Today, I bring you a guest post from Emma-Julie Fox.
Contrary to what many would have you believe, small businesses can get attention and love from search engines without making a huge dent in their pockets. The solution lies in creating the right mix of DIY and outsourced online marketing. Although your business may need to seek professional SEO services at some point, you can still improve your company’s search engine rankings (and save some money) by getting started with some simple SEO tasks yourself. Here are a few ways to get started:
1. Publish new content.
To keep your website current and to improve search results, you need to ensure that you constantly post new information to your website. Additionally, fresh contentwill help you achieve better user engagement by giving visitors a reason to return to your business website. The fresh content could be in the form of blogs, PR updates, new product/service release announcements, or just about anything you think your target market will find relevant.
2. Choose Your Keywords With Care.
While you may not be able to do your keyword research yourself, you can play a proactive role in ensuring that you only invest in keywords that are likely to give you the best results. The important thing to remember is to be pragmatic about your SEO goals. Since, you are on a tight budget, don’t look at high competition keywords (even if they boast of impressive search volumes), instead you must focus on ‘low’ and ‘medium’ competition keywords that are likely to get you quicker results with smaller investments. For example, let’s say you run an online store that sells designer handbags. Now, you may decide to focus your campaign on keywords like ‘designer handbags’, ‘designer bags’ etc, but you will notice those are very competitive keywords. Therefore, it may be a better idea for you to start with less competitive ones like, ‘designer hand bags’ (with a space between hand and bags), ‘discount designer bags’, etc. The search volumes for these keywords may not be too high, but you’ll start seeing results sooner and working on these keywords will eventually push your rankings up for related (high search volume) competitive keywords like ‘designer bags’.
3. Go social.
Sharing your fresh content on social media channels can help you drive more traffic to your site, spread the word about your brand, and help you generate the social signals that search engines love.A great tip for impactful social sharing is to follow the rule of 80% information and 20% promotion. Although you might want to hire a social media marketing agency to help you get started, you may be able to manage your social channels yourself. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Creating Relevant Polls On Your Facebook Page
- Sharing videos and pictures that your target market is likely to find entertaining
- Replying to tweets associated with your niche area
- Engaging with your customers by answering their questions/concerns
- Posting views, opinions and questions that have the potential to spark a debate or discussion
- Making insightful comments on news and developments associated with your niche area
4. Analyze usage patterns.
There are great analytic tools such as Google Analytics and Statcounter that you can use to monitor how well your website is performing. Observe the trends in this data to get a better understanding of what you are doing right and what isn’t working for you. Through these tools you can learn about:
- Your daily visitor traffic and demographics
- Which pages get the maximum number of hits
- The source of your traffic, i.e. search queries and referral links
- Your conversion rate per keyword
- How much time your visitors are spending on your website, etc.
This data will help you fine tune your online marketing strategy and decide which keywords, web-pages, referral sources, and local searches you should pay more attention to.
5. Use Webmaster Tools.
Analytics can tell you about the quantity of traffic your website attracts, but Webmaster Tools can give you more in-depth information about how well your website is performing. With Webmaster Tools, among other things you can learn about:
- Crawling — has Google discovered the existence of your website yet?
- Site health — identifies and alerts you about any malware, malicious code or problematic content on your website
- Sitemaps — lets Google know about all the pages you have on your website
- Messages–Google sends out communication about penalties or the now notorious unnatural links to users’ webmaster accounts.
6. Stay updated through Google blogs/forums.
If you want to know what Google is thinking its best to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Following Google Blogs is an important way to stay on top of changes at Google that might impact your search engine rankings. In addition to that you may also set up news alerts for your niche area, as well as for ‘Google algorithm updates’, so that you are always in the loop about developments that could affect your website’s SEO and social media performance.
What are you doing to improve your website’s SEO? What questions do you have about getting started with these steps?
Emma-Julie Fox writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Vancouver SEO company that provides services to businesses across North America.