Should You be Doing SEO? (Search Engine Optimization)
Many businesses have reaped big profits as a result of SEO. Is it right for your business? My opinion is that it probably is, at least to some degree. For sure, you should do simple on-page optimization, such as setting the page titles, meta description tags, and headings to reflect the subject of each web page. The best long-term strategy is to continuously create great content. With great content, you shouldn’t need to put much effort into building backlinks. People like to link to pages that have great content. Gaining backlinks can happen naturally. Having a blog is usually the best way to keep your site fresh and full of great content. Each blog post can have different topics, keywords, and keyword variations related to your business to help with SEO.
A Constantly Moving Goalpost
There are some things you can always count on with SEO, and one of those things is change. As the black-hatters invent more ways to manipulate the search results, the search engines modify their algorithms to counter those efforts. Also, the technology is constantly changing, which means more and different factors will be involved in the future than are now. A simple change in a search engine algorithm can demote a web page from position one on the search results page to position eighty-two, without any prior warning. But if you concentrate your SEO efforts on having great quality content, you are better positioned for long-term success with your rankings.
There are a number of tools and services available to help with your SEO efforts. They can give you valuable information to guide and track your progress. Some of the statistics you can examine from these tools are: PageRank, number of backlinks, types of backlinks, web page rankings, website comparisons, and traffic information. You can examine these statistics for your own web pages and websites or for others as well, including ones owned by your competition.
SEO for Local
The search engines have a separate system designed especially for listing local businesses. This can be a very valuable way to get exposure in your local area, and it is free. Taking advantage of the local listings offered by the major search engines is one of best ways to grow your local business from Internet marketing.
The first step for showing in the local listings is to register your business with the search engines. After submitting the information, there will be a verification process to prove that the business is located where you say it is. Once you have successfully registered and verified your business, the next step is to try to rank higher on the results pages.
Just like ranking for organic results, the search engines have special algorithms for the local results. These algorithms rank many different factors. Although the actual algorithms are not disclosed, there is a lot of information that has been made available to get us headed in the right direction..
Here are some of the factors known to affect the rankings. Applying some SEO attention to these factors is a good investment of time.
- Information on your business page. When you register your local business, you give information and descriptions about your business. Be sure to categorize your business accurately and use your most important keywords in prominent places. Also, make sure to complete your business profile as much as possible, including adding photos.
- Reviews. Reviews are becoming a much bigger part of how people hire local businesses. The number and quality of reviews your business page receives also contributes as a ranking factor.
- Backlinks. Just like with standard SEO, backlinks are important. Having them point to your website is good. Also try to get a few that point directly to your Google+ business page. In fact, linking your own website to your Google+ business page is a great idea.
- Citations. Building citations, or “mentions,” of your business around the web is a major factor in the local rankings. As I mentioned in Part 2, it is very important to have a consistent NAP (name address and phone number) in your citations. There are many kinds of citations and various ways to build them, but definitely start with major directory sites like yellowbook.com and www.supermedia.com. (To see a more extensive list of sites for building citations, go to www.brickway.net/building-citations/.)
Most important things to know from this section:
- SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of making your web pages rank higher on search results pages, or at least attempting to do so.
- Creating quality content is a mainstay of SEO. If you can provide quality content, it will likely result in more traffic to your web pages, higher rankings with the search engines, and (one would hope) more customers.
- “White-hat” is the term used to describe legitimate SEO tactics.
- “Black-hat” is the term used to describe trying to manipulate the search engines in order to receive higher rankings.
- “On-page SEO” refers to things you can do to optimize the content and code of your web pages.
- “Off-page SEO” refers to processes external to your website, such as finding ways to get backlinks.
- “Backlinks” are links to your web pages from other pages on the web. Tracking backlinks is a method the search engines use to gauge the popularity and significance of pages on the web. Backlinks can be a major factor in determining web page rankings by the search engines.
- SEO is generally a page thing, not a site Think of each page of your site as being separate, then use SEO tactics to optimize them individually.
Most important things to do:
- Commit to only white-hat tactics. For the long run, it’s the only way. Create a great website that is useful for its visitors. That alone is a great SEO strategy.
- Make sure each page you want to show in search results has on-page optimization, such as page titles, the description meta tag, alternative text for photos, and formatted headings above blocks of text.
- If you are serious about SEO, start finding ways to get quality backlinks. Doing guest posting on blogs, participating in forums, and asking people you know for links are ways to get started.
- If you are serious about SEO, you should definitely have a blog, and continuously add content that can be helpful for your visitors. Quality blog postings can lead to higher rankings, more traffic, and natural backlinks to your site.
Most important things NOT to do:
- Waste time trying to manipulate the search engines.
- Overlook the importance of adding basic on-page optimization, especially the <title> tag. The title tag is one of the most important places a web spider looks to know the topic of a web page.
- Hire someone to create backlinks for you without knowing exactly what their tactics are. Links from link farms and other low-quality sites can only harm your rankings.
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See "The Internet Marketing Strategy Book" by Barry Abraham
Barry Abraham is the author of "The Internet Marketing Strategy Book." This is a 10-chapter book that gives an easy-to-understand overview of current Internet marketing opportunities.
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