Search Engine Optimization – what a concept! The purple unicorn, the great white buffalo, or the Loch Ness Monster of inbound marketing. Although there is a lot of grey area in SEO, there are still several measurable aspects. However, it’s you or your agency’s job to ensure that these aspects are being measured and tended too.
With that being said, there are a ton of great resources and basic tips out there that every new SEO should be trying:
Great content and user experience is KING these days, however there are some things you can do beyond that to further guide search engines to through your website. Conducting a simple page analysis to ensure crawl-able elements exist, and are optimized, is a great place to start for any SEO.
A great free tool to use for this is the MozBar. This is a free plugin for Firefox and Chrome that will tell you a webpages Domain Authority, Page Authority, Title Tag, Meta Description, Header Tags and Alt Tags (among other things) all at a click of a button. This is an excellent place to start for any young SEO! Keep in mind that all of this information is available in the “page source” of webpages as well.
Ensuring that all these tags exist and are optimized accordingly (as well as their page URLs), based on your content and keyword strategy is essential. These are some of the first elements that Google bots will crawl, and base their indexing decisions on.
Content Creation & Syndication
Unfortunately there is no crystal ball that tells us exactly what Google prioritizes, but there are tests and leading indicators that we can follow for best practices. What most companies don’t realize, is that creating content for their website is about 10% of the entire effort. Content living statically on your website will not attract new users, or generate more traffic. Providing fresh, relative, unique content crafted for your target personas is a must. But, properly syndicating it to your target audiences is the most valuable part of this process.
Let's take blogs for example, debatably the easiest and most affordable form of content creation. When creating your blog, ensure that your blogs are being sent through all your social channels as well. It is also recommended that the actual posts within these channels are tailored to the audience you are reaching out to. For example, a tweet allowing for just 144 characters (before your blog link) will probably read differently than your post on Facebook.
Outside of social channels, it is very effective to look up additional industry journals, newsletters, PR websites, etc. in your industry to see if you can guest blog for them. More often than not, these potential partners will be open to this, giving you also the opportunity to link back to your website… bringing me to my next point of advice!
Link building is still an essential ranking factor in SE’s algorithms today. As a starting SEO, it’s important to start out doing this the right way. There are black hat methods, which are proving to be less and less effective as well as extremely risky, and then there are white hat methods that inevitably take a little bit more effort to execute. The best way to start building quality links to your website, is to simply do you research, and reach out to people!
Researching relevant companies in your space that are viewed as authoritative figures, and carry a high Domain Authority is very important. Once a list of these companies has been formed, try finding an actual person there that you would be able to reach out too. Believe it or not, reaching out to an actual person with in the company is one of the most effective ways to undertake this process! Try and identify something that you can bring to them, or explain why a link partnership could be beneficial for both.
Once this process has been started, there are plenty of great software’s (that all have free trials) that can aid you in this process. I would check out Inkybee, HARO, Pitchbox, and many more. These are safe ways to increase backlinks, and avoid getting suspicious traffic to your website.
SEO isn’t going away, anytime soon. It is however, constantly changing and evolving. SEO is a necessity to any website. Ignoring the rules and best practices of SEO is equivalent to opening up a brick and mortar store, with no windows, doors, or signage, and wondering why you don’t have any customers. The resources are out there for anyone to learn, it just depends how much time you’re willing to put into it!