SEO (Search Engine Optimization) should be present in every website’s effort to be more relevant online, but too often it falls by the waist side. A few typical reasons why this happens is because people do not have the time, money or the know how to achieve a substantial SEO campaign. This article will walk you through a handful of free SEO tactics that only require an hour to set up and a small amount of time to maintain. As the year-end nears, make it a goal to complete some of these basics, so that you can check it off your 2010 to-do list and have a great start to 2011. Also you don’t need to be an expert to start on SEO, but if your business ‘depends’ on it, we recommend hiring a professional.
1. Back to the basics
This initial information is basic but essential for various search engines to find your website. Once a site’s design is complete go into the HTML code and give each page a unique and accurate title so search engines can recognize the content. If all of your pages have the same title your audience could be directed to the wrong page.
The key is to do basic optimization whenever you post anything at all, rather than leaving it until later. Just think ‘search’ when creating content and you won’t have to worry about it later on. News outlets teach their teams SEO on the fly, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to publish so much content. Keep this in mind when creating new web content:
- Headlines are similar to titles you would see in a newspaper
- Only post meaningful content
- Try to write about things that you would share – ask yourself: ‘Would I still share this to my network if I didn’t write it?’
Writing Unique Titles and Meta Descriptions on different pages is also extremely important. Google’s Webmaster Tools feedback will show you this by listing all the duplicate or missing page titles. This is important because of the way Google displays search results. It uses the Title and Meta Descriptions for the ‘Google Snippet’ that you see. Although this is basic information that all SEOs know, it is still vital to any SEO campaign. When you write content, write the Meta data as well. Don’t spend time on the Meta keywords field though, worry about unique Page Titles and Meta Descriptions
2. Tools to help you along the way
Optimizing your website can be a tedious and time consuming task. There are many tools available to simplify the process and save you time. For example, it has been shown that using Initial Caps in your Meta Descriptions will increase your Click Through Rates (CTR) in organic results. Sites like uppercaseit.com, feature the option ‘Initial Caps’ which you plug in your text and it optimizes your Meta Descriptions with Initial Caps. Uppercaseit.com It will also count the numbers of characters including spaces to help you determine the best lengths for your Titles (Suggested length <65 characters) and Meta Descriptions (~160 characters).
Also, be sure to do an SEO audit of your site to know what areas you need improvement in and how your site compares to your competitors. There are several resources out there that can help you gather this information like www.seo-browser.com, www.opensiteexplorer.org, and www.seobook.com. These websites help you to see how Google will read your site and allows you to see a website’s SEO statistics. Each of these websites excel in specific marketing and SEO tools, I urge you to get familiar with them so you can better understand how your website’s SEO is performing. In the near future Wpromote we will be launching a new SEOAudit tool, which combines the features of many of these sites into one, so you can quickly determine the current state of several SEO related factors for one or more domains at a time.
3. Start a link building campaign
A link building campaign can be vital to your optimization success. And while there are many different avenues for link building, a great way to start a basic campaign is to tap into the pool of people you already know. Reach out to your customers, friends, vendors, partners and anyone else you have a relationship with and ask them to like a page, provide a testimonial, or link back to your site. If you are non-intrusive and polite with your request, more often then not, they are happy to help out.
Here are some additional easy ways to expand your link building campaign:
- Testimonials – Give testimonials on other websites. This can help you earn their respect, links and honest inbound traffic. Try to get in touch with the editors with outreach: Write to a website, compliment services or volunteer a quote.
- Design Galleries – Feature your website on feature sites like CSS REMIX, Drawer or CSS Gallery.
- Feature Stories – Reporters are constantly looking for leads or content on websites like HARO and PR Newswire, if you can provide them with relevant content for a story they will link to you or your website.
- Chamber of Commerce – Ask your local Chamber of Commerce to post a link to your business website.
- BBB - Get a link on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
- Follow Forum Signatures - Here’s a list of forums that have ‘do follow signatures’ http://niceblogger.com/2009/11/29/dofollow-forum-list-dofollow-signatures/. You can also submit to Yahoo answers, and vote yours to the top.
- Create Aboutus.org, Squidoo and Crunchbase Profiles – They all have follow links.
- Create Flickr Accounts - For the photo descriptions, you can embed HTML links. These HTML links show up as no follow, but the added visits to your site through these organic links have many experts convinced of their contributions to SEO.
- Create YouTube Accounts - Post Meaningful original videos about your services and drive real search traffic to your site from your videos, which can also be embedded in blog posts using the ‘Smart YouTube‘ plugin in WordPress.
- Infographic Creation – Infographics turn boring raw data and numbers into quick, easy to follow stories via images. You can capitalize on their current popularity and gain a lot of link juice.
- SEO Consulting – Well worth it, better than searching Google and guessing! Spend 3 to 4 hours a month to get answers to your frustrating SEO questions about differing online opinions about specific issues.
These tools and strategies are not a silver bullet to get your website to the top of Google but by choosing the approaches that are advantageous to your industry, you will have an edge over a lot of your competition. SEO should not become a daunting task for your company, it is basically online reputation management combined with marketing initiatives. This process could be viewed as a method of staying in touch with your industry’s community online because the popularity of your site is a main indicator of your success in the search engines. Get started today; use the tools and strategies provided in this article to expand your SEO efforts and overall knowledge of SEO tools that are available to you.
If you have any questions about SEO campaigns please reach out to our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.