I’m really hoping you will enjoy this post with useful information on how to SEO your website in 2013. Get comfy, hot coffee in hand or on the desk, and let’s get into one of the main reasons I started this Internet Marketing Agency based out of my home in Niagara Falls.
Before you answer the question of how to SEO your website, the one thing that all businesses, from multinational corporations to mom and pop retailers, need to understand is that a proper Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy consists of an artful mash-up of the 3 Fundamentals: Content, Search, and Social.
It’s no secret that SEO, search engine optimization, website optimization, search engine marketing, or whatever new term the “SEO experts” (which I do not profess to be) come up with is all centered around being able to rank high and be found in the SERPs (search engine results pages). When considering how to SEO your website remember this:
The difference between a good SEO strategy and no SEO strategy is the difference between your business being found online and converting that search into a sale or not ranking higher than your competitors and losing that customer to someone else.
Also with the frequent changes Google makes to its algorithm (Penguin 2 released recently), it can be difficult to keep up so you want to ensure your SEO strategy is kept up to date.
The key to a solid digital marketing strategy is compiling a crafty mix of compelling content, that is well optimized for search, and is useful and engaging so as to produce valuable social signals with likes, comments, and shares.
Content, Search, and Social need to become tactics of your strategy. They each work together in harmony to provide incredible value to readers, build your brand influence, position you as an expert in your niche, and drive traffic to your website with improved search engine rankings.
How To SEO Your Website Using 3 Fundamentals
1. Content Marketing
First and foremost is your content. Several factors determine the strength of your content including: keyword research, content optimization, site design, blog integration, and UX (user experience). These factors are important and deserve more explanation.
:: Keyword Research
Essentially SEO is all about keywords and phrases. When strategizing how to SEO your website the point to remember here is that it’s those keywords or phrases that your prospects are using to search for your products and services that you should be most interested in.
You can only be successful at optimizing your website once you know how people are searching for your products and services. People search differently. I’ve noticed this, trust me.
Yeah I’m weird like that and I pay attention to what and how friends, family, and coworkers search. To freak you out even more, I do this for how they search on both desktop and mobile. Believe it or not, searching habits and patterns are different from device to device (Smartphone, tablet, desktop (laptop), Xbox).
I like to use Google’s Keyword Tool because it’s free and it’s awesome.
>> How Do I Start Keyword Research?
Begin by brainstorming keywords and phrases related to your business, specific products, and your industry overall. Don’t forget to include keywords and phrases related to your customers and business location.
Take each of these keywords or phrases and type them into Google’s keyword tool to see what terms are related to those you came up with. Make note of the total global and local monthly searches as well as the competition for each keyword. This will help you determine what keywords to use and how deep to go with variations of that keyword.
I like to pay close attention to long tailed keywords and phrases. They are less competitive and therefore easier to rank for and are just as crucial as shorter more specific primary keywords.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing. Type their URL into the website field of the keyword tool to see what terms they are ranking well with. This could open up some new doors you never knew existed in terms of keywords and phrases used in your own strategy. For the record I am not saying one should copy what their competitors are doing, I’m suggesting to use this as a research tool to formulate your own strategy that will outrank your competition.
:: Content Optimization
After being armed with well-researched and strategic keyword, you’re now ready to optimize your content. This does not mean stuff and over stuff all of your metadata and on-page marketing copy with keywords. This ‘keyword stuffing’ will lead to your website being penalized by Google and this will alter your search rankings negatively. This is an example of what not to do when determining how to SEO your website.
I suggest mixing up your primary keywords and optimizing on-page images and text with relevant primary keywords. Since each page of your website will have unique content, you can pick and choose what pages (and what content on those pages) to optimize with what keywords.
:: Site Design
In 2013 it’s important to ensure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and look professional. While this isn’t a proven fact, there are some SEOs who say that the perception of visitors to the site and Google itself would interrupt “spammy looking” websites as in fact a real spammy website.
You also may want to run your site through a couple of ‘graders’ and see what they say about the marketing, the SEO, and the design (including the code) of your website. For marketing I like to use Hubspot’s Marketing Grader. For SEO errors and issues I prefer to use Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools. Finally for coding, mark-up, and web standards I use the W3C validator. They are all free and great tools to use when wondering how to SEO your website. Check ‘em out and get your website grade.
:: Blog Integration
This is crucial. Repeat: C-R-U-C-I-A-L. If you want to be an authority in your niche, rank high in search engine results, drive traffic to your website, and convert visitors, the first thing to do when wondering how to SEO your website is to start a blog. You.Need.To.Blog.Period.
