If you read anything about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) these days, the focus is on content. But what does that mean? Essentially it means that what you say on your blog or website is more important than any tricks you might use to be found. The more valuable content you have, the more Google and other search engines will show your listing. The key is to have the right content. So where do you start?
The first place to start is with Keyword Terms. These are words or phrases your customers/prospects would use to find someone like you. Once you’ve come up with the list, be sure to check it against terms that are actually being searched. For example: I may want to use the term website optimization but find that search engine optimization is searched 10 times more often. This might alter how I phrase and organize my content.
Search Engine Optimization
Once your website is up and the initial keyword research and website content optimization has been done, you’ll want to keep up the momentum and continue with an on-going SEO program. The size and cost of your program will depend on the market you’re trying to reach (is it local, national or international), and the competitiveness of your product.
Your ongoing optimization program should include continually updating your website, blog and/or social medial with new content. In order to stay consistent and on-topic it’s best to have a plan. Create a calendar where you define topics, events, specials and promotions that you want to make sure are included in your online marketing. You can go back to the keyword research and find out what’s of interest to help you tweak your topic choices. The most important thing to understand is that SEO is an on-going program. It’s part of your online marketing strategy and is not something you can do once and expect it to continue to work for you.
Other Online Marketing Options
There are many things you can do to help with your online visibility. For starters, if you want to be at the top of the search engine results quickly—do it the old fashioned way— pay for it. A well-executed pay-per-click (PPC) program is a great way to improve your ranking while your organic SEO is gaining momentum. The key here is to set up your PPC program so you get the maximum return on your investment. We’ve partnered with a Google certified company that focuses exclusively on PPC. Like many things in business and life, unless it’s a focus, it’s unlikely to be done right.
Another way to help with SEO, is to make sure all your online profiles (Google Places, Bing Business Portal, Yelp, etc.)are complete and correct. I’m always amazed at the number of consumer businesses that don’t even have a Google local listing. A local listing will give a prospect an immediate snapshot of your business and help drive traffic to your website or directly to your business.
We’ve been working with our clients to take that a step further by adding a 3D Google Photo tour. If you have a shop or office you’d like to show off to your customers/prospects, we’ve partnered with local photographer Tim Becker to create 3D photo tours.
There are many ways to gain visibility online, but beware of SEO consultants who offer one-shot “I’ll get you on top of Google” plans. Their strategies may provide a short-term burst but are unlikely to prove effective long-term and may actually damage your search engine rank.
SEO is one component of the online marketing process. To be effective in the long-term, SEO and marketing should be worked at on an ongoing basis.