Search Engine Optimization, or SEO refers to optimization interventions carried out to increase a website or web page’s ranking on search engine listings when internet users query the search engine using keywords related to the website or web page’s content.
This is done in the hope that the increased ranking in search engine listings will lead more users to click on the web page’s link, in turn leading to increased business.
Here are a few things you should bear in mind while optimizing your website.
It’s Not About Technology
However geeky the term Search Engine Optimization may sound, an exercise in SEO requires business insight and understanding of customer psyche rather than pure technical skill. If you need to tweak HTML code, you will find any number of self-help tutorials and consultants. However, what you need to focus on is the business aspect of things. It is simply a matter of mindset.
Focus On Customers, Not Search Engines
If you were an antique dealer hoping to attract tourists to your shop, would you arrange your wares keeping in mind the signboards on the road which direct tourists to antique shops? Exactly. Your products and services are aimed at serving customer needs. Therefore your website content, which communicates how those needs are being met, should be aimed at convincing your customers, not search engines.
SEO Is Not An One-time Exercise
Things affecting the level of optimization your website has achieved can and do change every day. Search engine algorithms can change. Google reportedly made over 500 algorithm changes in 2010. That is almost 1.5 changes per day! Preferences of today’s digitally aware internet users can shift instantaneously. Fast-changing web technology can render months of SEO effort obsolete. The way users search for things can change practically overnight. Your best defense against this onslaught of change is being aware.
Optimize Your Web Page, Not Your Website
The most granular item search engine crawlers parse is a web page. Crawlers have no way of knowing what a website is all about unless they ‘read’ the individual web pages of the website. If your home page is optimized, it does not mean your whole website or other web pages under your website are optimized – a serious case of ‘not judging a book by its cover’!
Crowd-source Your Chief Marketing Officer
Think of social media as a repository from where you can ‘crowd source’ qualified referrals to your business. Identify the ‘influencers’ on social networks relevant to your business and engage them in discussion about your offering. But do not attempt to influence the influencer. Be objective and elicit specific opinion. If the social influencer finds your offering interesting, then sit back. He or she is going to be your Chief Marketing Officer!
Let’s face it. Your business needs all the help it can get in today’s hyper-competitive markets. Use businesses that operate in adjacent sectors or industries to spread the good word about your business. And by all means, return the favor. Still wondering what this has to do with SEO? Look no further than the increase in the number of backlinks to your website!
Don’t Just Blog, Blog With A Vengeance
If you don’t believe you need to be blogging like your life depended on it to crank up traffic to your website, sample this: blogging leads to 55% more visitors and a 434% increase in indexed pages, according to a study by Hubspot. Blogging remains one of the most powerful and visible ways to get people to notice you and your website. Instill discipline into your blogging frequency and soon your website will start ratcheting up visitors.
Get Smart About The Press
Okay, we all know press releases about your offerings can do wonders for your business. But how exactly are you supposed to get that done? Gone are the days of relationship building with the press and account management behavior. You now have information marketplaces where journalists and information sources come together on a common platform – journalists get the information they want and experts get media exposure. There are online infomediaries like Media Kitty, Reporter Connection, HARO (Help A Reporter Out), FlackList, ProfNet, Seek or Shout, and a few others, who can spread the word for you.
Track Or Perish!
If you do not know how well you are doing, you will not know how much farther you have to go. Or in which areas do you need to pull up your socks. You need to track your website’s progress in terms of ranking and visitor statistics day in and day out, however dreary that might sound, until you get a hang of what’s going right and where it needs tweaking. Google Analytics or the freely available Awstats in Cpanel are good places to start your analysis. Retool yourself with this ready reckoner of handy SEO tools by Measurable SEO.
Beware Of Dream Merchants
In most cases, you do not need an expert’s help in optimizing your website. You can get it done yourself with the help of any number of articles and ebooks on the topic, including our How to SEO, Search Engine Optimization for the SMART Business Owner. However, if you do enlist the help of a SEO specialist or consultancy, keep an ear out for these words: “assured page one listing”, “instantaneous traffic upsurge”, “Day 30 outcome”, “assured 1000 backlinks”, etc. If you hear anything along these lines, run a mile. And then run some more! Internet traffic is as unpredictable as it is unmanageable. Read this article on CIO.com for more information on how to select your SEO consultant.
Keep these aspects in mind as you go about optimizing your website and you cannot go wrong in building the traffic for your website that you have always dreamt of.
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