As a business owner or entrepreneur, you likely spend most of your time thinking about how to grow your company, including how to market efficiently and effectively, attract more leads, and convert prospects into customers. As the year comes to an end, it’s worth taking some time to think about whether and how efficiently and effectively you’ve been doing these things. A good place to start this self-reflection is where you rank in Google searches, your SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing term that describes all the methods, tactics and strategies that help your website pop up on the first page of organic (i.e., non-paid) Google rankings. Showing up when someone goes searching for the services you offer — preferably near the top of the results list — is a determining factor in the growth and success of almost any business. Adopting an SEO mindset and developing your web presence will provide the greatest return on your investment in your own business.
Here are five key ways to get started.
SEO Tip #1: Optimize Your Website
Your website is your company’s most valuable digital asset. It’s often the first place people turn for more information about you and your services and the last place potential clients check before making the decision to hire you. But the vast majority of website owners squander this opportunity because they’re so wrapped up in the aesthetics of their website. They forget, or neglect, to apply even the most elementary SEO principles.
You can “uncork” hidden search engine value on your website just by making some basic changes. Start with an SEO audit of your website, which will give you a better picture of its current SEO value as well as some indication of how and where to fix your site’s SEO issues. You can use a free SEO website reporting tool that covers many of the basics. Or, if you’re ready to really start crushing it online, work with a proven professional.
SEO Tip #2: Do Your Keyword Research
Search engines are nothing short of a data mining miracle. For the first time in the history of capitalism, we know exactly what prospective buyers are thinking at the precise moment they are ready to buy.
And the best part? There are many resources for keyword research. One not-so-secret weapons is Google AdWords’ keyword planner tool. AdWords is Google’s advertising system, and you can use it for free just to help you generate a strong list of keywords. If you plug in 5-10 root keywords, this tool will provide you with a whole list of keywords Google deems relevant based on your parameters.
SEO Tip #3: Implement Keywords
Once you’ve identified and gathered those precious keywords, reverse-engineer your website and marketing strategy around them. Naturally weave your keywords into your website. Start with your website page titles and meta tags, the text of your home page, your core inner pages (those describing your services), supplemental pages (your FAQ, About US, and FAQ pages), and all of your blog pages.
“Naturally” is key. Always write for human engagement first and search engines second. Google agrees; keyword stuffing (i.e., overloading a page with as many keywords as possible without regard for the substance) is a violation of search engine guidelines that can get you penalized.
SEO Tip #4: Start Blogging
Blogging is the heart and soul of modern content marketing. Because Google rewards sites with fresh, original and relevant content, blogging is also one of the most important SEO ranking factors. If you’re not blogging, start as soon as possible. Make sure you are doing it strategically and getting the most leverage out of it you can for your SEO.
To ensure you’re producing and sharing content consistently, develop a content calendar that looks like a table of contents. Start by planning content based on your keywords so you can be sure you’re creating exactly the kind of material your ideal clients are searching for and will find useful. Consider hiring a high-quality blog writing service to keep you on schedule and reduce your content burden.
SEO Tip #5: Guest Blog
Guest blogging is one of the most powerful forms of content-driven SEO. It’s a win-win proposition. When you post your high-quality, educational content on a third-party website, you get an opportunity to build your web presence and further establish yourself as a subject matter expert, while expanding your audience. The host also gets the benefit of fresh content from a niche authority for their site and exposure to your audience. It’s a great way for both parties to engage in SEO and gain more social signals.
You work hard to get new business for your company, and your website should work as you do. Now is the perfect time to leverage your web presence to get your business to the next level. Putting an SEO strategy in place and adopting the practices listed here will ensure you start the New Year on track to having your highest-growth year yet.