Search engine optimization is (admittedly) a significant challenge for most every business owner, entrepreneur, and marketer out there today. It requires tons of knowledge, or a big load of money to hire a specialist.
It’s not that the fundamentals of success with search engine optimization are all that challenging – honestly, figuring out how to rank a keyword on your blog isn’t really the stiffest challenge you’re going to come across – but because so many people are trying to master search engine optimization you are going to be going up against some stiff competition. It also takes time and patience. SEO is not an overnight phenomenon. You need to be consistent in order to get results.
How to Rank for a Keyword on Your Blog
At the same time, if you’re going to have any real success in business today you need to make sure that your company or organization has mastered the art of search engine optimization and that you are doing everything you can to get Google to rank you for a key term upon the first page.
Why it’s so important to master search engine optimization for 2016 and Beyond
It used to be true that you could do quite well in business without owning your own little corner of the Internet – but nothing could be further from the truth today.
If you’re serious about competing locally, nationally, or internationally, you not only have to have a well-developed website that gives your prospects and customers every opportunity of understanding who you are and why they should purchase from you directly. You’re going to need a solid and consistent content marketing plan, and you’re also going to need to get serious about search engine optimization so that they will be able to find all those great articles you wrote in the first place.
There is no such thing as the “Field of Dreams” when you’re talking about business. It doesn’t matter if you build it, that alone won’t make them show up at your doorstep to pump money into your cash register.
No, you need to know exactly how to rank for a keyword on your blog or website to attract the perfect prospect and customer – and that’s why you’ll want to improve your search engine optimization as best you can for 2016 and beyond.
Be smart about keyword research
The most important step in establishing your search engine optimization is understanding the value of savvy keyword research.
Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to rank your business for every single keyword out there. You’re instead going to need to focus in like a laser on a handful of highly converting keywords – but keywords that you’re going to be able to master and dominate all on your own.
This is going to take a bit of digging and more than a little bit of research – but it’s research that will pay significant dividends in the long run.
1. Make a list of relevant topics
Start off with topics that have to do with your industry and business. Come up with about 10 different topics and use these as a starting point for your targeted keywords later. What would your customers/community write into google to get to you or your competitors? This is the type of topic that you’re going to concentrate on. Say you are a travel writer. Your topics could be “travel tips”, “locations”, and “travel discounts”.
2. Now Work on those Keywords.
You have your main categories, now you need to come up with the keywords to fill that category. You need to think of what keywords would fill up these categories. These keywords need to be targeted for SERPs (that stands for search engine result pages). These are the specific things your audience is looking for in Google.
So, if your first topic is “travel tips”, what specific travel tips is your audience looking for? Here are a few ideas:
- Travel tips for Korea
- Korea Budget travel tips
- Korea Money saving travel tips
3. Find the SEO-keywords You’re Already Serping For
Check out your Google Analytics (if you don’t already have this, make sure to sign up) to find out what keywords are already sending traffic your way. You should find the articles that are being found via these keywords and make sure you optimize them so that your competition cannot steal these terms from you. You can also analyze these and see how you can implement these into your future content marketing efforts. Another great SEO tool is Serpstat, you pay for it, but it is ridiculously easy to understand and use.
4. Research related terms
This is a pro-tip that’s going to save you tons of time. Hit up “google.com”. Type in one of your keywords and see what Google suggests. These are keywords & phrases you should be including in your posts. If you scroll to the bottom of the results from Google, there will be even more suggestions there. Use these keywords to 1) come up with new topics for your content marketing, 2) to utilize these keywords or phrases in your blog article or website pages so that you have a better chance of ranking on Google and other search engines.
5. Submit Your Content to Bookmarking Sites
Digg and StumbleUpon are great places to be found (so is reddit, but unless you understand the landscape there, you should not play in that ecosystem).
Things That Will Increase Your Chances of Coming up on Google
If you really want to jump-start your search engine optimization success, you’re going to want to do absolutely everything you can to leverage Google and its in-house search engine spiders to give you that bump you need to rise above the rest of the competition.
Google is interested in one thing and one thing only – making sure that people that use their search engine are able to find the most relevant information to their search possible.
If you make it easy for Google to rank you for a specific keyword term by meeting all of their key criteria and creating content that will actually help those that come across your site, you’ll really be off to the races! Keep in mind, the days of keyword stuffing are gone. You need well written articles that are relevant to your business or industry, that are useful to your audience so you can increase the time on page.