A regularly updated and appropriately optimized blog allows you to create fresh content every day (or at least 2-3 times per week). This content establishes your credibility by providing useful information to readers while building relevant content for your website. When you share your content or when your content gets shared on social media sites, this will produce valuable social signals and therefore increased search engine rankings.
:: User Experience UX
When users land on your site are they able to efficiently and effectively do what they want or find what they need? If so you’ve created an awesome UX. To determine where you stand in this regard, check out the bounce rate in your Analytics.
Google defines Bounce Rate as: “…the percentage of visits that go only one page before exiting a site.”
The higher the percentage, the more people that are bouncing from your site. Why? You may be ranking for irrelevant terms. This is where keyword research comes in handy. Alternately your site design may be too complicated or designed poorly. An SEO audit would need to be done to determine cause and course of action.
2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Search Engine optimization (SEO) is a primary part of Search Engine Marketing (SEM). I want to deal with the marketing side of search in this section, while in no way dismissing SEO. My point is that SEO is part of SEM.
:: Google AdWords
With a well researched keyword list you’re ready to get started with a Google AdWords campaign as a tactic to boost search engine rankings and drive traffic your website.
Be sure to look at your competitor’s strategy and keyword selection as well. This will help you tailor a unique strategy for your campaign while not competing with costlier keywords.
:: Twitter Promoted Tweets
I have had success in engagement and ‘follows’ when using Twitter’s Promoted Tweets with my clients’ campaigns. The targeting and control of a minimal budget make me love this form of social marketing.
:: Facebook Sponsored Stories
Same with advertising on Facebook. I’ve found success with engagement and ‘likes’. Facebook offers similar targeting, scheduling, and control of a minimal budget to help you meet your goals. It works if you work it!
For more info on social advertising and it’s relation to how to SEO your website read a previous post I wrote titled ”5 Reasons Why Advertising On Social Media Works”
Another part for of Search Engine Marketing is Link Building. This step is a critical step in SEO. You need to ensure you have high quality backlinks.
Some suggestions for starting your link building campaign is to guest blog and put out regular press releases.
This is the safest and best way to create high quality organic links back to your site. Google will love you for that and so will people who found your site easily when searching for products in your niche.
3. Social Media Marketing
For the last year or more, social signals have and will continue to influence how content and websites get ranked in the SERPs and become an integral consideration on how to SEO your website. It’s important to produce sharable content and have that content shared, liked, or commented on. Do not forget – when that awesome content you posted received any engagement whatsoever, you should respond or somehow acknowledge that engagement within 24-36 hours, in my opinion.
:: Don’t Ignore Google+
I’m starting with Google+ because it doesn’t seem to be in many businesses Internet marketing strategy. From simply an SEO perspective, please have a Google+ page for your business and for you as a blogger/author of content on your website. Read this to find out why having a Google+ profile for your business is important.
If you want to show up in a Google search, if you want your social signals to spread in the SERPs, before wondering how to SEO your website get a Google+ profile now. Share your optimized content on Google’s social network daily. Be sure that your profile is connected to your site.
:: Social Sharing
Have you made your amazing content easy to share wherever a user wants to share your amazing content? Make sure every page, every post, every bit of optimized content has share buttons associated with its page. People love to share, comment, tweet, retweet, like, pin, and +1 all the stuff that they dig online.
By installing share buttons by using a plugin like ShareThis (not affiliated), you will be able to create social signals because users can easily share your content.
:: Interact and Engage
Remember it’s “Social” Media. Be active on your business profiles and interact with your users as they interact with your content. The best way to expand your reach on Facebook is to have people like, comment, or share your posts. You many never reach every single one of your Facebook Fans, thanks to Facebook’s Edgerank algorithm, but you will reach more the more people engage and share your content.
Engagement also means linking, sharing, and commenting on other people’s fabulous content thanking them for sharing your content. It also includes reaching out and just saying hello or good morning. Keep the ‘Social’ in social media and you’ll find success with your campaigns.
:: Build Brand Consistency
The Internet and social media in particular is a wonderful way to build your brand. Just make sure you’re consistent. There is enough customization allowed by the social media sites so you can have a consistent brand image across all platforms.
Be sure to brand your profile names, URL, and descriptions. Remember to use your keywords here! Make your logo and avatars consistent or have some consistency across platforms. You should also create branded backgrounds for each profile with a consistent look and feel of your main website.
- SEO is a complicated beast and must work together with Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing to be most effective.
- The 3 Fundamentals are mutually inclusive.
- Keyword Research is the essential first step.
- A Google+ profile for your business is a must.
- You must integrate a blog to your website. Do It Now!
I hope you found this information useful and you’ve answered your questions on how to SEO your website. If you have any other tips or suggestions please let me know in the comments below.