There are 1001 SEO tips, resources and theories out there. Here are just 20 quick (yet very helpful!) tips for small businesses and individuals getting started in online marketing…
1. Use Google’s keyword research tool to help you to select your targeted keywords – don’t go for highly competitive and searched for terms but make sure there’s a demand for your targeted keywords!
2. Use your keywords in – page titles, descriptions, headings and within the content (don’t over-use but make sure they’re contained within the first paragraph and scattered beyond).
3. Try to use H1 headings rather than H3,4 or 5 headings (if you’re not sure what these are, check with your webmaster!)
4. If you have a few separate services, rather than having one services page, break them down into seperate pages.
5. Create a Google Webmaster account – submit your sitemap and check for crawling errors.
6. Set up 301 redirects for any old URLs to new relevant pages or the homepage of your website. Don’t just keep dead URLs lying around!
7. If you’re a local business and serve just a specific area, try to get your address on each page (using the <address> tag also helps) so that Google recognises where you’re based.
8. Again, if you’re a local business – add the main area that you serve in your ‘title’ tag and in your content. It will improve targeting and you’ll be competing locally rather than nationally. Being at the top of Google’s first page for ‘solicitors cheltenham’ is better than being on the 10th page of ‘solicitors’!
9. Make sure your pages and homepage, in particular, aren’t using multiple URLs for one page. Often sites use /default.aspx or /index.htm. Consolidate them to one URL – see Google’s advice page.
10. Try not to make your site too image heavy. Lower the quality of your images and if you can use text instead of an image, do it. Keep that load speed down!
11. It’s an old one but still you see flash all over the internet. Try and avoid it – Google and other search engines (as well as the iPhone, iPad and iTouch) don’t read it.
12. Create a company blog – make sure the content is useful and not simply pushing your CSR or internal company news. Tips, advice and reviews are always good starting points. Be current and relevant to your audience.
13. Get social. Use social bookmarking and sharing tools (see that thing with the Facebook and Twitter logos on the right hand side?) to encourage users to share your content.
14. Seed your content using social media, forums, blogs and anywhere else you think it may be useful. But don’t Spam!
15. Use your expertise to become a guest blogger on other websites (and make sure you reference your website, of course)
16. If you’re feeling like a confident SEO (search engine optimiser!) then have a look at www.opensiteexplorer.org. Put in your website and competitor sites and it will give you a breakdown of links. Try and learn from the best in your field – where are their links coming from? How many links have they got? What’s the ratio of internal to external?
17. If you use WordPress, install all of the possible SEO plugins such as XML sitemap generator, All in one SEO etc.
18. A footer with a sitemap/menu of services or a sidebar with your services linking through to the relevant pages is helpful for Search Engine Optimisation and usability.
19. Glance at your homepage – does it tell you what you actually do? Headings, navigation menus and content should reflect what you do – don’t try and be too clever in your headings and copy if you’re after search traffic. Search engines aren’t into their Charlotte Bronte!
20. Be analytical. Look at your Google Analytics account (if you haven’t got one then you need to set one up!) – are your visits converting to sales? You may be getting visits from search but are they enquiring about your services or buying your products? SEO is useless without conversion so make sure you don’t put all of the focus on quantity and ignore quality.
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