Everyone who owns a small business or who works in marketing should know their way around the wild and ever-changing world of search-engine optimization (SEO). Once an afterthought and just a small piece of the sales/advertising puzzle, SEO has come into its own as a separate, important business discipline. Its growth in importance is based on reality. For-profit entities simply cannot thrive unless their websites appear high enough in search results to attract large numbers of visitors. Then, a decent percentage of those visitors will become customers. Eventually, some fraction of new customers will turn into long-term, loyal buyers of your products and services.
But, the first step is all about getting engine algorithms to recognize your site and its content. For example, if you sell miniature imported brass animal sculptures in a brick-and-mortar store based in New Haven, an SEO professional will see to it that when seekers go online and hunt for information about any of terms, they’ll see your website listed on the first page of results. Preferably, it will not only be on the first page but high up on the page. There’s more to SEO than that, which is why it pays to know the commandments of the discipline.
Don’t let your website stagnate. Visitors hate checking into a site only to discover that no new content or updates have been posted in a while. Make it a point to add new items to your main page and/or blog at least once per week, and preferably twice or three times each week. Additionally, be diligent about telling visitors how often you update. Don’t leave them in the dark.
Hire a Competent Freelancer
Unless you specialize in all things search-engine related, leave the heavy lifting to a professional. Don’t rely on your gut instincts or knowledge gained from an article you read last night. And do not fall into the trap of thinking that software will do the trick. It won’t. If you hire an SEO freelancer with confidence, there will be no need for software. Allocate a set percentage of the marketing budget to pay for SEO services from a human being who has experience in the field. What can an expert do for your company?
For starters, your pages will start to rank higher. More people will visit your site and read blog articles listed there. Make sure you have good content for them to look at, and after that, your sales should begin to rise, slowly but surely. A talented SEO freelancer is a profit center. Rarely will there be a month in which expense will exceed income. But, don’t expect miracles. Even the best of the best pros needs a few weeks to prove their worth.
Use Excellent Links
Be careful not to use broken, outdated, or irrelevant links in content. The whole point of adding a link is so readers will click it. It they hit a dead end, a 404, or an old piece of content, chances are they’ll never come back.
Post Interesting, Useful Content
The internet is a sea of words. Most of what is posted is either outdated, duplicated from other sources, based on incorrect information, or boring. Don’t let your creations fall into any of those categories. Always take the time, or pay someone else to take the time, to create pieces that deliver value. That means every article posted on your site or as a guest on someone else’s should offer worthwhile information to anyone who reads it.
Avoid Overused Keywords & Stuffing
There are plenty of free keyword tools that will show you exactly how many people are using a given term. Avoid keywords that are overused. Especially as a new company, you’re apt to drown in a sea of larger competitors who can afford to post on high-authority sites and beat you to the top every time. Don’t stuff keywords into articles. Modern versions of algorithms can detect stuffing. Not only will you miss out on a high ranking, but stuffing might lead to penalties and exceptionally low rankings.
Understand the Power of Speed
Check the speed of your site regularly. Users get frustrated when the click on a website and are forced to wait for graphics and other complex content to load. At least twice per week, see how quickly visitors can get into your website.