We have been living in the new digital landscape of SEO for more than a decade but many small business owners remain clueless about the world of Search Engine Optimization. It can be challenging to know where to start and where to turn for quick and easy SEO tips.
Faced with this bewildering new normal, it’s hardly surprising that many smaller enterprises avoid tackling their SEO problems or outsource them. Many businesses are fighting every day to grow or even to make ends meet. They may have little time to even add valuable website content, let alone to optimize it for search engines to improve their chances of being found online.
A coherent SEO strategy can go a long way and you don’t have to hire an expensive consultant. These quick and easy SEO tips will help you set up basecamp.
It’s important to realize SEO is a long-term strategy. Don’t think you can flood your site with content for two months and then post nothing on it. It takes time for search engines to notice your web presence.
It’s important to know what SEO is from the outset. Think first of all about the role of the search engines. The search engines will analyze all of the web pages they have ever visited and give you the most relevant results. Seach engines are clever at understanding the relevance of results to the search query.
Here are seven quick and easy SEO tips.
1 Realize the Real Audience is Human
People drive your bottom lines and the search engines know this. If you build your website so as it’s user-friendly, the search engines will reward you. A few years ago, website writers would try to game the system by stuffing their copy with the keywords they wanted to show up for.
Now the search engines will look for user-friendly content that makes the experience easy and entertaining for your visitors. Consider using a range of media and answering the questions that people are asking on your website. Keyword research is an important way to do this.
2 Find Keywords that are Relevant and Profitable
Before providing content for your site, you should consider the keywords that you want your potential clients to search for. The expression ‘keyword’ can be misleading. Keywords are usually more than one word. Seek out keywords that will ensure your site is found and is not over-utilized elsewhere.
For instance, if you own a personal injury practice in Chicago, there will be massive competition for the keyword “Chicago personal injury lawyer.’ The trick is to find a keyword that fewer people are searching for and fewer of your competitors have thought of. If, for example, accidents in elevators is one of your practice areas, instead consider a keyword like ‘Chicago elevator accident lawyer.’ Although fewer people will be searching for this term, a potential client who has been injured in an elevator accident may be and your site is more likely to top a Google search.
Use a tool to research keywords that you want to rank for. Google Keyword planner is a great tool and it’s free. To access it, you need a Google Adwords account. You can set up an Adwords account free without doing paid search. You can find the Keyword planner under the Tools tab. This guide on Backlinko tells you how to get the most out of the tool.
Although Google Keyword planner is aimed at paid search and tells you how much to bid for on keywords in paid search, it’s useful because you can find the demand for certain keywords and the search volume. Seeking out keywords with less competition but lots of searches will help you get ahead of your competitors.
There are other great keyword research tools you can use like Moz Keyword Explorer, but you will have to pay for these services.
If you are building out a new website, every page on your website should be optimized for a keyword. Even if your website is well established, you can utilize keywords in blog posts and new pages. However, make sure not to detract from the pages that are optimized by using the same keywords in subsequent writing.
Although developing a keyword strategy may not seem like it should be included in a list of easy SEO tips, keywords are a bit like the foundation of a house. Once it’s solid, it easier to build.
3 Build Keywords into Your Content
If you find a host of great keywords but don’t know how to use them, it’s like buying an expensive new camera without reading the manual. Make sure your web pages are aligned around the keywords.
The search engines want to see unique keywords that are optimized on each page. Draw up an Excel spreadsheet from the outset that highlights the keyword that’s slated for each page of your website.
Once you have this, write your copy around that keyword. Don’t overstuff the page with the keyword. Your pages should be written with the reader in mind with the hope he or she will become a client or a customer. Make sure to include the keyword in the title and the SEO title as well as a handful of times in the copy. If you are working in WordPress an SEO tool like Yoast can help you optimize your pages for their allocated keywords.
4 Don’t Forget About Images
Images will break up your copy and make it more user-friendly for the reader. However, you need to guide search engines to tell them what information is contained in the images.
Make sure to rename images so as the search engines know what they are about. Use your keyword in captions and alt tags. These boxes are visible when you upload images. Too many people leave them blank.
5 Use a Range of Media
Variety will keep visitors to your website more engaged. The longer they spend on your website the more favorable the ‘bounce rate’ of your site will be. Google prefers sites with a lower bounce rate because it indicates visitors find more value and interest in your site and are more engaged if they are not clicking away.
Adding variety to your website is one of the quick and easy SEO tips that doesn’t take much technical know-how. Embed videos from your YouTube channel, use polls to engage people, reply to comments and consider adding features like infographics and memes.
More than half of all searches are now on mobile devices, making it vital that your content is not too text-heavy and ideally features elements like video and other graphics.
6 Wok on Getting Good Quality Links Your Domain
Backlinks are links to your site from another website. They are important because search engines like Google and Bing see them as endorsements. If someone else is linking to you, they must like something about your site.
Think of a link to your website as a vote for your page. The search engines pick up on links to your website. But not all links are good links. In the past, Google moved to outlaw practices such as link exchanges and the buying of links.
The search engines place value on the relevance of the links. Some links are better than others in casting votes for your website. If you work as an insurance attorney, for example, a link from a trade association or a professional body will be worth more than a link from the website of a pet supply store that opened up a week ago.
Generally, good quality backlinks include links from government entities, charities, educational institutions, and the mainstream media. If your work is being featured by a local TV station, ask if you can get a link from their website to yours. Often non-profits will provide a backlink if you agree to be a sponsor.
7 Create Unique and New Content
It has become a cliche, but content remains king in the world of SEO. You should add new content to your website as often as possible, whether blogs, new pages, pictures or videos. Google prefers lengthy content that’s optimized for SEO. Daily blogs are ideal. If you are not able to add to your website every day, hire a writer. Also look to feature guest bloggers and contributors. Encourage comments but also be careful to moderate them. Maximize that content by posting links to it on your social media sites. The idea of the storefront is becoming unfashionable but your website is really little more than a virtual storefront. If nobody is coming through your door, you’ll be living a lonely and unprofitable existence.
David Macaulay is a writer who has been working on SEO with law firms and other businesses for more than six years.