Search engine optimization or SEO is a fact of life. Your SEO efforts must be clear, concise and practiced constantly. Site owners that have a handle on all things SEO will succeed with what they do and provide a winning website that gets more visitors, attracts interested customers and can convert some of these customers to sales.
You can put eight SEO tips into practice today including the following:
1. Content generation. There is no way getting around this step — your website needs content, plenty of it and that information should be accurate, fresh and interesting. For small business operators, content generation can be an all-consuming process, but one that can be carefully managed to yield excellent results.
Your choices here are to write the content yourself, have one of your workers write it for you or get your content from a third-party source. Let’s cut to the chase here and look at third-party sources — you can pay a freelancer, use a free content site or do both. Chances are you will do both, choosing to pay for some content while welcoming guest bloggers to add their material to your site. Set a standard for web content on your site, that is articles that are of a certain length, cover a specific subject and link to relevant sources.
2. Social media utilization. Never underestimate the importance of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon, MySpace, Delicious, Digg, Reddit and LinkedIn are just a few of the sites out there.
You won’t use every site, but the most essential ones are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Create accounts with all three, write your profiles and link to your website. You can automate some of your actions such as your tweets and Facebook updates, but you will need to set aside a portion of your day to work on these directly. Consider hiring a virtual assistant to help you out with certain tasks including updates, tracking your social media influence and monitoring feedback such as on your blog.
3. Local search participation. Quite easily, your SEO efforts can take you far and wide, but what if your customers are mostly local? What good is all the work that you do if they are not finding out about your business? This is where local search participation comes in.
With local search, you need to optimize your site for local customers. For instance if you operate a local gardening shop in Raleigh, then using words such as Raleigh garden shop, Raleigh garden help and Raleigh garden store can help your cause. You will also want to get local reviews through Yelp and similar sites, by asking your customers to provide that information on your behalf. Take care not to game reviews here — welcome honest feedback including negative information.
4. Keyword relevancy. We touched on keyword relevancy in our third point, but there is more that you can look at here. Whether your business is locally focused, or has a national or international reach, you must take steps to understand what keywords are right for your business.
Using the Google Keyword Tool is a great place for you to start. For instance, with the “garden shop” keywords mentioned earlier, you could plug these keywords in and through Google’s tool learn how much competition there are for certain keyword ideas including global monthly search and local monthly searches. Choose the words that are right for your business.
5. Mobile device optimization. Mobile devices are here to stay. Indeed, we will soon reach a point where people are conducting the majority of their search with a tablet or a smart phone, as personal computer usage diminishes.
Optimizing your website for mobile home users is essential. Pages that are not optimized may not show up on such devices or may be rendered incorrectly. Optimizing on your own can be expensive, but you can instead use content management system themes to do the work for you. Here, you would make use of WordPress, Plone, Joomla or Drupal as your CMS and purchase a theme or download a plugin to use instead. Let someone else do the hard work for you!
6. Web design amplification. Related to the fifth point is the design of your website. Mobile device compatibility is important for the reasons given. But, your site may not be usable in other ways too.
Your site’s theme should be clean, easy to navigate and load quickly. Your pages should offer a clean hierarchy with sub-pages pointing to main pages and all links working and easy to follow. Avoid sidebar clutter and never link out to bad neighborhoods.
7. Link execution. Every person seeking SEO enhancement must have a clear strategy for inbound, outbound and internal linking. The Internet is the world wide web — the way that sites connect with each other is important if you want your information to be easily found.
Seek inbound links by writing articles, issuing press releases or being quoted on other websites. Offer outbound links by quoting other websites or referring your readers to third party sites for more information. Link to your older articles and check your links to ensure that none are broken.
8. Web analysis formulation. You need to be a student of your website. That means using a good analysis tool such as Google Analytics to measure your site’s performance.
Google Analytics is easy to install and the code is typically placed in your site’s header or via a plugin if you use WordPress. This tool can help you set and gauge your visitor goals, analyze your data, track your advertising campaigns and handle advanced features such as tracking traffic variations, employing scripts and monitoring your profiles. Whatever tool that you choose to use, find one that you are comfortable with and use it regularly.
SEO management is no small matter, something that many business owners realize that they cannot handle by themselves or simply prefer to outsource. If you choose to work with an SEO professional, ask that individual for details about what the company has to offer. You will also want to obtain at least three references and contact these people to learn what the company did for them.
If you find a professional that you like, insist on signing a short-term contract before agreeing to a long-term commitment. You will want to carefully evaluate the best SEO companies to obtain the plan that is right for you.