SEO. We’ve talked about it before and even before that, and chances are we’ll talk about it again in the future. Why is there so much conversation about SEO? What is SEO? How can you keep up with the trends and tools?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing digital marketing strategy. SEO is what helps your business gain exposure during Google/Bing/Yahoo keyword searches. It is the process in which search engines rank your website organically (not through paid advertisements). The higher you are in the search results, the better chance you have of being seen by a searcher. You type in ice cream, and you will see local business listings, recipes, and even images that are tagged with that creamy, delicious “ice cream” keyword.
Everyone seems to be focusing on SEO, dedicating thousands of dollars in time and resources to it – but what if you can’t do that? Well, that’s actually okay if you can take some time to do a few of these items that will help you get started:
Do a quick competitor analysis and see where your company ranks vs your competitors.
Spend some time on Google searching keywords that relate to your company’s main focus. See how you compare to your competitors in search results. Don’t forget to include the geographic area. For example, instead of just searching “ice cream,” search “ice cream Raleigh” or “Raleigh ice cream.” You can get even more specific by including a specific neighborhood or area: i.e. “Ice Cream Five Points”. Write down where you are and where you main competitors are. You’ll want to keep track so you can see progress. Tools for tracking and comparison are available if you don’t want to do it on your own– try www.moz.com. These tools can help with keyword research, competitive analyses and keeping track of your Google search ranking for various targeted searches.
Love Google+. Become active on it.
Google loves Google+ and Google+ users. Be sure to associate your website with Google+ and go through the verification process. Complete your profile in full. Ask for reviews and respond to those reviews. Google gives a lot of preferential treatment to verified Google+ users in search results.
Keep your website content fresh and updated.
Don’t just set it and forget it. Be sure to add in a variety of keywords relevant to your business where it sounds natural. Don’t overdo the keywords – you don’t want to come off sounding like an SEO robot!
Start a blog.
Speaking of fresh content, having a blog is HUGE for SEO because each new post is a new page on your website. If you don’t have a blog, now is the time to start one. Be sure to post on it regularly to keep building out your website and adding new content. Blogs help relate back to keywords and topics that are relevant to your business. Chances are, if you are writing about things people are searching for, you will begin to pop up in search results, which may help you gain new business. Starting a blog can also generate backlinks – when people link to your bog posts on their own blog or on social media. From cost & time perspective, adding a blog to your website is one of the most effective SEO tools you can implement.
Make sure your website is Google friendly.
Google has little spiders that crawl and search the web and index your website based on the information you put out there. If you don’t know how to do this, you can easily use Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools which will allow you to submit your website URL and sitemap for faster crawling.
Google is picking up on social profiles and activity more than ever, not to mention that customers are hitting up social sites like Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to find information about companies. Make sure your social profiles are optimized, branded and fully completed (logo, hours of operation, information about your company, etc).
For best Search Engine Optimization results, pair your content efforts with a solid website and you will be well on your way to appearing higher in search results on Google, Yahoo and Bing.