SEO (Search Engine Optimization), can be one of the most difficult and confusing concepts for business owners to grasp. We want Google to like our website – and show it to lots of people – but how do we make that happen?
In order to show up well in search, you need to be familiar with how to optimize your content for the web.
Here are 9 steps to improve your site’s ranking:
1. Do Keyword Research
Use this tool to research which terms people are searching for related to your business. You will see how much traffic each phrase is getting, and how high the competition is. Ideally, you are looking for terms with low competition and high traffic. The phrases with high competition will be hard to rank for since so many other sites are optimizing for them. Instead, pick keywords with less competition and start to build some traction. Once you start to rank for those keywords, you can add in some of the tougher ones.
2. Add Tags and Keywords to Your Content
Use the research you have done to make a list of 20-25 words and phrases that you want to show up for in search. You will add these 20-25 words to every blog post and video you put up. Google is constantly making changes to thwart marketers. Sometimes if they think you are using too many keywords, or words that aren’t relevant to your business, they will penalize you. You don’t want it to look like you are ‘trying’ to get search engine traffic. Instead, use keywords that relate to your business, and to your content.
Also, use some restraint here. It’s better to use really targeted phrases and have fewer of them, than to put in every word you can think of.
You are trying to target things people actually type into Google… not just the ‘keywords’ you make up, but phrases they are actually searching for.
3. Optimize your Website
Using these same 20-25 words, you need to go into the back end of your website and title all the pages. You need to add titles, meta descriptions and meta keywords for each page. Even though you are doing this for Google, write your descriptions as if you are writing for a person. You need 1-2 good sentences, and they need to make sense.
(On-site optimization can be the hardest step for some people. If you have never done it before, you could consider getting help for this part. Contact KWSM and we can help guide you.)
4. Write a Blog
Blogging automatically refreshes your website every time you post and gives Google something to find. Need ideas? Try these content starters (/7-writing-prompts-for-your-next-blog-post/) the next time you get writer’s block.
Make sure to include pictures (/where-to-find-the-perfect-photos-for-your-blog-or-website/) on your blog posts. Title those pictures using keywords when you upload them to your website. Also, write good titles. Be descriptive. People need to know exactly what they are going to be reading – remember, if this goes well, people will be finding your blog posts before they find your website, so you need to give them enough information to be interested.
5. Use Social Media
Set up social media channels for your business and use them consistently and frequently. Ideally, you would post on Facebook at least once a day, Twitter 5x a day and LinkedIn 2-3 times a week.
When you publish blog posts, make sure they are shared on all social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest etc. Share your posts on any channel you have set up for your business.
Google judges your social activity and it factors into your ranking. If you choose to use social media you want to do it regularly, but don’t post just to post. It needs to be quality content.
6. Set Up Google+
Make a Google+ company page for your company and post on it once a day (the content can be similar to what you put on Facebook). You may not get many fans here, but Google likes to see you using it.
7. Issue Press Releases
You should try to issue a press release once a month. It could be about a new program you started… your new office space… your book coming out… a success story with a client… a new staff person you added etc. Find something newsworthy about your company that you can announce.
Post these press releases on your blog and social media accounts.
You can also submit them to PR sites like these:
8. Create Videos
Just like Google+, Google owns YouTube. They love to see companies using their channel, and they will index videos high up in search results. It would be worth your time to put together a series of video tips to put into your YouTube channel. You could also use them in your blog and share them on your social media. Think of these videos as short blog posts that are just on camera instead of written. They can be professionally produced, or you can just record them with your smartphone. The most important part of video is actually audio. If no one can hear you, they won’t watch. So, however you choose to produce your videos, make sure they are easy to understand. (And full of useful information – no sales pitches!)
9. Don’t Expect Immediate Results
SEO doesn’t happen overnight. You can be doing everything right, and it will still take time to get traction with search engines. Months, not weeks. If your website has been up for awhile and has never been optimized, it will take some time before you show up on the first page – just keep plugging. Consistency really is the key here; there is no magic bullet (You should be wary of anyone who tells you there is!).
Please do not judge results by typing the name of your company into Google. Google results are different depending on the computer you use, your location, how many times you’ve done the search before, etc.
If you and I do the same search on our computers, our results will be different.
Instead, look at the analytics on your website, and see how much traffic you are getting from search. Is it new traffic? What’s the bounce rate? How long are they staying and what are they looking at? As you see this traffic start to increase in number and quality of visits, you will know that the SEO is working.