Here are some inside secrets to help you figure out how to rank for a keyword on your blog
Here are just a couple of steps to increase your chances of ranking higher on Google without going insane or spending too much money.
• Find your baseline ranking and build upon it
• Fall in love with the monotony of link building (article on this coming soon)
• Explore the Google keyword tool to find as many variations on popular keywords as possible
• Work daily to improve your search engine ranking – daily blogs, daily keyword research, daily social media posts
• Start with on-page search engine optimization before you even think about link building
• Consider bringing in professionals to put your search engine optimization on autopilot
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
At the end of the day, it’s going to be a lot easier for you to figure out how to rank for a keyword on your blog or website when you use the inside information we’ve provided above.
Social media is a great tool for marketing, but it can also be a great tool for link building. The whole purpose of link building is to increase the number and quality of links to either your website or your social media accounts so that your audience can take whatever action you desire. For the most part, each link that points back to your website will help you come up higher on search rankings which will increase the chances that your audience will convert into customers. Needless to say, links are important, but all links are not built the same. In order to clear up some misconceptions, we decided to give you these 7 facts about links in marketing to help you structure a smarter, more effective link building campaign for your website. However, if you’d prefer to have someone else do this for you, Socialdraft’s managed services could be just the thing.
7 Facts About Links In Marketing
When we talk about links, we talk about Google. Why? We’re not purposely ignoring other search engines, but Google dominates when it comes to search. Why? Let us take a look at the top 5 search engines according to usage:
- Google: 70% of the searches happen on Google & 85% of mobile searches happen on Google
- Bing: 25% of searches happen on Google (it powers Yahoo)
- Baidu: 75% of China’s searches are conducted on Yahoo
- Yahoo!: 3% of searches happen on Yahoo
- Yandex: 65% of Russia’s searches happen on Yandex
How Do Google Search Rankings Work?
Google search results rankings are influenced by links. However, links are not the only factor Google looks at when deciding what to show you for your search. The Google search algorithm is complicated and secretive since many people would love to dominate in search and manipulate rankings. Google has become very sophisticated with link analysis and punishes offenders by removing or suppressing web listings.
As a result, Google places a high value on legitimate links and assigns the most value to links that originate from real, bona fide endorsements that are the product of quality web content. Links from .edu and .gov websites pack a higher punch when it comes to link value. Paid links are of lower value, and link farms (websites that are known for overlinking) are valued less.
Although the significance of link building has begun to decrease, a basic understanding of how Google works and how links can drive traffic from search engines to websites can benefit online marketers.
Link Building Tips
No matter what type of business you have, you cannot ignore the benefits of link building. Think of link building as a way to build roads to your brick and mortar. The more roads and the better structured they are, the more easily people will be able to reach you. Think of link building as an online PR campaign. Each link is an opportunity to get exposure…and if the link is coming from a related website, to get exposure from an audience that has higher chances of converting into customers.
Link building can result in an increase in referral traffic to your website from relevant websites. For example, say you are an electronics store and your CEO answers a reporter’s questions on the latest on drones. The website for that newspaper quotes your CEO and links to your website. This is a simple door that allows people who are vetted – people interested in drones – an item you sell – to click through to your website so they can either complete a purchase OR so you can capture their information and remarket them at a later time.
Links on other websites also let your audience know that you are a valued source of content, someone to be trusted. Think of these links the same way you’d think of a review in a local magazine. These links act as an advertisement from your local paper.
The better quality website that links to your website, the more value it will have in Google’s algorithm. For example, a link from a local blogger is not as powerful as a link from a university or a national newspaper.
Think of Links as Votes
Looking at links as votes. Each time a website links to yours – be it a local blogger, a newspaper or an industry publication, they are casting a vote that tells Google to send traffic your way. Each of these votes helps you rank higher in the search.
Follow vs. NoFollow Links
Some links are more powerful than others and there are two ways websites can link back to you:
Follow: This is the type of link you want. A follow link tells Google and other search engines that they fully vouch for the quality of your website when linking to you and pass on all that delicious link juice. A follow link looks like this
No Follow: This type of link tells Google that while they are linking to you, but not to pass on any delicious link juice…that you’re not all that important. It literally tells search engines NOT to follow the link.
<a rel=”nofollow” href=”http://www.YourWebsite.com”>Text</a>
The reason Google created this type of link was to devalue certain types of links such as paid links and comment spam. Is a “no-follow” link of no value…if it drives traffic to your website, it still has some value…just not as much as a follow link.
