Search Engine Optimization is a bugaboo, full of misinformation put out to prey on the fear and anxiety business owners have about wanting to rank high in a particular niche. If you could do just one thing that would help a lot would you do it? Yes, of course you would. So I am going to give you 10 pieces of advice to take the edge off and will make a difference in your site’s visibility.
- Have a WordPress website. Even a simple one can be a search engine magnet and they are also good because it is easier to do the following steps on a WordPress site than if you have a static html site.
- Regularly add high quality content to your website so that people visit and link to your site. Write blog posts and articles that your readers are interested in and you will begin to build traffic. Traffic is good and links to your content are good for SEO.
- If you have a poorly designed website and are not creating fresh content by blogging, you probably will not rank well in searches. Do not be lured in by shysters selling SEO services to people who don’t know it is not okay to stuff your writing with keywords or buy and sell links. A reputable SEO person is going to be all about the content and know that a site must be good enough to convert the visitors into taking action once they are there.
- Install the WP SEO plugin by Yoast and learn to use it to make the titles and descriptions of your website pages and posts more search engine friendly. Your titles and first 160 characters of your posts can be more reader friendly and your posts and page content does not have to sound spammy to your readers. Don’t just copy your title and first part of your post into the plugin. That defeats the purpose.
- Use one main keyword or keyword phrase per post and make sure that word or phrase is in your text, titles and excerpts. Google can slap you down for having too many keywords and for using all the same keywords on each page and post. Be smart about choosing your keywords for your site. You will never come up for extremely competitive terms like, for example, “Shoes” (1,800,000,000 search results). But you could work on coming up for “Handmade Tango Shoes Buenos Aires” ( 23,200 search results). These are called long-tail terms and are much easier to rank for.
- Make sure your site’s performing well. You will get dinged for sites that load slow. Optimize your photos and watch the number and types of plugins that you use. They can slow your site down.
- Build in internal links from a new post you write to another one of your posts on the same topic. This results in you getting ranked higher and you are seen as an authority on that subject. This post, Become More Relevant With Internal Links, goes into more detail about how and why to do this.
- Verify authorship on your website: Get a Google+ account for yourself with photo and full profile. Add Links to your website and then add links back to your Google + from your website. You may then have your image show up in a Google search.
- When you add new content, post a link to it on Twitter and Google + and it will be indexed by the search engines much faster. Use the WPSEO Plugin to create an xml site map for your WordPress website. This plugin works in the background of your site, giving search engines a map to index your site by. It refreshes itself with the addition of new content and automatically sends the map to Google Yahoo and Bing.
- Claim your business on Yelp and on Google places which has recently changed to Google + Business Pages. You will come to the top of a search page because of that, especially if you get a lot of reviews.
Remember the best thing you can do is to build your site and reputation by creating content your readers, customers, clients need and want. Every page and post can come up as a separate item in a search and they will continue to come up in searches for years which gives you geometric growth in traffic. A steady input of good product, good customer service and fresh content on your website, will insure that your traffic and your business will grow organically.
If down the road, you are doing all of the things above and want to tweak your search performance, by all means hire a reputable SEO firm to help you. But remember, as much as we wish it were true, there is no cream to make our thighs smaller and there is not an SEO magic pill solution that will make you rank number one in a Google search, without the work.
Do you have any other tips that have worked well for you when you were first starting out?