Search Engine Optimization is one of those things that a lot of small businesses think they need but don’t really understand. SEO is the process of optimizing your website to be found on search engines. Most of the time the focus is on the top 3 search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo. Search Engine Optimization can be really confusing to a lot of website owners, especially when SEO experts use terms that are unfamiliar to many people such as XML sitemaps, canonical urls and 301 redirects. It is important to realize that good SEO has a lot to do with good content. Of course there are a number of techniques that are used to optimize the content on your website. But SEO is a lot more effective when it is incorporated into a broader marketing strategy. While hiring an SEO company to optimize your content might help you, you are better off incorporating SEO principles into a broader strategy of content marketing.
Here Are Some SEO Steps You Can Do on Your Own
If you run your site on WordPress, there are a lot of SEO plugins that will help you with the basics. We recommend the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost de Valk (you can find his website here). It is an excellent plugin that is super easy to use. For starters, you can set default page titles and descriptions, just in case you forget to add in meta information when writing your posts or pages. Blogging regularly is great for SEO and as we mentioned in our article on long tail keywords, using a specific keyword phrase will make it easier for you to rank in searches.
Here are a few tips on making sure your blog posts are optimized:
1. Make sure that you focus on a specific keyword phrase when writing blog posts. If you write about a topic and do not include the keyword phrase very much you will have a tough time ranking for anything at all. Make sure that each post focuses on a something specific.
2. Include your keyword phrase in your meta title and description. When your article shows up in search results, the meta title and description are what is shown. The keywords that people used to search for your article will show up in bold.
3. Write for people and not for search engines. The reality is that, while your article should include your keywords, you don’t need to include them too much. If you are writing a 500 word blog post you might include your keyword phrase five or six times.
4. Include your keyword phrase in the title of your post. Make sure that your blog title matches up with your keyword.
5. Set up Google Authorship for your blog. When you see a picture next to a search result in Google search you are seeing authorship in action. By setting up Google Authorship on your blog, you are helping to improve your SEO. Here is a link to help you get started.
Make Sure Your Website is Indexed by Search Engines
You can do all of the on page optimization you want, but if your website is not being indexed by search engines it won’t make one bit of difference. Make sure to sign up for Google and Bing Webmaster tools. This allows you to submit your site directly to search engines. In addition, you can see your submitted sitemaps, when your site is crawled and who is linking to your website. If you are using the WordPress SEO plugin a sitemap is automatically submitted to search engines. If not, you want to make sure that you are using a plugin or submitting a sitemap to search engines yourself.
Incorporating SEO Into Your Broader Strategy
SEO is just like any other part of a digital marketing strategy: it doesn’t work as well by itself. It is important to incorporate SEO principles when writing your content. It is far more important to write some great content. By creating valuable content and sharing it with your followers, prospects and customers, you are increasing the likelihood that someone will link back to you. This will tell Google and Bing that your content is worthwhile and will help you to rank better in searches.
So write some awesome blog posts and include your specific keyword phrases in your content. Quickly optimize your posts. You will see, it makes a bigger impact than just hiring someone to “do SEO”.