SEO short for search-engine optimization has gone through a series of changes over the last few years. Nowadays, strategies that focused on keyword-based optimization and black-hat SEO practices have little to no relevance and are obsolete. On the other hand, strategies that focus on user experience have become some of the most important tools as far as SEO is concerned. Since its creation, SEO was always a cost-efficient and extremely valuable strategy for company owners from all industries.
However, although the development of the strategy has been simplified with the passing of time, many business owners are still a bit too intimidated by the almighty SEO, perceiving it as a way too difficult task to follow through with it.
Search-engine optimization is a time-intensive strategy that will require your undivided attention. At least that’s how SEO used to be. Luckily, nowadays SEO is no longer that difficult. And by having the proper mentality and a solid commitment, any business owner can start creating an SEO campaign and also reaping all those great benefits the strategy offers.
The misunderstanding of SEO
To put it in layman’s terms for business owners that are not familiar with the tech part of web development, the idea behind Google’s algorithm may often be perceived as complex as it gets. As a matter of fact, the algorithm is the complex part, still which does not mean you will need a highly-complex strategy to achieve success with it. Therefore, many business owners that aren’t really all that tech-savvy tend to consider the advanced coding and engineering involved into the maintenance of the algorithm and the creation of complex websites and how daunting of a task it would be to develop something on that level, with limited knowledge.
The false belief that complex structures will require sophisticated strategies so as to harness them to their full potential is the most common mistake most business owners make. Yet, despite the sophisticated backing, the principles behind Google’s search algorithm are simple. And, in turn, simple strategies are enough to achieve positive results. Google’s main goal is to offer its users the best possible online experience. This translates into offering them the most relevant, valuable and appropriate results possible.
The essential aspects any business owner can master
The process involved in the calculation of search rankings is more than complicated. Not even search experts can fully understand this process given the fact that Google hasn’t published the ins and outs of the algorithm. Still, we do know that you will need to complete two actions to ensure that your website ranks high within the algorithm: (1) you need to be perceived as an authority and (2) you will need to publish what is of interested to people while also offering them value. And if your site will meet these two requirements, your website will rank high.
The good news is that completing these requirements is achievable by means of basic strategies that will be constantly implemented over time. The more you implement them and the more consistently you implement them, the more your online presence and your authority will grow.
Onsite content is comprised of two main branches. First of all, you need to optimize the body copy on all pages of your website so that you can ensure that Google will be able to recognize the scope of your site and the industry niche of your company. To achieve this you will need to ensure that your website pages are all in order.
Moreover, you should also feature your most important pages (i.e. “Home”, “Services”, “Products” “Contact Us”) in strong headlines and a couple of paragraphs of compelling content. Use words and/or phrases that describe your business as accurate as possible. However, you should avoid from crowding them with unnecessary content. Instead, focus on writing naturally. Another helpful step you should take, especially when you start your campaign, is to optimize both your title tags and the meta tags. This operation can be done easily through your website’s content management system.
Furthermore, you should also create and implement an open-ended blogging strategy. At least once a week you should post an 1,000 word or more article. Also, the moment you start gaining some traction you should start scaling up. For example, you could write about topics of interest for your audience, things they would like to learn about from you, answering their potential question as detailed as possible. By doing this you will become one of the best resource your audience is looking for, thus your webpage will rank higher. Bear in mind that the more questions you will answer, the more potential queries you will need to answer for. The only thing you need to focus on is Content: Rich, Useful, Relevant Content.
Inbound links, also known as backlinks, according to WhatIs.com, are hyperlinks on a third-party web page that points to a web page on your site. Creating these links is an easy task because you can put links that point back to your site in the text of an external blog post, forum comment, etc. Just make sure to diversify the strategy you will use. Also, be sure to use many link sources, links to lots of internal pages of your website keeping in mind that all the links need to be relevant and add value to the conversation.
Local and social integrations can only benefit your business. If you’re not present on social-media, you’re missing out. So it’s high-time to start building your digital reputation. Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other such channels you think could help with the progress of your business. Make a point of posting regularly and engaging the audience. Sooner rather than later, your credibility levels as an online business will significantly improve. Moreover, you should also claim your business profiles on review sites and local directory such as Yelp, and ensure that all the info you provide (Name, address and phone number) is accurate. Receiving a lot of positive reviews on such sites translates into a higher ranking for local search queries.
Still, as with any good thing, SEO comes with its challenges. And while the aforementioned strategies are great and easy to implement, SEO has some true challenges. Read on and see what obstacles you should expect to appear down the line.
Finding the appropriate target audience. You might have a difficult time finding out what types of questions to write posts for, or what keywords your website should include. The best way to approach this issue is by finding honest answers. Describe in a nutshell the activity of your business and use that summary to describe your business in the content posted on your website. Approach customers directly and ask them to read your blog, ask for their honest feedback and insert them as testimonials that will bring you a higher degree of credibility.
One major obstacle you will have to overcome is finding the necessary time to invest in SEO. This poses a problem especially for SME business owners. Managing a SEO strategy alongside other responsibilities can be a daunting task for any entrepreneur. However, the good news is that you can always hire an outside expert that will take some of the load of your shoulders. There are some ways you could measure your ROI (return on investment) so you can make sure you won’t lose any of your money on your campaign efforts.
Not knowing when and what strategy you should adjust can pose a major threat, even if your initial forecasts for the early results of your campaign were spot on. Surpassing this challenge is a difficult task, even for experts within the industry. However, they know that the only way to progress and overcome this problem can be done by doing some research, making educated guesses at the root of your problem and adjustments to your campaign and see what results you end up with.
SEO strategies 101
If you need and prefer to keep SEO easy for as long as possible, make sure you try to implement this strategies and see whether they help you avoid overcomplicating the work.
Stay in touch with current SEO news. Do some research and find some reliable SEO-based websites and forums. Read up as often as time allows you on the developments that occur. And despite the fact that some of them may be too much for you to handle, in time they will become clearer to you. The only way to understand the SEO culture better is by immersing yourself in it.
See what your competitors are doing. Browse their blogs and see about what subjects they write about. Also, tools such as SEMRush and Open Site Explorer can help you determine the types of links they are building. By applying this strategy you can now steer your campaign on the right path or provide new and useful insight for your ongoing strategy to progress.
Conduct monthly reviews. Make sure to pay a closer look at your metrics monthly. Once a month is enough. More than that and you’ll be obsessed trying to find out why your website registers random fluctuations. Less than once a month means that you won’t be able to accurately determine the health state of your campaign. Use online tools such as Google Analytics to measure metrics such as keyword ranks, organic traffic and even visitor behavior.
And even though SEO is easier than you think, you should know that you will have to spend a lot of time and effort to make it work properly. What you put into it is usually what you get. So if you make a habit out of spending only a couple of minutes per day, don’t expect be the first result the visitors see.