SEO is NOT rocket science.
I know, hard to believe judging by what some companies charge for SEO services, it has to be more complicated than we are first led to believe, right?
Here are a few simple SEO tips and tricks to get you started, so you have at least a basic idea of the concept of Search Engine Optimization. Once you have that, its just a continuous process of building upon what you already know.
SEO In A Nutshell
Search Engine Optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, is the process of optimizing a website (or group of websites) to get as much targeted web traffic as possible. It is hands down the most important aspect of any internet marketing campaign, and often the most expensive as well. I might also add that it comes with little to no guarantee of results, with plenty of scam artists and overnight gurus littering the SEO landscape.
As we have progressed through the first 2 decades of the internet’s existence, Google has emerged as the 800lb Gorilla when it comes to determining who sits atop the search engine rankings. Google is the number #1 ranked website on the internet today, and your goal when setting up your SEO campaign is to make them happy. Play by their rules as best you can, and you’ll set up a solid foundation for a steady flow of internet traffic for years to come.
So how does it all work?
What this all boils down to is a big popularity contest (if not the biggest popularity contest). When Google analyzes your website, they take a multitude of factors into consideration.
- Number of Incoming Links
- Quality of Incoming Links
- Internal Linking Structure
- Activity (traffic, commenting, time on site, etc.)
- Page Titles & Descriptions
- Keyword Placement Within Content
- New Content
Over the next few weeks we will be breaking each of these down in detail, so you have a better idea of what all this means and how to put it to work for you. A little free advice if you plan on doing your own SEO, and a little peace of mind for our current and prospective clients that we know what the heck we are doing. 🙂
For now let’s go over a few basic SEO tips to get the ball rolling.
1. Planning, Research, and Overall Strategy
Any marketing strategy requires extensive planning and research before it is put into action, and SEO is no different.
First, establish exactly what niche you are going after. Now, how is your site or company different from the next and what is your mission. Lots of traffic is great, but if you can’t convert your visitors to customers, you’re missing a big part of the equation.
Spend a day researching what sites are at the top of the search engines. Look at their Alexa ranking, and look at what keywords they are using (right-click on a blank part of their site and look at the source code). Research all of those keywords further to determine how much potential traffic is available, and also how competitive each keyword phrase is. Determine what keywords and keyword phrases you will go after, then move on to the next thing.
2. A Blog
A self-hosted wordpress blog is an absolute necessity these days. Search engines love them, and you will too once you see the traffic you get from them.
You can either build your entire site on a the wordpress platform, or just the blog portion. We use Studiopress themes for almost all of our sites because they are super easy to use and customize, and they are easily the best themes available for SEO.
In order to impress the Google monster, you have to come up with new content on a regular basis. I would recommend posting at least once per week minimum, but just remember the more you post the faster your site grows and climbs up the search engine rankings. Think of it as fishing. Each post is another line you cast out into the internet. The more lines you have out, the more places people can find your content.
This is probably the toughest part of a good SEO campaign, but you’ve just gotta do it.
4. Good Internal Linking Structure
Google wants your site to be easy to navigate, and having a good internal linking structure means that you allow people to find your content easily. Linking from one piece of content to another relevant piece not only makes Google happy, but it also keeps people on your site longer. Let them get lost in your high quality content, and they’ll always come back for more.
This seems very easy on the surface, but it can get very complicated and time consuming. We use this strategy to not only increase the rankings of the site as a whole, but also to increase the rankings of specific pages.
More on this in later posts.
5. High Quality Backlinks
Here’s the biggest part of the whole popularity contest concept. The more relevant sites you have linking back to yours, the more popular your site is in Google’s eyes. The quality of the site the link comes from also plays a big part in how much effect it has on the overall ranking of your site.
Backlinking is much more complicated than that, but that’s the general concept. This can also be very time consuming and tedious. Great places to start getting backlinks are other blogs in your niche, forums, and article marketing.
6. Social Media
Leverage Social Media as much and as often as you can. This is your number one tool for driving traffic in the beginning stages of your site, and throughout the life of your site.
The core sites you should focus on are Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon, and Reddit. Each has its own personality and purpose, so you will just have to dig into each and start using them on a regular bases. Believe me, it will pay off.
Lastly, Optimizing your site for the search engines takes time. This is a long term strategy and commitment, but its 100% worth it. Stayed tuned as we break each aspect down further!