Anchor text is super important when it comes to ranking signals. This is the actual text that the link lives on. So…if a review website links to a French restaurant and the anchor says ” Pierre’s French Restaurant” it sends signals to Google that it is a French restaurant. If the anchor text is the restaurant’s name, search engines will then give weight to that search term. If the anchor text says “click here”…the signals aren’t the best…Which do you prefer? I know that I’d prefer “Best French Restaurant” since that term would give me the most opportunity to rank for that as a search term. Sure, your restaurant’s name would be good, but you want discovery by new patrons. That should be the goal in this case.
Brand mentions and associated keywords with brand names are influential signals for rankings these days. This has reduced the emphasis on using exactly matching keywords in links.
Quality over Quantity of Links
It makes sense that after reading this you’d want to get as many links as possible…but this is not always the best strategy. Back in the day, webmasters would buy links all over the place. This led to literal link farms which were sites that sold links. Google and the rest of the search engines got smart and went beyond ignoring link farms to penalizing the sites they link out to.
What is important is the quality of links. For example, let us say you are an accupuncturist. Google wants you to earn organic links from other quality websites in your space.
A few good examples of great “neighborhoods” to link to that acupuncturist’s website would be:
- Organizations like the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
- An acupuncture school in your state
- A local magazine that featured your latest meetup event
Quality definitely trumps quality when it comes to link building. Low-quality links will end up hurting you in the end.
Google doesn’t just ignore sites that break the rules…Google penalizes them. For example, they put out an update called Penguin which penalized spammy link building. These websites took a hit in rankings and some completely dropped out of search rankings. This is an algorithmic penalty. There are also manual penalties. If you want to know if your site has a penalty, log onto Google Webmaster tools.
Social Media Links
Do a quick search on Google for a brand. You will notice that their site probably comes up first (if not – they need to hire an SEO stat), then probably a few directory sites, and also social media sites.
You should begin to think of Social Media as a great way to build links and increase exposure…but most importantly as mini search engine themselves. If you are not talking as your business on Social Media, you are not giving the people who use those networks the opportunity to be discovered. You’re also allowing the competition and angry customers to control the conversation around your brand…that’s one of the many reasons that when it comes to SEO and link building, Social Media should not be an afterthought.
How to Manage & Grow Your Social Media Accounts
Once you’re all set on SEO and link building, you’ll need a strong social media and reputation monitoring strategy. Socialdraft is your all-in-one tool for Social Media management. Socialdraft allows you to:
- Schedule posts to multiple social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram
- Schedule content in bulk via CSV
- Duplicate posts
- Create recurring posts
- Have multiple people create and post content (with permissions set by you)
- Pull Reports
- and much more
If you don’t come up in the top three spots when someone does a Google search, you’re losing out on tons of business. Why? The top three positions on Google search get the most clicks. If you haven’t started taking SEO seriously, then you need to set aside some time to read this piece. Then, set at least an hour a day each week to put our SEO tips for small business in action.
Let’s start off with a little background to get you caught up on what SEO is, how it works and how you can implement these SEO tips without wasting too much of your time.
What is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for ‘Search Engine Optimization‘. It is probably the most important thing to anyone running any business that can be found online. Regardless of whether you are a blog, online shop, or service, if you have a less than stellar SEO ranking, you will have a hard time discovered by current and potential customers.
The higher your website comes up on search rankings, the greater your chances consumers will do business with your company. It’s vital to have a local SEO strategy so consumers can find your business when they perform a local search.
Improving your local results ranking will generate more sales and revenue for your business. SEO is not easy, but with these SEO tips, you can give your website a boost to help your business grow.
12 Local SEO Tips
1. Create/Claim your business listings on the main search engines
The first step is making sure that you have a local business page for all three major search engines. Where to start? Click the links below to create, claim or update your listings:
Fill out your business information such as location, phone number, hours, etc. and then you’ll be all set with an account. Take a few minutes to make sure each of these profiles is filled out completely and that all the information is consistent across profiles. Fill in everything you can, and come back once a month to make sure everything is current.
2. Check/Claim on all local listing websites.
Directory websites like Yelp, FriendsEAT, Foursquare, Local.com, Facebook, Mapquest, and YellowPages.com all increase your reach and visibility. Most of these will create a listing of all local businesses whether you want them to or not. Check these sites. Make sure that your listing is properly filled out. If you can claim your listing, claim it and edit it to make sure it is accurate. If you can’t claim it – then write those sites with the correct information (they want to have accurate information on site). If they allow you to link to your website, make sure your website is updated.
