Now we all know that SEO can be a difficult customer at times, with forever changing search engine algorithms and the constant struggle to stay ahead of the competition. For most business owners the mere thought of managing their own SEO campaign can be enough put them off before they even begin. Where do I start? How long will it take? Surely it would be easier to let someone else do it for me? Now these are all valid questions, but the truth is that search engine optimisation like most things can be learnt (and it’s not as scary as you might think). Doing the basics well will not only make a massive difference to your company’s website, but in the long run can also save you time and money. So let me talk you through some simple yet powerful techniques that you can apply to your own website right now.
1 - The Creation of Great Content
We’ve all heard it before but it really is true what they say, content is king. If your website is full of engaging content, you will have set the perfect platform for a successful SEO campaign. There are however, rules that you must abide by. Above all else, make sure your content is unique. Ripping copy from other online sources will only succeed in getting your website de-valued by search engines.
Aim for between 300-500 words per page as a start. Make sure that the title of your page reflects the subject, for example if I was writing a page of content for the family law section on a solicitors website I might title that page; ABC Solicitors, Family Law Specialists. I would also advise that you mention the key phrase a couple of times in the main body of text, in my example the key phrase would be Family Law. Add to that a couple of relevant images that you have either taken yourself or purchased from an image library such as Fotolia and there your go, you’ve made a solid start to your SEO campaign! Not so scary after all.
2 - Sourcing Useful Backlinks
Building quality backlinks into a website is essential for online success, but before we get into the technical details let me quickly explain what a backlink is. Let’s say for example I run my own blog about vegan food, one day I might come across a website that talks about issues that vegetarians face in today’s world. If I’m sufficiently impressed by that site I might go away and write a blog post about it so that all of my readers can be made aware of it, in that blog post I could put a hyperlink that goes directly to that vegetarian website – that’s a backlink, a direct link from one website to another.
So how can you get backlinks for your own site? A couple of years ago this was pretty easy, you were able to find online directories that allowed you to pay for your website to be linked to via those directories, this enabled companies to generate vast numbers of backlinks quickly and at a relatively low cost. This is no longer an option as many of those web directories we shut down after being declared toxic by Google, any links from those site were viewed as toxic. There are however, a couple of very accessible methods that you can use to build backlinks into your website.
Firstly, talk to your current suppliers and customers. Hopefully over the years you with have built up strong relationships with these individuals and businesses, many of these with have their own websites – ask for a mention and a subsequent backlink from these sites, even if you succeed in only generating a few backlinks, these could be really valuable. Secondly, become a thought leader in your field. Start writing articles and try to get online publications that are related to your business to publish them. This will hopefully have a double effect, not only will your receive a link from the publication in question but individuals viewing your article might actually navigate to your website to see what else you can offer them.
3 - Social Signals
To the dismay of many a business owner, social media for businesses is here to stay. The social media boom over the last few years has caused massive waves throughout the marketing world, and because of that, search engines such as Google now count social signals as a ranking factor in their algorithms. So how can you take advantage of this? It’s simple really, get social!
The total number of followers and connections that your business has across the various social media platforms does appear to have an influence on your search engine rankings. Again though, there are some stipulations; search engines claim to be able to detect the quality of connections and followers that you have, so buying 5000 proxy twitter followers from a third party source is not going to do your social profile much good in the long run. As always the process of building followers must be as natural as possible.
Growing your social media following can be a slow process, but don’t let this put you off as it’s definitely worth the effort. Make sure that you post material that is useful, reward your followers with information that will help them. Make sure you engage with your connections as communication is the best way to build trusting relationships with individuals and businesses, but it’s important NOT to sell sell sell on social media as this will only succeed in putting people off connecting with you. Of course as some point you’re going to want to promote your own business but do this sporadically – if in doubt follow the 80/20 rule, 80% useful articles and communications, 20% self-promotion. So there you have it, a few really useful techniques that you can apply to your own company’s SEO campaign right now. Good luck!
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