Search Engine Optimization for your website may seem like an insurmountable task. Maybe you don’t have any development chops or you’re simply a small business owner trying to improve your search rankings. Whatever the case, there’s probably a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to improving your site’s SEO performance.
Here are seven smart ways you can improve your SEO right now that don’t require a Master’s degree in Information Technology…
1. Analyze Your Site Using Webmaster Tools
First and foremost, you need to be sure the on-site features of your web presence are optimized. On-site optimization is as simple as signing up for Google’s (free) Webmaster Tools and spending a few minutes looking around until you get your bearings. Google’s happy to tell you if there are problems with any elements on your site, whether it’s running slow, and even to index all the pages of your site for you! The trick is, you’ve got to be proactive in exploring all the useful data-exploration tools out there and the only way to learn is to get in and dig around.
2. Perfect the Technical Elements of Your Site
Before you present your site to the world (and to search engines) you want to be sure all your ducks are in a row. There are a few simple elements of every site that are all-too-often overlooked, and they’re the first barrier of entry when it comes to improved search rankings. Check out your title tag, meta description, your page URLs, and even your image tags to ensure they’re telling search engines what you want them to know, namely what your site’s about. Be about 150% more clear than you think you need to.
3. Create a Keyword Strategy
Keywords essentially are the building blocks of a successful SEO plan. Before you get overwhelmed by the idea of deep-diving keyword research, spend a little time in the mind of searchers. Who do you want to find your site, and what terms do you imagine they’re searching? After you jot down a list of suspected keywords, dig into the analytics tools you’ve just set up to confirm your suspicions. Google, in particular, encrypts some keyword data in an attempt to bolster Paid Search participation, but a simple review of your most-viewed site content can tell you a lot about which keywords make people click through. If you do decide to perform a thorough keyword analysis there are plenty of sites and consultants who can help you through the process.
4. Start Making Great Content
Search engines are really, really good at determining what’s worthwhile content for searchers and what’s not. All successful, long-term SEO ranking strategies involve creating good content that’s relevant to the audience and easily referenced by search engines. Whether that means writing thought-provoking blog posts, disseminating a cool infographic, or even hosting a podcast where you invite commenters, you’ve got to earn link-backs from other people to your site. The surest way to do this is to create the kind of content you’d want to read and engage with online, and make it easy to share. It’s just good SEO!
5. Make a Play for Social
Whether you live for Facebook or barely know what “Twitter” is, using social media to share your content is the quickest way to earn those helpful links. If you’re a business, set up a Business Page on Facebook, a dedicated Twitter account, and be sure to share your content with relevant bloggers, industry experts, and talking heads in your field. But don’t forget! Social is a two-way street – you’ve got to listen at least as much as you talk. People see through promotional content really quickly and it’s up to you to provide something useful, fun, and worthwhile that will captivate your audience.
6. Don’t Discount Google+
You may not know anyone who uses Google+ but you better believe Google does. If for no other reason, consistently posting and engaging on Google+ is beneficial to your overall SEO efforts. Most importantly, be sure to use Google Authorship to link your original content to your Google+ page. Your authorship results will search differently and study after study has shown click-through rates improve dramatically when authorship’s involved.
7. Make it Easy to Share Your Content
It may seem simple, but a few social sharing buttons on your site (particularly at the bottom of blog posts) can go a long way towards getting your stuff out there. In general, people aren’t going to go out of their way to find a way to share something interesting online – there’s just too much content out there already. An irresistible Pin button or Facebook connect tab on your site is likely to get you at least twice the shares you’d get otherwise, and that’s ultimately going to improve your rankings.
SEO’s not that complicated, it just takes work and constant tinkering. For many business owners and site managers it’s simply too much to handle on top of creating good content, cultivating images, and social engagement which is why so many turn to dedicated SEO professionals. Point is, you can’t ignore your responsibility to SEO and the sooner you address your site’s deficiencies, the better.