3. Optimize and properly categorize your pages
Optimize your local pages by uploading quality photos, keeping your hours of operation updated, and listing the services or products you offer.
Once that is done, categorize your business correctly. Several local search engines allow you to place your business into 2-5 categories to help them understand what your business does.
4. Use accurate business citations
Make sure all of your information is filled out on all these sites, and you have consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) data for your company or business across all listings. Then, follow these steps:
*Use a tool like Yext or Localeze to see where your company’s local listings are found online.
*Search for your business and phone number to help you see if there are any duplicate listings.
*Search for various names of your business. If you already have a listing created, that information is gathered from around the web so it could be incorrect.
You will have to verify that you are the owner of your business either by email, phone, or possibly traditional mail. Services such as Yext and Localeze can also speed up this process because they can also help you create these citations or make them more uniform so that all of your local information on the web is accurate.
5. Keep your eye on online reviews
When people search for your business on Google will probably first see a set of ads, then Google listings, then review websites, then…maybe… they will see your website. When your potential customers perform a Google search, they will be influenced by your star rating. Reviews are quick and easy ways for consumers to decide which link they want to click. These are a few things you can do to take control of your online reputation:
- Put an emphasis on requesting reviews from happy customers.
- Monitor review websites so that you can address any negatives in a speedy manner.
- Add a button on your webpage prompting customers to leave a review
- Add an easy to see “contact us” button on your site. This way, people who are unhappy have an easy way to contact you instead of going to Yelp and leaving a negative review.
6. Add quality photos
This point goes back to optimizing your listing. When people are searching for local businesses, they want to see photos. Most local directories including Google allow you to upload at least 10 pictures. Your goal should try to be to have that many photos uploaded. It’s also important to take photos of your actual building, both inside and out, and even take pictures of your products. Your logo does work, but it’s always best to have an actual picture of the company building as your main photo. All you have to do to upload photos is visit your local listing and click a little link that says “add photos.” It’s as easy as that.
7. Optimize Your Website
Local search is a combination of optimizing your actual website as well as local listing sites and review sites. Make sure you have your contact information and preferably a phone number somewhere on your website. It’s also important to try and include city or regional keywords wherever possible and write content that is specific to your local area. Reach out to local organizations to establish connections. Begin to collaborate with them and when they write about the events you are collaborating in, make sure you ask them to include a link to your site.
8. Have your complete contact information in a page on your website
Include your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, business hours, website URL, and even a map of your location(s) if possible. If you have multiple locations, give each location its own page.
9. Use keywords that combine your service with your location
Using local signals is especially important in your title tags and meta descriptions because these snippets are often the first things people will see when searching for you- make sure they know how easily accessible you are. For example, if you’re a plumber in Nutley, NJ – make sure you clearly state that.
10. Add fresh, local content to your blog
You have a company blog, right? Great! Use this space to write about local events that you’ve participated in alongside the helpful posts you’re already giving your readers. You could even reach out to other local businesses that are in a similar industry for extra link building through guest posts. For example, if you run a pizzeria, you could reach out to a local farmer for a guest post about why locally sourced ingredients taste superior on pizza.The whole idea is to increase the chances that you’ll come up for local events.
11. Don’t forget link building
Inbound links will always remain a huge ranking signal, so don’t forget to continue to build high-quality links. A great way to gain some useful links is to create useful content that your readers will want to share and spread throughout the internet. If you have something newsworthy don’t be afraid to reach out to the local media and share information that you feel they might be interested in. This is a great way to get some powerful natural links the correct way. As mentioned above, collaborate with local organizations. If they are writing about their events and you are involved, make sure they include your links in their articles.
12. Use social media
An easy way to increase the chance of getting links is to use social media. It’s is great for link building and improving your keyword strategy. Google indexes pages from most social media sites, so you can increase your content’s visibility in SERPs by adding keywords within the title of your social media posts. Your social media posts also give you a chance to create content that will be seen first by your audience, therefore giving you more control over the conversation. In order to do this effectively, you will need a strong social media management tool like Socialdraft. With Socialdraft you can:
- Schedule posts to multiple Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Pinterest boards, and LinkedIn pages
- Schedule one-time, recurring and duplicate posts
- Engage your community on the all-in-one feed
- Pull reports
- and give different people special permissions to collaborate on social for your business
- We will even train your team and give you personalized ideas on how to make your social media efforts a success
SIGN UP FOR YOUR RISK-FREE SOCIALDRAFT TRIAL TODAY
13. Sign up for Google My Business
No one loves Google more than Google. Sign up & claim your Google My Business and complete as many fields as you can in the “About” section using keywords that describe your business. Google also allows you to add several customized links to your profile, you can use this as an opportunity to link back to your website, blog, and additional social channels. By spending 10-minutes a day sharing your content to your Google business page, you’ll be more likely to appear within Google’s SERP.
