It’s difficult for anyone to arrive at a consensus as to what flawless SEO (search engine optimization) implementation looks like. In fact, there’s no such thing as “flawless implementation” in the SEO arena. Google and other search engines have been consistent in keeping their exact page ranking procedures inconsistent, as they frequently alter algorithms. As a result, those looking to keep their web pages ranked highly on search engines are left to be kept on their toes. And in the near future, Google will be leaning more heavily on social media and your location to better serve you information. For example, articles your friends have shared will list higher in your search engine results, as will those sites that offer services most relevant to your zip code.
Keeping all this in mind, today on #TechTuesdays we’re setting out to ease you into the ever-shifting world of SEO with seven basic tips to get you started that aren’t predicated on knowledge of HTML (hypertext markup language). And remember, again, the world of SEO is a little like the Wild West. Even when there are “laws,” they are in constant flux and aren’t always evenly enforced, so take these tips as a list of best practices and not so much the gospel word on all things SEO.
Let’s take a moment to ensure we harp on content. Achieving a high page ranking is incredibly dependent on content. If you’re not constantly keeping your website updated with fresh, original, quality content, your page ranking will suffer greatly. Search engines understand that the most useful sites for users are those frequently updated with quality information, and they’ll rank sites accordingly.
Depending on the field your small business is in, you may not feel there’s an opportunity to consistently keep your site updated with new articles. However, there’s always something you can do. If nothing else, consider setting up an employee blog page on your site, or running a CEO blog.
Keywords, Keywords, Keywords!
What do people use when they search for a website without knowing exactly which specific website they are trying to reach? Why, they use keywords, of course!
When you’re writing content and updating your web site, always take the time to consider what kind of word(s) a user may input into a search engine’s search field when trying to find content related to what you’re writing about. Once you arrive at a list of likely words, take action by ensuring these words are sprinkled appropriately throughout the body and titles of your article. And when we say “appropriately,” we mean organically, or naturally. Intentionally “keyword-stuffing” articles with keywords where they don’t make sense or interrupt the natural flow of things will hurt your site ranking because you’ll be labeled as a spammer.
Oh, and be sure to specifically include your keywords in the title of your article and any header and subheader listings on your page, where appropriate. These are a couple of the most important areas to include your keywords.
Link Back to Yourself
Internal links matter! Always link back to yourself when possible (although not excessively). Whenever you make a reference to a previous topic you’ve written about, or quote something in your archives, ensure that you make the reference a hyperlink that connects back to that specific article on your site. If that hyperlink is itself a keyword relating to the content of the page it’s linking to, then all the better.
Never blindly rely on the default URLs (uniform resource locator, or web address) created as you’re making a post for your site or blog if the default URL is one that uses a randomly generated nonsense string of numbers and letters, or if it just uses the date, etc. Instead, ensure the URL uses recognizable words that reflect the content contained within your post. For example, this article here on S-FX wouldn’t be “www.s-fx.com/0324/u999867.htm,” but rather more along the lines of “www.s-fx.com/best-seo-tips”.
Social Media Distribution
Have a business social media account? Good, you should. Use it. When you make a new post on your company blog, share it with the world via your company’s Facebook, Twitter, or whatever other social media entity your have a presence on. Share it using your personal social media profile(s), too, if you have them, and encourage friends to do so as well. The more social media profiles you have sharing your content, the more eyeballs your content will reach.
Sign Up for Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools allow you to quickly check your site’s status and ensure it’s “playing nice” with Google. Adding your site to Google Webmaster Tools is a quick, straightforward process, and once added you’ll be able to index your site on the search engine the way you want it to be indexed. Google will also check your “site health” for any potential issues, as well as keep you updated as to how users are finding your site. This knowledge can be invaluable to tweaking your site for search engine optimization and we highly recommend making use of the free service.
Sign Up for “Google My Business”
“Google My Business” is a free service that allows you to add and control your local business listing on Google and tweak how it displays to those within your area that look up the field of business you operate in — whether they are searching through Google’s Search, Google+, or Google Maps. The service also allows for users to review your business, which opens the opportunity for you to encourage friends and happy patrons to leave positive reviews that will bolster your organic search ranking within local listings.
In conclusion, allow us to simply reiterate what we suggested before: BE CONSISTENT. Consistently add new content, consistently interlink within your articles, consistently employ keywords, etc. As long as you’re consistent with the practices above, you’ll see improvement with your search ranking, and that will only mean good things for your small business.