Search Engine Optimization Essentials

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the cornerstones to an effective online presence. It is estimated that almost 90% of all web traffic is from a search engine of some sort. A good SEO plan is a great first step in any inbound marketing efforts. If you can consistently rank on the first page of any web searches, you will be positioning your business to be found by eager consumers.

This short report will cover the most critical items you need to be aware of when it comes to search engine optimization.

Google Rules: As of today, Google has a stranglehold on the search engine market. They hold about a 70% market share. When you are optimizing for the search engines, it usually means Google. It has the best chance to consistently send you leads.

Its All In The Keyword: The strength of SEO is that you can attempt to rank for whichever keywords you want. Keywords are the terms users search for on a search engine. The strongest SEO campaigns will begin with properly researched keywords. The basic cycle is to brainstorm a list of words you think people would search to find your business or offering. Then you plug this list into online tools like the Google Keyword Tool, and you will be given even more options. You can also view the competition and the amount the keywords are searched. This way you can figure out which keywords are worth ranking for.

Think Local & Long-tail: Quite often ranking for a location based keyword is easier than just the keyword itself. Similarly, ranking for keywords that are 3-4 words long is also easier than one word queries. For example, ranking on the top of Google for Bakery would probably be very hard. If you add a local flair to it, it becomes much more likely. Ranking for Tallahassee Bakery will be a lot easier. Even easier than that would be a long-tail term like Tallahassee Wedding Cake Bakery. Each of those keyword terms are progressively easier to rank for, but the trade off is they are searched less. Counter that by trying to rank for as many related long-tail terms as possible.

Your Web Platform Matters: While any type of website can rank in the search engines (so breathe easy if you already have a website built), the platform you build it with can speed up the SEO process. The single most powerful platform I have used is WordPress. Google seems to love it…and for good reason. WordPress was initially a Blogging platform, so it makes it very easy to add new content. Google loves new content (more on that later), so WordPress is favored since it likely includes fresh content. WordPress also includes many free plugins that are designed to boost your SEO rankings. The navigational set up of WordPress is also more inline with the type of interlinking Google values. They want to send people to sites that are easy to navigate. If you are choosing one platform to build your website with, seriously consider WordPress.

On-Page and Off-Page: Once you have your website platform chosen and list of keywords you can begin to optimize your website. The two major ways are on-page and off-page. It is a widely held belief that you should spend 20% of your time on-page optimization and 80% off page.

On-page optimization is making your site search engine friendly. One of the major concerns you want to address are the title tags on every page. Each page should have its own title and include a different keyword term. This way each of your websites pages can rank for a different search engine term. If you use WordPress you can install plugins like All in One SEO to help with this. You will also want to make sure your keywords show up in your sites content but do not stuff them in. They have to be used moderately and naturally. Other on-page concerns include cleaning up any broken links on your site, including a sitemap, a privacy policy and proper working navigation.

Off-page optimization comes down to almost purely link building. One of the best ways to get your website into the search engines is if lots of people link back to your site. Actively building backlinks can be a grueling process but it works. For best results you will want your keyword to be the actual text of the link. Whatever words form the actual link are known as anchor text. You want your anchor text to be your chosen keywords! To get started add your website link to any online profiles you may have.

Consistent Content: This is one of the best ways to properly optimize your site for the search engines. You must be creating and posting content on your site regularly. It doesnt have to be daily (although that would rock!) but I think weekly is a great goal. If you cant do that yourself, you can get an employee to take that on, or find cheap outsourcing solutions.

Content is the lifeblood of your website. It is why people come to it and why people stay. Creating content also gives you more chances to rank in the search engines. If you are posting helpful articles to your site, make sure to get some keywords in the title so they can show up in the search engines. This is why WordPress is so powerful, it makes adding content easy.

Google loves fresh content as well. Sites that have fresh updated content are more relevant by their very nature in Googles eyes. Commit to creating content consistently and you will see your search engine rank grow along with your traffic and revenue.

Search Engine Optimization is one of the best advertising opportunities online today. Start your SEO efforts today, and soon you wont have to worry about cold calls because your customers will be finding you.

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