If you don’t have time to handle this, or feel a little overwhelmed, contact us by clicking on support. Socialdraft offers SEO as part of its managed services and we’d be glad to help your business serp.
Search engine optimization has hit it big in the past few years because of the growing need for businesses to achieve a better presence on search results. According to recent studies, individuals usually start their consumer process with a basic internet search and 90% of those people don’t make it past the first page (or the first three results). Obviously, it’s vital for your business website to become one of the few websites that make it to the first page of search engine results if they want a chance at making a sale. If it was only that easy…Maybe it’s not that easy, but there are things you can do to give yourself an edge. Before you can construct an effective SEO plan, you should strive to understand SEO trends. This will help you come up with a solid strategy that will give you more than just satisfying results.
You ready for some SEO tips to help you get more traffic? Read through for more information.
SEO Tips for Small Business
1. Mobile Optimized Websites are Not Just Important, they are a MUST – Because a large majority of the users on the internet access online resources from their mobile devices, business owners should see to it that they optimize their websites for mobile use. A site that doesn’t properly operate on a handheld device places itself at risk of being avoided by users because of the inconvenience it causes. Make sure your website is fit to be used on mobile platforms to better serve those who find you through handheld gadgets. This means that when you talk to your web developer you must ask for a responsive website.
2. Earn a Knowledge Graph – You might notice that when you search for certain keywords on Google, you’re likely to be given more than just relevant websites. Oftentimes, Google will give you what they call a Knowledge Graph which is an enriched search engine result that contains close to every detail related to the keyword. To earn a Knowledge Graph, you should have a Wikipedia page, a Google+ page, several links to relevant and related websites, and you should use nouns throughout your content for easier identification by Google.
3. Stay in the Game – The older a website, the more it is recognized as an authority in its niche. The last thing you would want is to keep migrating your information to different websites and abandoning older ones as the years go by. Stay in the game and maintain your website for as long as you can – the more years you have under your name, the more likely you are to be seen as a trustworthy website.
4. Stick to Your Niche – When you publish content, it’s important that you stick to your niche – that is, you should create website content that is relevant to your theme and your industry. If for example, you sell products or services in the realm of gadgets, you should refrain from posting content that doesn’t directly talk about electronics and devices. A vast list of different keywords will make it harder for Google to identify you as an authority in your niche, compared to having just a few industry-related keywords appearing throughout your site.
5. Optimize Your Website Speed – If your site does not load within 2 seconds, 40% of the people on it will bounce (that means they will click back to search results and move onto the next website). Google and other search engines count bounce rate towards your ranking, so if people are bouncing because of your site speed, then you need to work on getting your site to load much faster. Google has some great resources to help you learn how to make your site faster. A few things you can begin to look into are:
6. Stay Active on Social Media – There are so many advantages to being active in Social Media. First, Google has begun to index some social networks. This means that each time a link to your site has been shared say on Twitter, you have a chance of helping Google find this content. Sharing on social media also makes your site visible to others who may link to it and share it to social. As you can imagine, this is not a quick solution, but one of those slow and steady wins the game type of things. So make sure you’re active on social.
How to Manage your Social Media Accounts
Socialdraft is an all-in-one Dashboard that helps you manage multiple Social Media Acccounts. It is the most robust and simple tool for agencies and teams to effectively handle social media. With Socialdraft you can:
Schedule posts to Facebook pages, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn Business Pages (and one LinkedIn account) and Pinterest Boards
Schedule posts individually, as recurring posts, or bulk upload them as CSV
Easily re-schedule with a drag & drop action
Schedule GIFs to Facebook and Twitter
Download content calendars as PDF
Keep an eye on your online reputation and easily share the good news to social
Find content on Instagram and easily schedule reposts not just to Instagram but to all other social networks
Engage on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin
Download Facebook and Twitter reports
and tons more…
If you are curious about Socialdraft, take it for a risk-free trial. You’ll get to try out all the features and decide if Socialdraft is right for you.