Three Easy First Steps for SEO

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There are several top-tier achievements in the wild game we call the internet that are only accomplished by a select few, usually through some sort of divine intervention. For a YouTube personality, for example, it would be racking up enough views for the platform to take notice, and beginning a lucrative career as a full-time content creator. For the seemingly infinite musicians of the world, it would be getting someone outside of your immediate circle of friends and family to actually listen to the work they put on their Soundcloud.

For many businesses, one of the ultimate goals is to make the rigorous climb to the top of an organic search result. There are seemingly infinite articles written on how to establish a favorable spot in these rankings, some of which dig deep into the complex algorithms that fuel search engine results.

This will not be one of those articles. This, to be quite honest, is more of a brief overview of best practices for current Google algorithms than a comprehensive SEO strategy. We realize that unless there is a dedicated internal team or an agency working on SEO initiatives, it can be difficult to develop and execute an intricate plan to increase search engine ranking. Think of this more of a beginner’s guide to current best practices in the field. Any SEO strategy worth anything will take these items into consideration.
1. Stay Relevant!
It should go without saying that if unless you give people content that’s informative, insightful, entertaining or in some way beneficial to them, they’re probably not going to care. That’s why, first and foremost, we recommend creating a blog or some other form of regularly updated content for your website. And we highly recommend this content satisfy some need of your audience. Not a good writer? Hire one. It’s worth it if you want to improve your SEO.

Not that your posts need to be words alone. In fact, posts that are broken up into scannable, digestible pieces and accompanied by visuals often see far more engagement than those that don’t. Infographs, lists, and photo galleries accompanied by captions can all make great posts.

What do you post about? Well, what’s your area of expertise? If you run a sporting goods store, write reviews of gear. Make it personal and share with your audience what pieces of equipment you use. It might surprise you how much interest your audience has in what you have to say.

Recently, Google made some fairly significant changes to its algorithms. Results now prefer relevant, well-written content. Meta tagging is still important, but too many people were taking advantage of tags to push their sites to the top. Now, the search engine recognizes writing that is not only consistent the corresponding meta tags, but also the structure and form, as well as whether or not people are interested in it. Generally, any piece of content published on your site should be shared (via link) on social media platforms. This process is called backlinking, and does wonders for your SEO.

So you know a lot about your industry, you have something to say, and know how to share it. Well, what now? Glad you asked.

2. Stay Active!
The topic of how often to update your blog or news page with new content has been debated amongst SEO professionals for a while now. The simple answer is that there is no simple answer.

Generally speaking, you want to stay active with your production and sharing across social platforms, without going crazy with it and overwhelming your audience. This is because, again, search engines favor quality over quantity, and it can be really difficult for a small team or individual to push content out constantly and it still be worth reading. Two or three posts a week seems to be the sweet spot. Again, this depends on your ability to produce, and should certainly not be seen as a standard for every business or individual.

And if you’ve amassed a decent stockpile of blog posts, don’t be afraid to share something to social media that you already posted a while back. As long as a decent amount of time has passed, you’re more likely to reach a few new viewers than alienate someone who has already seen the piece.

Alright, now you’re a blogging machine, churning out quality content on a regular basis, and your audience has been receptive to it on a few platforms. How do you maintain this so that you’re rewarded with that SEO ranking you know you deserve?

3. Stay Organized!
It was with great pride and love of country that Uncle Sam uttered the timeless quote “Always make sure to include keywords in your image title”. We think. Maybe it was actually Sam the IT guy. Whatever. Either way, being organized is crucial to achieving your SEO goals.

First of all, the structure of your site plays a big role here. By making your content searchable and easy to find, you’re much more likely to encourage engagement and sharing, which are recognized by Google’s algorithms.

Your website should be organized in a way that even your most technologically-challenged users should be able to find what they’re looking for. If not, they’re likely to get frustrated and abandon their search, increasing your bounce rate and dropping your search engine ranking.
If the person or agency responsible for designing your website isn’t taking user experience best practices into consideration, it can be hurting your SEO strategy.

Additionally, it’s important that all your files, whether they’re .jpegs on your blog page or a downloadable .PDF under your resource page, should be adequately titled and labeled. “FILE029303.jpeg” isn’t going to cut it. “Business_Name_Blog_Topic” however, will be much easier for the bots crawling your site to recognize. Not to mention, not having your files properly labeled makes them easy to lose and creates unnecessary clutter.

For those of you who are familiar with how SEO works, these tidbits may seem like no-brainers. However, for those who maybe haven’t put as much thought into it as they should have and find themselves a bit behind the curve, they should provide a solid foundation on which to build a sound SEO strategy.

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