In the ideal business world your office overlooks the sea, coffee flows freely and you have a dedicated SEO manager working full time on your website. Then we all wake up and realise that business that survive are lean, mean, self-reliant machines.
66% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority (HubSpot, 2016). Unfortunately the simple truth is that most SME’s don’t have the luxury of a dedicated SEO manager but there are some things that you can do yourself to increase your ranking in SERP (Search Engines Result Page).
Here are few points you can do by yourself without the help of an expert:
Find a list of 20-25 keywords and phrases to optimize your site with. What’s important is that your keyword phrases are specific and what is called ‘niche’. For example, ‘buy a car’ is a very general key phrase, but ‘buy a car in Manhattan New York’ is more targeted or niche. There are many free online tools, including Google Analytics that can help you identify keywords or phrases for both SEO and your PPC campaigns. Here’s another one to check out.
Keep this in mind – no one like a spammer, especially Google. Keyword stuffing not only puts off your audience but also put off Google’s spiders that scan your site for relevance. There are many theories on how many keywords should appear in text and there are online tools like this one to help guide you. But, Google likes to change its algorithms as often as I like to change my shoes, so no-one approach is going to get it just right. The best approach is to write content with your target audience in mind – make it easy to read and engaging.
Keep your website content relevant, fresh and up to date.
Use the keywords list you created in the previous section to write your content. Make it interesting, using short sentences and paragraphs. And don’t forget to add an image – articles with an image once every 75-100 words get double the number of social shares than articles with fewer images (Buzzsumo, 2015).
Be sure to use H tags for your headers – this is usually the title of your post and helps search engines understand the main topics of a long post. This is also known as the header tag, or the
H1 tag in HTML.
Use META TAGS
The short answer here is – use meta tags ‘title’and ‘description’. If you don’t need to know anything else, then stop reading and just go do it .
If you do want to know more – here it is – meta tags are not displayed to visitors of the page but they do help search engines to better understand what your page is about.
• META Title – this is the text you see in the header of your browser
• META Description – A brief description of the page that should be between 150-160 characters (with spaces) in length. The description is very important as this is what people searching in a search engine will read – so a well written description will help your click through rate.
There are three other important meta tags but not must-dos:
• META keywords – a series of relevant keywords relevant to your website – this is less important now and you can give it a miss.
• Index/noindex – This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.
• Follow/nofollow – This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages: whether they should trust and “follow” your links to the next page or not.
Use internal links.
Add internal links between the pages of your website. They will help users navigate around your site, establish information hierarchy and spreads link juice!
Here are some good practices for internal linking
• Add links around the site – not just to your homepage or contact us pages. In general link to deeper pages on your site, not just ones on the main navigation menu.
• Provide lots of content
• Use links that are natural for the reader and relevant to your text
• Don’t overdo the number of links per page.
Inbound Link Building
An inbound link (also called ‘backlink’ or ‘external link’), is a link coming from another site to your website. Building good inbound links to your site is hard work, but a must! The best thing you can do for your website is to tell search engines that you are an authority on a certain subject.
Your inbound link building strategy will include:
Writing great, unique and timely content that people want to link to
Creating awareness of your great content through your social channels
Conducting an ‘outreach’ program where you contact relevant bloggers and ask them to share your content with a backlink to your site (very important, don’t forget to get the link back!)
Adding your site to directories or paying for listings.
Promote your website on social media.
Today everyone is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the rest. As search engines give more attention to key phrases rather than just keywords, it is important to have a short paragraph on Facebook pointing to your website, with the relevant key phrase.
Social media is also a great way to get attention for your content. Your posts will, of course, link back to your site so people can read more of the great things you have to say.