Welcome to part 4 in our SEO series! If by chance you missed the first three articles, make sure you catch up here:
Now that you've got the basics down pat, it's time to start putting some SEO into practice. We know that SEO can seem complicated, but there are some non-daunting things you can be doing to boost your search ranking and help your website generate more traffic (and leads!). To give you an easier start we have compiled a list of simple SEO strategies that you can use to get the most out of your website.
Step 1: Identify your target audience and create for them
The first step is to create quality content that is specifically designed to engage your target audience. So before you do anything you need to have developed a clear understanding of who your target audience is. You need to ask yourself what it is that your future and current customers are searching for, what they care about, and what they find appealing. You want to be creating high quality, engaging and persuasive content that will help the right people to find you!
Step 2: Identify relevant keywords
Once you have decided on your content strategy it is time to identify the keywords and phrases you will use to attract people to your content. As a rule of thumb, the greater your keyword density is in the body of your content the higher its SEO score will be. However, it is important that you keep the keywords relevant to your content topic (don't just throw in popular keywords to try and boost your ranking) and be careful not to overuse a particular keyword.
Step 3: Use the SEO tools you already have
The third step is to take advantage of any SEO tools you already have access to. Some blog and website back-end management platforms already have SEO tools built in. These allow you to enter your keyword or phrase and predict how well your content is likely to perform in a search. Some SEO tools will also help you identify the popular keywords in your topic area.
Step 4: Use the basics
In-built SEO tools are great, but they don't always cover all your bases. So, the next step is to start utilising some basic SEO strategy including:
- Creating links in your content back to other relevant content on your own website. This will boost the quality of your website in the eyes of search engine spiders.
- Using snappy, creative headings that are relevant to your content and that are attractive to searchers.
- Using your keywords in your page title, page URL, meta description, tags, ALT tags, picture titles, headings, sub-headings etc. The more times you keyword appears, the more delicious search engine food you feed the spiders (but remember don't be spammy!).
- Add a site map so spiders can more easily search your site.
- Make sure your URLs are search friendly.
Step 5: Use Social
- Encourage sharing of your content on social media channels– sharing will help create 'natural' backlinks that will boost your ranking.
- Use different social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – post often and regularly between them.
- Set up a Google Plus account – sure, it isn't the most popular social site out there (especially if you are Australian), but share your content here and you will rank higher in Google searches! True story.
Step 6: Back scratch
- If you have industry partners, or business buddies, boost each other's content by linking to, and promoting it on your social channels. If they are a good friend, they will return the favour!
- It is useful to embed links to other related or useful content, especially if it is of high quality. Search engine spiders will rank content with good quality links higher.
Step 7: Be on trend
- Keep an eye on what is happening in your industry and create original thought leadership content that aligns with top trends, events and news. This will help your content to appear in searches for more popular keyword searches.
- If your industry has some prominent thought leaders, ask them to write a guest post on your blog or use their quotes in your articles. Again this will help you appear in more popular keyword searches. However, your credibility is at stake and it is best to avoid misquoting, providing low quality or duplicated content, or cashing in on the likes of the Kardashians - unless they really are relevant to you!!
Step 8: Monitor Yourself
Monitor where you are in search rankings – if you don't know where you are you can't improve! You might also find it useful to use your analytics tools (such as Google's Webmaster Tools) to find out what keywords visitors are using to find and access your site.