SEO can be intimidating to people who don’t know a lot about it but it’s not at practice that is too difficult to figure out if you have the time. A self-sufficient person can use Google to search for the right articles and armed with this knowledge, just about anyone can learn how to SEO their own website. The tough part is doing it right and doing it well – but there’s a lot that you can do on your own without having to hire a full-time employee or firm. If you are a small business who just needs to SEO a 5 – 10 page website here are 5 simple things you can do on your own.
1 – Pick the Best Possible Keywords
There are a few different things you want to consider when you begin to SEO your website but the most important is bankable keyword opportunities. You can find these quite easily using Google Trends. This may seem pretty cut and dried but the research into trending searches is important. As an example, if you sell teddy bears your inclination might be to search engine optimize your website for the keyword “teddy bears” but in doing some research you may find that people are more frequently searching for “plush bears.” For this reason, the best thing for you to do is research what the keyword volume is and what additional trending searches are around that keyword. Once you find out what types of searches are popular in your industry you can leverage relevant keywords that you could see potential customers using to search for your business. You will then focus on optimizing your site around them.
2 – Create Relevant Content
Another thing that will greatly improve search results is relevant content. Look at what content is out there that’s speaks to your industry and find ways to improve upon it. To be clear, you are basically going to think of what would be popular searches and create content for them. A lot of times when you do a search for a topic that’s relevant to your industry you’ll find several blogs that respond to it but their coverage is spotty or it’s not a well written article. It could even be that it’s just an idea that needs further development. Whatever the case it’s an opportunity for you to become visible in that search. In these situations you can really do something of note and create a valuable piece of content that is more relevant and better answers the search query than what was previously available. Doing this can really help with your overall visibility. As an example, we created a piece about which e-commerce platforms are best for a new business. This article gets us a lot of visibility in searches for e-commerce related topics because it is useful and provides value.
3 – Optimize Your Site for Robots / Crawlers
Having a website that is easily accessable by robots is another important aspect of search engine optimization. Page load time and other functionality issues are going to have a big effect on how crawlers experience your site and how quickly they can index your pages. If your site loads extremely slow then crawlers are not going to index the pages as well and you’re going to lose ground to your competitors. Another good thing to do for crawlers is keep your navigation simple. Don’t get into super complex navigation with all kinds of subcategories and landing pages. Keep your URL’s as short as possible and make sure that you use actual text and not and images so that crawlers can pick it up. Last but most importantly, don’t hide text or do things that might look like “search engine spamming” to Google because you will lose ranking if Google sees you doing shady things that look like spamming.
4 – Get Backlinks
Backlinks from other relevant website are a huge part of search rankings. While social media signals such as “likes” and “followers” are nice to have for social proof, you need links back to your content if you really want to rise in search. The best way to get backlinks is by creating high quality content that speaks to a certain search query or answers a question. When you do this people are going to find your content and link back to you. Again this is something we’ve seen firsthand with our Apex Digital Media blog. We recently created an infographic on how a modern sales funnel works and tweeted it out. Several companies responded and one reached out to us about it directly to arranged a content trade. Well conceived, useful content is going to be the biggest thing you can do to improve organic search rankings.
5 – Create a Digital Brand
Simple things that define a brand are also important. Remember if you have a short simple domain like google.com people easily remember that and can type it in. Also don’t be too salesy or oversell yourself in your content. You want to be an authority not to seem like your blog is schilling mindlessly for your company with a bunch of shameless plugs. It’s okay to link to your contact page at the end of the article and say “Hey do you need more help with this? Here’s our contact page” but you don’t want to spam the s*** out of people with a chat box and 1,000 different attempts to make them a lead. I try to think about these types of things from my own perspective and I hate that stuff so I wouldn’t want to force my users to deal with it.
Doing all of these things is going to help build credibility over time for your digital brand. People in the industry call this “authority marketing” you are making yourself a thought leader in your industry. Outside of digital there are a variety of other ways to get out and perpetuate your brand. Doing speaking engagements at relevant conferences, advertising in other venues outside of the web (on the radio and television, billboards, bus stops, etc.) all of these will create additional indicators of relevance for your business.
So these are a few simple things that anyone can do to help their SEO. “Don’t be intimidated” is what I tell most of our clients. We aren’t rocket scientists, what we’re doing here could be done by just about anyone with the time to learn it. We’re providing value by providing a service for business owners who don’t have time to do it all themselves.
Whether you do it yourself or hire a someone to do it for you, your digital presence is one of the most important aspects of your business in the modern world. You want to make sure that customers can find you and that you are as visible as possible. Being more visible than your competitors is how you’re going to net the largest share of business!