There’s no question that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most confusing terms in the lexicon of online marketing. And, with the good SEO vendors charging $1000-$2000 per month for their services, there’s also no question as to why many business owners wish they could do some level of competent SEO on their own.
Here are five recommendations that I make to my clients:
1. Avoid complicated website templates and “software as a service” site-builders. These services can make content management really burdensome and Search Engine Optimization is all about content. Build your website in WordPress. Lots of reputable hosting providers like Hostgator and Bluehost also have a very easy 1-button WordPress install so novices can do it without help (also see our Practice Safe Site info for more on choosing the right platform/vendor)
2. There are a lot of really helpful WordPress Plugins that can help you streamline your Search Engine Optimization workflow. I’d recommend installing the following plugins and also make sure that Google Analytics is running on your site:
3. Optimize each page for only 1 keyword phrase like “Atlanta Online Marketing.” Remember that the more specific the term, the less competitive it’s likely to be and the greater your chances of success. Also note that the content on the page MUST relate closely with the keyword phrase. This article is about Search Engine Optimization and so I should not try to optimize it for keywords relating to branding, email marketing or social media even though those are all part of my business. The keyword phrase you are trying to promote should appear at the front of the Meta Title, at or near the front of the Meta Description, in the page headline, in the first sentence of text and once every 150-250 words or so in the text. Each page or post should also have a hyperlink to another relevant page on the site about once every 100 words. So a 450 word page/post should have about 4 links within the text. Also each page/post should contain more than 300 words.
4. Blog. Each post should be at least 300 words and you should blog at least once a week. Search Engine Optimization results will come quicker though if you can blog 2-3 times per week. Here’s an easy trick: most people tend to write 600 words or more in a clip. Writing 1000 words at once and then splitting into 3 posts will generate more Search Engine Optimization value for your time investment. And WordPress allows you to schedule posts in advance which is a great automation tip for time-strapped folks. And use the same Search Engine Optimization writing guidelines from above.
5. Sync all your blog posts with social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. If you can muster it, posting on these networks between blog posts is a good idea too, but over time, and especially if the content gets shared within your network, this will help build backlinks to your site which also impacts Search Engine Optmization.
And here’s a bonus tip: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Zero-G is actually going to be starting a webinar series next week where we’ll cover a lot of online marketing tips for beginners, including some basic SEO. It’s a cost-effective way to get acclimated into the mechanics of marketing your own business online (less than $25/session) and you’ll have a judgement-free forum where you can ask any questions you like.