Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, still seems to strike fear and concern in the hearts of many a business owner. It seems… foreign. Complicated. Technical. The internet is a huge place, how is my business supposed to rank? How can I control its rank? Sheesh, these questions are enough to make me nervous. Fortunately, we’ve done our homework and have compiled some affordable SEO strategy tips to get you started.
You don’t have to be a marketing wizard, a high-priced consultant, or a web developer to take our tips and apply them. All you need is a bit of diligence and consistency. As with all things organic, improvement won’t be immediately seen. That said, much like a healthy diet and regular exercise, good SEO habits will pay off in the long run.
Enough of our intro though, let’s get down to it.
What’s the deal with SEO?
First things first. We cannot recommend this guide from Moz enough. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things SEO so if you want a deep dive then check it out. For a quick primer though, let’s summarize.
In short, SEO is about crafting a strategy to optimize your site to be found on search engines such as Google and Bing (well let’s be honest, mainly Google). In today’s world people are taking to the web, and their smartphones, to get what they need. Just think to yourself, how often have you googled something in the past 24 hours? When you last made a purchase, did you search online at all? Now you see the power of ranking across search engines if you command the attention of your target market you can see your audience increase tenfold (or many more folds).
SEO is a growing field that has come with a hefty price tag, but it’s not something that requires you to break the bank. By heading our tips you can see an improvement in your site’s rank and traffic at little to no cost.
How SEO and Search Engines work
Search engines like Google index millions of pages. Literally millions. Not all pages are created equal though, there are a few criteria Google uses when it comes to determining the value and therefore rank of a specific page. Primarily, Google uses text analysis to determine the relevancy of the page then analyzes the popularity and credibility of the page – this can be boosted by traffic to this page, referring links to this page, and outbound links from the page.
SEO is about leveraging the known techniques search engines use so as to boost your page organically.
For small businesses this means creating more pages, such as blog posts, to give yourself a greater weight and authority on the web. On those pages, ensure that they are easy to read, load quickly, link to other parts of your site, and cite outside sources. This ranks you favorably with search engines while giving your pages added credibility. Be sure to share them across your social networks as well, this ensures they get a decent amount of foot traffic, hopefully getting re-shared in the process.
Tips and tricks
Be smart with keywords
I live in Boston and I’m feeling pretty hungry today. As a result, I’m going to search ‘pizza boston ma’ or ‘thai food boston ma’. An enterprising business may use those keywords to put their restaurant towards the top as opposed to the more generic ‘pizza’ or ‘thai food’ which undoubtedly command a greater share of search volume and more competition as a result.
Using us as an example, the keyword we’re utilizing is ‘affordable seo strategy’. It has quite a few results (943k) but far fewer than the broader ‘seo strategy’ (12.3M). As a result, we have a better chance of ranking, especially once this post gains traction.
Note as well that we used the keyword in the very first paragraph – Google likes this, ensure your keyword appears as close to the title of the page as possible while remaining natural. We’ve also used it as a heading, and three times in the article. Go ahead count, this ensures the keyword is present throughout the page body without overloading the content and appearing malicious.
Link early and link often
Links are crucial.
Link to other pages across your site that are relevant as it encourages traffic across your site, as well as ties pages together. Not only that, link to outside sources as well. Linking to other credible pages across the web gives your pages a credibility of their own. Note how we linked to Moz up top, as well as that across our blog posts we generally reference and link to previous posts/other sources. That’s not by accident, it’s intentional.
Start sprinkling a few links into your blog posts and pages, it’s a quick and easy way to give yourself a nice boost and put your pages in a favorable position with Google when they get indexed.
Ensure your site is user-friendly
Nothing is worse than a slow loading site. Honestly, if five seconds go by I get irritated and close the browser window to try again. If it happens again I toss up my hands and give up. A bit over-dramatic but aren’t we all like that? Google is too.
Affordable SEO strategy: Not so difficult
SEO doesn’t have to be frightening. As you can see, it’s not impossible to build an effective strategy for next to nothing. It just requires some dedication and consistency. For more tips, tricks, and resources check out this page from Moz.
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