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You’ve probably heard it said before: SEO is one of the most important aspects of online marketing. After all, people cannot read your content or share it with others if they are unable to find it. Ever since the Internet was introduced to the world, SEO has been a cost-effective strategy for promoting a business, a fact that many business owners are well aware of.
The problem is that there are those who still think of SEO as something only the truly gifted can master. This leads to many business owners becoming too intimidated by the concept of SEO to ever bother with it, and that can be a very costly mistake. Note that although SEO can indeed be time-consuming and demand a lot of your attention, it really isn’t rocket science. All you need is commitment and the right mentality to launch a successful SEO campaign.
Why People Get Intimidated
Perhaps the biggest reason why some business owners think SEO is too difficult is that they are unfamiliar with the technical side of the process. When SEO practitioners start talking about search engine algorithms, they quickly lose their grip on the discussion, which leads them to believe they’ll never be good with SEO. The truth is that the manner in which search algorithms work can indeed be quite complex, but that doesn’t mean you have to implement some complex strategies to succeed at SEO.
It doesn’t take complicated strategies for you to harness the full potential of search algorithms, particularly that of Google. All you need to understand is this: Google and other search engines aim to provide users with the best online experience possible. This means they want to provide the most relevant, accurate, and useful results to online queries. As long as you are able to satisfy this, you should be good to go.
Sticking to the Basics
The process through which Google goes in order to calculate and assign rankings can indeed be extremely complicated. Truth be told, even SEO experts don’t really have full understanding of this process, especially since Google has never given a complete explanation on how their algorithms work. What SEO experts do understand is that you need to post content that offer real value to people and people have to see you as an authority in your field in order for you to rank well on Google. The better you are able to fulfill these two requirements, the better your site’s rankings are likely to be.
The good news is that these two requirements can easily be fulfilled by consistently implementing some basic strategies over time. The more consistently you implement those strategies, the more you can establish a strong online presence and the likelier you are to be deemed an industry authority. So, what exactly are these basics I am talking about? Read on to find out.
1. Onsite Content
The content posted on your website is of utmost important. You need to make sure each piece of content you post is something your target market will want to read and share with other people. You also have to make sure every single piece of content on your site helps Google and other search engines understand what the site is all about so that they can categorize your website accurately. This makes it important for you to make sure every single page on your site is of excellent quality.
While every web page you have on the site is important, it pays to place special focus on the main pages, such as the Home Page, the Products Page, and the Contact Us Page. Make sure you have strong headlines and compelling copy on these pages, while keeping the writing style natural. It is also a good idea to use keywords and phrases that accurately describe your business in your Meta tags and title tags. You may use a keyword tool to identify the best keywords and phrases to use both in your content and in your tags.
Try to avoid Flash or splash pages, as these can prevent search engine crawlers from entering your site. Keep in mind that search engines love text. Images help in making your site content interesting to users, but whenever you use them, be sure to add optimized descriptions to the alt attributes so search engines can find you. You should also make sure your logo and all other images on your site have descriptive filenames. For example, if you sell custom accessories in Florida, then it would be a lot better to name the logo “Floridaaccessories.jpg” instead of “logo.jpg”.
It is also advisable to maintain an official blog. Publish a fresh blog post at least once each week. Create posts about topics you know your target market is interested in. Check the comments section of your first few posts to get inspiration for your next posts. If there are questions posted in the comments section that can be answered by a blog post, then create such a blog post and publish it on your next posting schedule. Be sure to let your audience know you are paying attention to their comments by mentioning in the introduction that the post is in response to questions they have posted. That should help you gain authority.
High-quality inbound links can be very helpful for building a strong online presence and establishing yourself as an industry authority. One of the best ways to build a high-quality link network is to guest post on authority blogs and then incorporate links to your own blog or website in the body of your guest posts. Of course, this strategy takes some time, so you’ll have to be very patient as you wait for results.
Start by building a relationship with the owners of the high-quality blogs you’ve identified. Engage them in conversation by posting relevant comments in their blog. Once you have established a relationship with them and they are comfortable conversing with you, send them a private message, asking if it is okay for you to guest post on their blog. If they grant permission, be sure to follow the rules they have set for their blog; you wouldn’t want to get on their bad side on your first attempt at guest posting, would you?
You can also build high-quality links with the use of images. You could, for example, add an image to a guest post and then incorporate a link to your web page in the image caption. Whether you insert the link within the copy or in an image caption, what’s important is for you to make sure that the page to which the link points contains information relevant to the post you are linking from. You may even incorporate links in the comments you post on other blogs, provided that the page you link to adds value to the post you are commenting on or the conversation you have joined.
3. Social Integration
Are you making your presence felt on social media? If not, then you better start doing so. Set up profiles on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as professional sites like LinkedIn and niche-related social platforms. Post teasers and links to your blog posts on your social accounts, engage with your followers on a regular basis, and follow industry influencers on social media as well.
When people see you interacting with influencers, when they notice you constantly providing them with links to high-quality content, and when they feel your sincere concern as you engage with them, they’ll be more likely to patronize your business and your credibility will grow.
It is also important to set up business profiles on local directories and review sites like Yelp and when you do so, make sure your business information (particularly your business name, address, and phone numbers) is accurate and consistent across all platforms. Google and other search engines are now placing more value on social and local signals, which is why you need to integrate these components into your SEO strategy.
So, you see, SEO isn’t really as difficult as you may have been led to believe. Of course, it does involve some legitimate challenges, including that of deciding which specific questions to address in your blog posts and what keywords to use for each piece of content you create. The time you need to spend on SEO can also be a challenge, especially for those who operate a start-up business that requires your full attention.
To keep SEO simple, you may want to start small. Adopt a clean and simple design for your website and limit the number of pages to those that are absolutely necessary. Update your blog only once each week and address the comments two to three times a week. Set up profiles only on the three most relevant social media sites; schedule social media activity (posting updates, responding to comments, etc.) only two to three times each week. Check your online performance on a monthly basis. That should keep you abreast of how you’re doing and what adjustments you need to make without driving you crazy.