May 20, 2015

Seven SEO Techniques

We all know that SEO is not an exact science, and yes, rules and stipulations seem to change constantly. If anything, we believe SEO is more of an art — like a superb cocktail, it requires fine-tuning, a little trial and error, and excellent, above-par ingredients.

Today, it’s difficult to look at SEO concepts today as hard and fast rules, because as sure as you become attached to one line of thinking, something changes. Trying to implement all of the currently available ideas and best practices could take months of tweaking. You will get everything “perfect” – in time to do it all over again, as here comes Google rolling out another algorithm change.

As important as it is to get with the picture at all times, we know how hard it is to stay on top of everything. However, if you are truly dedicated to the idea of growing your business online, we think you have the ability to make enormous changes in a very short time.

Here are seven super-short and time-tested SEO techniques to supercharge your website, help it rank higher and receive a higher number of quality leads and conversions.

1. Define Your Audience

We’ve chatted time and again about knowing your audience – and we mean really getting to know them, in a down and dirty kind of way. But just as each member of the group to which you want to reach out is unique, so should the way you get to know them! If you are trying to boost your search engine ratings with stay-at-home moms, for example, you would take a way different approach to keyword research and implementation than you would if you wanted to rank well with frat boys. Hone your investigation skills by diving into arenas of specific expertise – a home and garden magazine would work well for those stay-at-home moms, while social media sites are a great place to see what frat boys are reading staring at on their phones all the time.

You really don’t want to spend a lot of time researching your audience, but you want to make the research you do accomplish count. Just remember, defining your audience – and knowing what you’re talking about – will set you lightyears ahead of the competition. Taking just five minutes to sit down and think about whom you are trying to reach with your search engine optimization plan is a simple step that will pay off with everything else you attempt to accomplish.

2. Define Your Competitors

And who exactly is the competition? Maybe you know names and faces – but do you know where exactly on the internet your competition is seeing success? Get there. Show up and beat them to it. Yes, be that person and get nosy. Spending just a few moments checking out your competition and figuring out what makes them rank well in the search engines can help you determine a winning game plan.  This is especially important if you are a “new guy on the block” in an industry that is already dominated by giants. Don’t underestimate this step, people!

3. Build Beautiful Keyword Lists

Keyword research is something that takes hours and hours of effort. You can spend as much time on keyword research, making lists, checking out possibilities and other related steps as you did actually building your business plan – because it’s THAT IMPORTANT. However, because it is such a big step, many people wind up either pushing it to the side or doing a small, poorly researched job. Big mistake. Instead of seeing it as an overwhelming, unattainable task, just start small. Sit down and just freely think of as many keywords as you can come up with that have to do with your company or topic in 7 minutes. You will have a great start for your keyword plan, and have not wasted your whole day. Remember when teachers used to make you write a rough draft of your essay in high school? Yeah, there was a smart motive behind that. Your initial keyword list is a rough draft upon which you will return to build and make beautiful. The reason? With this list in front of you, you can more easily begin looking up even more words and developing other ideas using various tools available. Try

4. Create Relationships With Influencers

We’re sure you’ve been told this before, but if you haven’t taken the plunge to build relationships with influencers, you really are missing out. OK, the argument we often hear is that you can’t find an influencer in your unique industry – but now look at that beautiful keyword list you built and get even more creative. If you can find influencers in your industry with a hot, active following on social media, great. If you can’t, then think outside of the box. Do you weave baskets underwater? Maybe you can find people who make other crafts and maybe they’d be interested in hearing more about yours. Do you make the perfect underwater breathing apparatus to make said baskets? Then make friends. Building relationships with people who make things happen – and make things happen on social media and online – is crucial. It really is a lot easier than you think. Reach out to all kinds people – but don’t spam them! – develop a relationship, and share their content. The most important thing is to be genuine. If you are building real relationships, every share, like and comment will benefit both parties (take a look at one of our favorite places to find topics and influencers: BuzzSumo).

5. Provide Content that Wows

While you may not be able to create an eBook in just 7 minutes, you can start providing sweet content in half that time. Let’s go back to high school English. Remember outlines? Outline a simple blog post and fill it in later. Maybe you could take your tired, old website FAQ and revitalize it — bam, brand new, optimized content. Make connections with other industry experts who would actually be interested in providing relevant, well-rounded content for you. Once you’ve researched your audience and have given them content that meets their needs, start thinking about the old content you have lying around and bring it up-to-date again. Making things new again will help your rankings and provide something new – and useful – for visitors and customers alike.

6. Improve Mobile Accessibility

Don’t be ignorant and think the majority of people coming to your site are doing so JUST from a laptop or desktop. They’re not. With the latest Google algorithm change, mobile accessibility is more important than ever. Run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and find out if you are meeting or exceeding these requirements. It’s.crazy.important. If you are not, you may just need a few simple tweaks to have your site up and running successfully for mobile visitors…as well as those who visit on a standard computer. When it comes to SEO, mobile friendliness vs. desktop friendliness is like tea vs. coffee – more people just drink coffee, and you know it’s true.

7. Build a Link Acquisition Strategy

Links (internal links and backlinks) are just as important today as they have ever been before. However, just any old link will not do. Are people still falling for those old link-building ploys that wind up posting links to your site on spammy, sketchy corners of the internet? Please don’t – think organic. Get involved in social media, create Oscar-worthy content, interact with other industry influencers, and stay up-to-date. All of these are excellent ways to create the highest-quality off-site links. With your on-site links, just make sure not to go overboard. Two or three internal links per piece of content is usually plenty unless you have a particularly good reason to add more.

While there are no shortcuts to success, SEO does not have to be an all-consuming process. Implement a few changes here and there and you will see success. Track your progress with detailed, user-friendly inbound marketing reporting software. After all, it is impossible to know how to move forward when you are unsure where you are currently. Then, when you finally see the momentum shift your way, you will have a better idea of which techniques are most beneficial to your particular site—and you will know where to focus in the future.

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