By Tara Lane, Staff Writer
SEO is a powerful tool to increase brand visibility and presence on the web. As the Internet is now a primary source of information and goods, it only makes sense to be as visible as possible in order to attract and meet the needs of your customers. There are many ways to approach SEO efforts, and it can be difficult for businesses just starting out. Luckily, there are many resources available to assist in SEO efforts, especially for small businesses. In this week’s top five we’re providing some tips for effective SEO marketing.
1. Set a Goal
Search engine optimization efforts will not go far without a specific goal in mind. Before you dive head-first into these efforts, make a plan for what you want to accomplish. Whether it’s to increase the number of views each week, increase your page rank, expand your customer base or have a story picked up by a certain number of outlets, having a goal will help you plan better, and also provide something to compare and measure your results with.
2. Add a Blog
Research has shown that a static Web site will get you nowhere. A blog is a way to change that. Having a blog as your main SEO priority can help drive traffic to your site. A blog also adds credibility to your company, shows customers that you’re Web savvy, and can help your company stay on top of current trends. Make sure the blog has a purpose and is providing content that will attract readers from the beginning. This will add to the credibility of your company’s site. It’s also important that the blog is relevant to your business, and that it can continue long-term. Blogging is a commitment, but is also a worthwhile investment.
3. Produce Valuable Content
There is an increasing trend for companies to form with the intention of making money simply through advertising and second-rate content. While these companies do provide keyword-rich content, they do it for all of the wrong reasons. Search engines respond to the number of times a term is repeated on a site, as well as the number of other sites that are linking back to it. Inbound links from these sites are what really drives up page rankings, and what many SEO link builders focus on the most. Providing interesting and valuable content that will stand out from the fake sites is surprisingly easy to do. Google offers this insight for webmasters:
“The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors? “
4. Use Free Resources
The Internet provides a number of resources and tools for analytics and web marketing, and many of them are free. Installing tools such as Google’s Analytics can help you track traffic, and also give reports of where visitors are coming from, how often they visit, and keyword searches that bring them there. Additionally, Twitter has long been a tool for Web marketing and SEO efforts, because of the number of people one can reach at just the click of a button. You can get a sense of your current status by typing “link:yourwebaddresshere” into Google; the results will show what sites are currently linking to your site, and you may discover some sites and users you were previously unaware of. Analyzing the results can help to target certain audiences and build a base for developing future tactics and content.
5. Establish Relationships
Through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others, you can create relationships with similar companies in your field, influential journalists and public relations professionals, and people who are interested in your company. Using these relationships, you can gain a community of people who are willing to distribute links to your site or even link back to your site from their site. Participating in discussions and linking to others’ content as well is another way to showcase your content without violating the so-called “rules” for SEO marketing. This way, you’ll have links from credible, influential Web sites that will add valuable traffic to your site.