from SEO. Search engine optimization allows your website to rank higher on a Google Search. A monthly plan is highly recommended to ensure that you are optimizing correctly and making sure your website comes up at the top of a Google Search. However, if that is not in your budget, you can still optimize on your own. This will not help your website nearly as much as an ongoing SEO plan, but it is undoubtedly much better than not optimizing at all. At least if you are focusing on your keywords and backlinks, Google will notice and rank you higher.
What to focus on
There are four key points of focus when working on search engine optimization. The fundamentals are all in the keywords, specifically researching the right keywords and implementing them on the pages of your website. You should also check your website internally. See if there are any technical problems that you could resolve. Lastly, it would help if you were building backlinks.
Choosing the right keywords is important to the success of your SEO. You want keywords that are common enough that people will be searching for them but not so common that you will be outranked by bigger competitors. Find words that relate to who you are and what you do. A good tip is to start by thinking of the most common or obvious keyword that suits your business and then start researching similar keywords. The research step is also much more important than many people think. You need to understand two key factors about each keyword: the search volume and the difficulty. You might be inclined to believe that a keyword is perfect, but it might not get many searches. Checking the search volume will show you how many people are actually searching it, so you can avoid wasting time optimizing a keyword that won't get you anywhere. Keyword difficulty, on the other hand, determines how challenging a word will be to rank. If many people are searching for a keyword, that means many competitors are optimizing it. It might not be worth your time and budget because some keywords are so popular that you might still be knocked down to the second or third page of a Google Search even with the best optimization.
The Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great place to start.
Embed the Keywords onto Web Pages
Now that you've got your list of keywords, it's time to place them throughout the site. One marketing tip to note is that you want to make sure your content has a cohesive flow that makes sense to both you and the reader. You do not want to throw keywords in places where they don't sound right. Remember, we optimize for Google, but it is all about the user experience at the end of the day. If the user enjoys the website, they will return, and Google will notice. If this means rewriting some content instead of adding keywords to existing content, that might be the right choice. A good rule of thumb is that if you use the keyword once every 200 words. Anything more, and you should reevaluate your content.
Check on Technical Problems
Technical issues can harm your SEO efforts and your user experience. Though some might be pretty difficult to fix, many you can do yourself. Some issues to look at include:
- The speed at which a page loads
- Not having SSL set up, which will cause a security warning on some browsers and cause Google to reduce your ranking on all pages
- Images that do not have alt text, which is descriptive text
- Broken links on your site, meaning they go nowhere
- Duplicate page titles, meta description or content.
Fixing these issues can drastically improve SEO. Therefore, you should be routinely reviewing your website's functionality and see if there are any issues on the backend. The sooner you fix, the less likely they will interfere with your optimization efforts.
Backlinks are links from other well-respected websites back to your website. Having many backlinks is very good, but it's just as essential to make sure that these are quality links or Google will not be impressed. They should be from reputable websites (the more credible and well-known, the better). They should also have some relation to your business. For example, if you are a plumber, backlinking an article about plumbing from a local company would be better than backlinking a Huffington Post article about health and wellness. Even though the Huffington Post is an excellent backlink, the article has nothing to do with your business or content, which will significantly harm your optimizing efforts.
One way to add backlinks to your site is to go to online forums and answer questions or through guest blogs that link to your site. Another good way is through Angie's List, the Better Business Bureau, or other prominent websites that provide business listings.
Blog, Blog, Blog
We write posts like this one to provide you, our clients, and potential clients with information that can be helpful to you in understanding what we do, and how you can improve your website coming up in search engine results. But these blog posts are also helpful to our ranking with search engines. We write blogs about our industry, our services, and our company. We make sure that there are keywords in them, that they are of interest to SMBs and relevant. This allows us to come up pretty well in the search engines, gaining us more clients.
By following these steps, you can improve your search engine optimization significantly. Keep in mind that these steps are not a one-and-done task, continuing to add backlinks, and ongoing optimization are critical. Although it won't be as effective as a professional SEO strategy, it's a great start to get more business and stay in line with your competitors! If you want to discuss what an SEO program can do for your business, give us a call at 973-653-5144.