Search Engine Optimization – 10 tips to do it yourself

The term SEO i.e., Search Engine Optimization is a process of ranking your company’s website higher than all of your competitors while searching on different search engines i.e., Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.  The majority of Internet search (80%) is done through Google. As a result, most SEO tips you’ll come across are geared toward getting noticed and ranked by Google. Most companies will want to rank on the first page of Google, but it takes consistent effort and planning to get there.

Search Engine Rankings are organic in nature

Search engine rankings are done through organic or natural results. It is possible to pay for the opportunity to appear higher in search engine results through Pay per Click (PPC) advertising campaigns, such as Google AdWords. But in this article, we will talk about how we can focus our efforts on organic search results with a goal of getting rank on the first page of Google, i.e. in the top 10 search results (1st page of a Google Search) for your targeted keywords.

1. Use of Google Keyword Planner

Google keyword planner helps in finding keywords for your search engine campaigns which are similar to your products or services. Related to your products or services, what are users searching for.  Keyword planner shows you different historical data such as search volume data for these keywords, so that you can decide whether to add them to your campaigns or ignore them.

Google keyword planner tool also helps you understand your industry’s head key-phrases (general and highest search volume) and long-tail key-phrases (varied and more specific key phrases usually over four words).

2. Plan your Site

Now that you have an understanding of the most searched keywords and the most relevant long-tail words, you should have an idea of what pages on your website address those search queries.

Having a list on paper or a spreadsheet of all top, mid, and low-tier web pages and their corresponding keyword focus forms the basis of your website’s architecture. Each high and medium priority keyword from your keyword research should have a corresponding page on your site. Long-tail keywords should be used in blog posts and FAQs.

3. Build your Site

Now that you have an idea of the pages that should be on your site, the next step is to build the best site in your industry with the help of a professional web designer or agency and with user-testing focus groups. The best site is not the one which looks the best, but it is the one, which loads fastest and offers the users the most simplest navigation, so that they can find what they are looking for quickly.

Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts, advises site owners to build great websites that users love and want to tell their friends about — sites that users visit over and over again. Any website built now also needs to be mobile responsive to cater for smart phone users.

A WordPress based website is terrific for most small and mid-sized businesses due to its simplicity, flexibility, support, in-built SEO features, and access to a vast library of free and premium plugins.

4. Start Blogging or Producing Regular Content

It is a great idea to start your own blog, start publishing your own content on a scheduled basis. Scheduling weekly, bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly updates is a recommendation — consistency is key.

Also bear in mind that content does not necessarily need to be text — for example, an architectural firm could publish professionally taken photographs of its projects or Realtors could publish weekly video bulletins. Publishing content that is tailored to the content consumption habits of your target audience is the goal.

Fresh content is lapped up quickly by the search engines. The more fresh content, you are able to generate, the more search engine based organic traffic you will be to able to generate.  Ways to generate leads using SEO

5. Build your Social Media Network

With a plethora of social channels on which to share links, business owners generally do a haphazard job of sharing their content. You should devote time to selecting valuable content from your blog and sharing it across a variety of social profiles and micro blogging services.

Social media management tools like HootSuite and Sendible make it easy to handle and monitor social sharing. This helps to build social value, which can foster a constant stream of traffic and inbound links for your website, which in turn help your SEO efforts.

6. Public Relations

Public relations plays a key role in off-page SEO. You should know how to:

  • Establish and tell a compelling story about your brand
  • Get media attention
  • Pitch not just to journalists but also bloggers and social media influencers; Third party posts usually get you some good mileage
  • Use social media to establish relationships and promote your brand.

7. Understand Google Analytics

Have a basic understanding of Google Analytics. Understand the type of reports each Google Analytics tab covers — Audience, Acquisition, Behavior, Conversions, and Real-Time. This will help you appreciate the concept of traffic and its sources as well as let you read monthly or weekly reports provided to you by your SEO or web design agency. Google Analytics can play a significant role in guiding your efforts for your SEO.

8. Read at Least One SEO Blog a month

Familiarize yourself with SEO by reading a factual SEO guide and then subscribing to an SEO blog — time permitting. Here are my key recommendations. The top free beginner guides to SEO are Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO, Search Engine Land’s SEO Guide, Google SEO Start Guide, and KISSmetrics’ guide to SEO. You might also want to subscribe to some newsletters which some of these guys offer and give you some tips related to SEO.

9. Ask Questions

Anytime you are stuck or need answers, jump into SEO communities to ask questions. Google’s Webmaster Forum offers the largest SEO community on the web. Another good community is the Webmaster World Forum. Others I recommend are Moz’s Q&A Forum, SEOChat.

10. Rinse & Repeat

The whole process described above requires a lot of time, but much of it can be delegated to a staff member. Another option would be to consider hiring an intern. The final step, “Rinse and Repeat,” is where most people fail. SEO is not a one-time move that pays dividends endlessly; it’s a consistent effort, repeated often so the effects of high ranking and traffic can be sustained.

Remember, rankings are not in a vacuum. You may get to a rank on the first page of Google, but does not mean you will always stay there. If your competitors continue working on it but you stop, your rankings can only fall as your competitors climb above you.

Ultimately, it’s about building and spreading value. If you want to continuously rank on the first page of Google, then it needs consistent effort.

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