If you own a business and have a half idea or understanding of marketing, you probably know or have heard of that lovely acronym called SEO. If you are new to the game of business ownership, and the world of online marketing, I’m guessing your first burning question is what the hell does SEO stand for? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. What does this mean? Well if you have a couple of hours I could go on and on about the importance of SEO and why it is essential to the development of your business and how it relates to original and organic leads, from your website to your inbox. Basically SEO is this: a method of increasing the discernibility of a website, web page’s “organic” search result opportunities through search engine leads. In simple terms, it’s way to develop original content and relevant keywords on your website to help push you onto to page 1 in Google searches without having to pay for pay p/ click advertising.
In today’s modern world, and the World Wide Web, where we go to find everything these days, SEO is essential to any business, no matter how small or big you are, it is your link to the outside world. The first question new business owner clients always ask when wanting to develop an online presence is this, “why do I need a website right now?” The answer to this question is simple, a website is indispensable to all businesses because it is your way of presenting to the world, not just your community who you are, what you are, and why you are doing what you are doing, oh and why they should prefer you. Presently, a website is almost as essential as e-mail or texting, it is our silent link to a very big electronically driven world. As consumers, we don’t pick up the phone anymore and 8 out of 10 consumers will email and surf on the web for business information before even attempting a phone call. They will judge you and draw any conclusion they desire based on what they see from your website and/or online presence or lack thereof. Now you can appreciate the magnitude of having a well thought out website/online presence and now you can understand why SEO is imperative.
As a business owner driving traffic to your website is fundamental not only because it means new business for you but it also means exposure. In addition to this, it means you are expectantly seeing ROI (return on investment). This means you are making money, hopefully. With the right SEO website framework, even if it is small at first, you can drive traffic to your site with little effort in the beginning. Google web crawlers love newly indexed websites, they will crawl all over your website searching for unique content, things that define this website as original so make it count!
To start with, here are some basic SEO framework guidelines when initially setting up your online presence and website.
WordPress is a great place to begin your original content, such as blogging. Blogging is the best way to invent yourself on the web and anything you originally write is yours to keep and attach to your website. WordPress website templates are an excellent and easy platform to build your website. WordPress template sites are great for uncomplicated products or businesses. They have built in SEO, and they have some nifty SEO plug-ins you can add as well. One of my favorite plug-ins is the All-In-One-SEO pack. No worries of crashing your site with this one, but its always good to do your research before adding a plug-in (they can crash your site) however, AIOSEO is solid and I’ve used it for almost all of my WP websites with great success. AIOSEO plug-in is a great way to manually add in your meta-tags, titles and descriptions, it supports Google Analytics code and it automatically optimizes your titles for search engines, just to name a few of features.
Google Analytics is a great way to measure your audience, right down to the what devices they are using to what zip code they are searching you from. The best part of Google Analytics is it is no charge to you. Once you’ve built your website and it is live you can create a Google Analytics account for free. GA will give you a code that you have to install in the footer of your website (backend) and oila, you have the keys to the inside world of your audience’s surfing habits. From GA you can create a Webmaster tools account, a Google Adwords campaign etc. Google analytics is one of the most important things we have access to, because it shows who, what, when, where and who’s coming back to see our site. This is vital information when creating an online presence and measuring your audience’s frequency.
I cannot express enough to my clients the validity of social media, a solid social media campaign and how vital these are to their web presence. Do NOT underestimate social media; it is your weapon of mass destruction and it is free advertising! It also gives you an opportunity to link any or all of your web pages to increase clicks to your website (offsite link building). Social media is your quick voice, and it gives consumers an opportunity to see what others are saying about you and to you. The seven main sites I encourage my clients to create are, YouTube Channel (YouTube is owned by Google), LinkedIn, Facebook (business page), Google Local/Google+ (business page), Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare (if you have a storefront). You can still set up a Foursquare account to increase your online visibility, but its intended purpose is mainly for businesses that have their own address/storefront. Make sure to keep up with your content weekly and in some cases daily depending on your industry. Your probably wondering what social media has to do with SEO, it’s simple. You own the content on your website and you want to expose that content and drive traffic to your site right? It’s easy to do this through linking pages from your site to your Facebook page for instance so people can click on that thumbnail and go directly to your site. You can promote your website through simple posts on your social media. Create YouTube videos and post them on your site, Google owns YouTube and the Googlebots love YouTube on your website!
When building your website and keeping SEO in mind, make sure you are doing your keyword research. You can easily do this through Google Trends and Keywords Search for free. Go to http://www.google.com/trends type in your industry, for instance say you are a dentist, and want to know the top 10 keywords people use to search for a dentist on Google in your area. Type in Dentist, and on the map you can break it down by State, city, and locale. GT will give you a list of 10 top keyword searches for dentist in your area. Keywords are vital when creating your website, writing your Meta titles and descriptions and they will also help when indexing your site – Googlebots love relevant keywords.
When developing your site and keeping SEO in mind, you want to make sure that your website is indexed. What this means is you want to make sure that your website is found on all the major search engines. If you are working with a developer make sure that they are indexing your site once it is ready to go live. If your site is not indexed then it’s as if it doesn’t exist. In order to do this make sure you have relevant keywords in your site, in your tags, titles and descriptions as well as your content, and always, always make sure that your content is original. The Googlebots will crawl your page looking for original contents and relevant keywords etc… “Googlebot processes each of the pages it crawls in order to compile a massive index of all the words it sees and their location on each page. In addition, we process information included in key content tags and attributes, such as Title tags and ALT attributes. Googlebot can process many, but not all, content types. For example, we cannot process the content of some rich media files or dynamic pages.” If you are developing your own site, you of course with the help of Google Webmaster Tools can do this yourself click here for a great step by step explanation on how to get your site indexed.
When building a website there are so many things to contemplate, especially when you are implementing preliminary SEO. SEO is factually the dynamic strength of your website. The more you know and the more pertinent and original your content is, the stronger your online presence will be. These 5 tips are just one small aspect of how SEO works. You can pay exorbitant amounts of money for SEO campaigns and pay per click advertising but just like any other small business starting up, cost effectiveness and budget are always the first thing we take into account. By starting with these 5 simple tasks mentioned above, you can start the basic SEO process for your site without little effort or financial investment. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and to understand basic SEO, how the back end of WordPress website functions and how you can make it work to your advantage.
Sidenote: UpCity is an inexpensive and great way to start basic SEO for your business. YEXT is also a great site to get your company listed on all the major directories on the web. Consistency is king when it comes to an online presence.