Tuesday 18 March, 2014
SEO – three words that are loaded with meaning. Search engine optimization is important and it’s not about to go away. If you’re a small business owner or solo entrepreneur, those three letters may strike fear into your heart, sending you scrambling to Google to find an SEO wizard to cast magical spells that put your website to number one.
But I’m going to go out on a limb here and say SEO is not so scary or difficult at all. There are a few simple things you can do to get your website seen online and you don’t need to pay any money at all to do them.
Why SEO Is So Important
Let me start off by saying that you can’t ignore SEO. It’s something everyone has to reckon with. If you don’t employ some SEO practices, you won’t get anyone to your site. It’s like opening a shop in a back alley with no sign out front and no lights and no door. Nobody’s going to come in unless you invite them.
People look for the products and services they need by performing web searches. It’s the way things are done today and this will only increase in the future. That’s why it’s so important.
Keep Your Money
You may decide to hire an SEO company to help your website. A good service can get you serious results fast. But on the other hand, it may be unnecessary. Definitely, don’t respond to any spam emails you get offering SEO services. Reputable companies don’t do this and anyway, if they have to send messages to get work, this means that their SEO efforts aren’t getting traffic to their sites, so how can they help you?
You also don’t need to buy an information product offering you all the SEO tools, skills or resources you need. In fact, run the other way quickly. Most products offering a ‘business in a box’ are lousy and not worth the money. There is plenty of information on SEO that’s absolutely free through websites, newsletters and online forums.
The Very Basics
SEO revolves around keywords. These are the search terms people put into search engines, like, ‘best pizza in St. Louis’ or ‘how do you get wine stains out of carpet.’ The first step is to choose keywords to use in your content. If you do this, your content will come up in web searches. Look for terms that get a high volume of searches and are relevant to your services.
You can do this with free keyword tools. There are premium tools out there, but you can get some basic keywords using free tools. If you need to go more advanced, consider a premium program.
Use the keywords naturally on your site. You should also start a blog and write regularly on it. This will attract search engines because they like fresh content. Plus, it will draw readers to your site.
The other consideration is off-page SEO. This means posting content to other sites with a link back to your site. Any site will do but try to find sites that get lots of traffic and are relevant to yours. Social media, videos, online forums, directories, etc., are all good places to post content.
That’s it for the basics. You can find free information to help you along if you get stuck. With a minimal amount of effort and costing nothing but your time, you can do your own SEO. Give it a try and if you find it impossible, then you should consult the experts.