Essential Steps for SEO Success

Millions of people use search engines like Google and Bing each day, and if your site isn’t optimized for search, you’re missing out on countless potential visitors. Although a ‘hit’ or visit doesn’t guarantee you a sale or contact, it is a free and easy way to gain awareness. Even if the person who first visits isn’t interested in your product/service there is a chance that if your site is attractive and engaging they will be more likely to share your site with others. For good SEO practice these four steps should not be skipped:

  1. Keyword research
    When consumers are searching for your products or services it is likely that they are using words you have not anticipated. For example, if you are a lawyer you would want to optimize your site to be searched for lawyer, attorney, legal representative, etc… to ensure that your site is exposed to the most possible consumers and appears in a variety of search engine result lists.Google AdWords Keyword Tool is an easy and effective way of finding all possible keywords to include on your site. You start by entering in a keyword which you know you want to include. This tool then lists all related words and shows you how often people are searching for each of those words. Choose the words that fit best with your brand and target audience.
  2. High-Quality Content
    After you have chosen the appropriate keywords for your site, you will then want to begin writing content that includes those keywords in a variety of ways. Be sure that your copy is strong and adds value. If you cannot incorporate your keywords into the copy in a way that helps inform and guide readers, then do not include it. A great way to incorporate keywords is to make bullet points or lists that sell or showcase your products/services. That way the repetition of the words seems natural and not forced or excessive.
  3. Accessibility
    Once you’ve completed the above two steps your next plan of action is to make sure that search engines can find you. There is no point in optimizing your site for search engines if you have them blocked. Search engines need to be able to “crawl” your website and locate pages that they can add to their searchable “book” or “index” of the Web. If you are unsure of whether or not you’re site is easily accessible to search engines you can use tools such as Google Webmaster Central or Bing Webmaster Tool. By enrolling your site in these services, you will be alerted to any site issues such as if you’ve been hacked or if your site is having “crawling” problems. These tools also provide data on how people are linking to your site and the top terms people are using to reach your site.
  4. Link Building
    Link building is vital to your search engine result rankings. However, just adding links anywhere is not going to help your rankings. Search engines will recognize if links are not in high-quality content or on appropriate pages. One black hat SEO trick that you should avoid is placing links in comments on blogs or into forum posts that are irrelevant to your website. Search engines only reward ‘hard links’ or links that took an effort to gain. You should aim to gain links from sites where potential customers regularly read.  You should build a relationship with this site and understand how they usually link to external sources and then gain a link on this site in the appropriate manner. Another great way to build hard links is through social media. Create accounts on the appropriate social media channels, post high-quality and relevant content, and link each account to your website.

These four tips are essential for your SEO success. Remember, SEO is complex and there are numerous ways for you to successfully optimize your website. Be sure to do your research and be careful not to apply black hat SEO techniques t that might knock you down in the rankings and counteract all of your hard work.