You may think you know all there is to know about search engine optimization, but SEO changes all the time and sometimes it pays to go back to the basics to make sure your online marketing presence is on the up-and-up. As the Internet evolves, as online consumers become increasingly savvy and as search engines alter their algorithms to ensure all search results are high-quality and relevant for search engine users, you can’t afford to slip in the SEO department. The following checklist will help you remain in the search engines’ good graces so that you can earn more traffic and build a more sustainable online marketing business.
Search Engine Optimization – The Cream Rises to the Top
Your goal as an online marketer is to get your marketing materials to the number one position for all search queries related to your business. You will of course settle for the second or third position, but your ultimate goal is number one. The pinnacle position gets the majority of traffic and that influx of traffic is exactly what you’re aiming for.
In order to reach the top spot, you must beat all the other search results that show up for each keyword you plan to use. This requires lots of research.
Research the Competition
When you conduct your keyword research, you probably use Google’s free keyword research tool provided to all Adwords customers. This tool allows you to input web addresses so that those pages can be analyzed and processed for better keyword results.
Use this function to start searching for your competitors’ keyword choices. This will tell you exactly what your competitors are up to and how they are optimizing their own sites and marketing materials. This SEO reconnaissance is necessary if you hope to overtake those search listings in the SERPs.
When you are familiar with what your competitors are doing and you make your website even more effective, your site will soon be noticed. Search engine users want the best information and they want it now. Provide the best information in the most entertaining way and your search listings will rise to the top.
Your Website – Keep It Simple
Your web content should be informative, entertaining and, above all, concise. Your readers are most likely going to skim the content anyways. Internet users want what they came for and they want it now.
If you drone on about your company and why you’re in business, most of your traffic will probably bounce before they even get to your call-to-action. Instead, give your traffic exactly what they came for.
If they want to learn about your company, use short paragraphs and try to tell that story in as few words as possible. Your contact information should provide exactly that and nothing more. And make sure your visitors always know what to do by using strong calls-to-action.
Your site should be simple in format using few images so that it loads quickly. Also, make sure that people can access your site on all platforms, such as desktop/laptops, mobile devices and tablet computers. Believe it or not, these techniques help immensely with SEO and are used by most search engine optimization experts.
The meta-data of your site and other marketing materials will determine what the search engines display about your site and the information you provide can have an influence on how and where your listings are ranked. Make sure your title tags include your brand name and your keywords and that your meta descriptions entice people to click on the listing itself. This is but one aspect of on-site search engine optimization. Another aspect of on-site SEO is to make sure your site content has your keywords and derivatives of your keywords sprinkled throughout. This will give the search engines all they need to rank you accordingly. Just don’t go overboard and keyword stuff if you hope to avoid any search engine bannings.
Social Media Sharing
The search engines are no longer relying on keywords and inbound links to determine worth. They want to know what the online community thinks of the listings in question. If you provide easy-to-share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks, your sites and marketing materials will be passed around. This is crucial for proper search engine optimization.
The more materials are passed around, the more clout the search engines will deem you to have. This can have profound effects on where and how you’re listed and it’s great for spreading your message far and wide.
Check SEO Regularly
Even if you go through this checklist only to determine that everything is perfect with your search engine optimization efforts, you will still want to conduct a check in about six months or a year. You never know when the search engines may alter their algorithms so that the hot SEO tactics no longer work. When that happens, you had better be prepared to evolve right along with them. Keep informed of the latest search engine optimization changes and you will experience far more longevity than marketers who don’t follow the trends and end up getting buried in all the clutter.