If you need to improve your search ranking take these in order and apply them over time. There is no one day solution unless you need a pay-per-click campaign. With that said let’s look at the 18-proven techniques you can start employing today to get more customers to your page. Oh, you found this page right, something is working…
#1 Commit yourself.
Search Engine Optimization is a long distance marathon with hurdles. It isn’t a one-time event, nor is it a sprint. Search algorithms change regularly, as do the tactics that you employ. What worked last year may won’t work this year. So set in for the long haul my friend or get someone else to do it for you. There is no instant gratification. The work will take months and the results often may take many months to see on screen.
#2 Study SEO.
If you’re taking the do-it-yourself road then you will need to be a student of Optimization and learn as much as you can and apply it to your website. Allow me to point you to one web resource, Search Engine Land before you embark on your journey. There are also several terrific books you can read as well. Most are fairly expensive by today’s standards but they are well worth the money if you are going to do it yourself
#3 Web analytics is the place at the start.
Don’t make a move until you have gone to Google and Bing’s webmaster tools. You should have clearly defined goals and you’ll need to install web analytics software in place so you can track what’s working and what’s not.
#4 You need a great web site.
Ask yourself this one question. Is my site worth the top 10 position in the organic listings? Everyone wants to show up on the first page. So ask yourself, what am I bringing to the table? Would I put me on the top spot if I didn’t know who I am? I’m sure you want to show up on the first page of results. Ask yourself, “Is my site really one of the 10 best sites in the world on this topic?” Be honest. If it’s not, make it better.
#5 The site map.
Today’s search engines index the Internet by employing robots to catalog the pages content. These are called “spiders” and the can’t index pages that can’t be found. Okay, some can but most cannot. A site map will help these spiders find all the important pages on your site, and help the spider understand your site’s hierarchy if you include the right schema information.
#6 SEO-friendly Links.
A lot of content management systems employ hard to read uniform resource locators or URL’s. These url’s are the links listed in the search results and when they contain information such as the link to this page it is easier for people to find and understand. Wordpress, Joomla and all other content systems will let you configure these Search Engine Friendly url’s now. So use that feature. If you need to choose between hyphens or underscores go with underscores in you link.
#7 Do keyword research at the start of the project.
If you’re on a tight budget, use the free versions of Keyword Discovery or WordTracker, both of which also have more powerful paid versions. Ignore the numbers these tools show; what’s important is the relative volume of one keyword to another. Another good free tool is Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, which doesn’t show exact numbers.
#8 Open up a PPC account.
Whether it’s Google’s AdWords, Microsoft adCenter, or something else, this is a great way to get actual search volume for your keywords. Yes, it costs money, but if you have the budget it’s worth the investment. It’s also the solution if you didn’t like the “Be patient” suggestion above and are looking for instant visibility.
#9 Use a unique and relevant title and meta description on every page.
The page title is the single most important on-page SEO factor. It’s rare to rank highly for a primary term (2-3 words) without that term being part of the page title. The meta description tag won’t help you rank, but it will often appear as the text snippet below your listing, so it should include the relevant keyword(s) and be written so as to encourage searchers to click on your listing. Related bonus tip: You can ignore the Keywords meta tag, as no major search engine today supports it.
#10 Write for users first.
Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc., have pretty powerful bots crawling the web, but to my knowledge these bots have never bought anything online, signed up for a newsletter, or picked up the phone to call about your services. Humans do those things, so write your page copy with humans in mind. Yes, you need keywords in the text, but don’t stuff each page like a Thanksgiving turkey. Keep it readable.
#11 Create great, unique content.
This is important for everyone, but it’s a particular challenge for online retailers. If you’re selling the same widget that 50 other retailers are selling, and everyone is using the boilerplate descriptions from the manufacturer, this is a great opportunity. Write your own product descriptions, using the keyword research you did earlier (see #9 above) to target actual words searchers use, and make product pages that blow the competition away. Plus, retailer or not, great content is a great way to get inbound links.
#12 Use keywords as anchor text when linking internally.
Anchor text helps tells spiders what the linked-to page is about. Links that say “click here” do nothing for your search engine visibility.
#13 Build links intelligently.
Seek links from trusted sites in your geographic area — the Chamber of Commerce, local business directories, etc. Analyze the inbound links to your competitors to find links you can acquire, too. Create great content on a consistent basis and use social media to build awareness and links.
#14 Use press releases wisely.
Developing a relationship with media covering your industry or your local region can be a great source of exposure, including getting links from trusted media web sites. Distributing releases online can be an effective link building tactic, and opens the door for exposure in news search sites.
#15 Start a blog.
Search engines, Google loves blogs because they offer fresh content. Beyond that, there’s no better way to join the conversations that are already taking place about your industry and/or company. Reading and commenting on other blogs can also increase your exposure and help you acquire new links.
#16 Use social media marketing wisely.
If your business has a visual element, join the appropriate communities on Flickr and post high-quality photos there. If you’re a service-oriented business, use Quora and/or Yahoo Answers to position yourself as an expert in your industry. Any business should also be looking to make use of Twitter and Facebook, as social information and signals from these are being used as part of search engine rankings for Google and Bing. With any social media site you use, the first rule is don’t spam! Be an active, contributing member of the site. The idea is to interact with potential customers, not annoy them.
#17 Optimize your site to catch for local search opportunities.
Online research for offline buying is a growing trend. Optimize your site to catch local traffic by showing your address and local phone number prominently. Write a detailed Directions/Location page using neighborhoods and landmarks in the page text. Submit your site to the free local listings services that the major search engines offer. Make sure your site is listed in local/social directories such as CitySearch, Yelp, Local.com, etc., and encourage customers to leave reviews of your business on these sites, too.
#18 Diversify your traffic sources.
Google may bring you 70% of your traffic today, but what if the next big algorithm update hits you hard? What if your Google visibility goes away tomorrow? Newsletters and other subscriber-based content can help you hold on to traffic/customers no matter what the search engines do. In fact, many of the DOs on this list—creating great content, starting a blog, using social media and local search, etc.—will help you grow an audience of loyal prospects and customers that may help you survive the whims of search engines.
Need more advice and guidance on the tips above? Be sure to call Havre de Grace Designs at 443-252-6170