Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is vital to the success of any website on Google, which is the most used search engine out there. With that being said, the word SEO seems overwhelming and scary for many entrepreneurs, small businesses and creatives alike. But, believe it or not, the basics of SEO aren’t that hard. In fact, some of it is just common sense.
I’m not trying to take anything away from the rock stars (such as Design Solutions – shameless plug) who have made a career around SEO expertise. Their expertise is incredibly valuable and much needed because SEO is constantly changing as search engines like Google continue to update their algorithms.
What I am saying is, it is not too hard to implement a basic SEO strategy for your website on your own if you don’t have the money to hire an expert. A basic SEO strategy can get you started on the path of ranking until you can afford to hire an expert that can get your site truly optimized.
Check out these seven easy ways to help you build a basic SEO strategy and improve your current positioning on Google:
#1. Learn Your Keywords
You can’t do much without knowing what keywords your target market is using to find solutions to their problems that your company solves. This requires a little research. Step inside the shoes of the potential customer of your product or service. How would you find solutions to your problem? What would you search for in your search engine?
For example, if you sell green beauty products, your potential customer is probably concerned about the health of her skin and body and wants cleaner, more organic, green products to use. Maybe she has sensitive skin and allergies and she’s concerned about the chemicals in most beauty products. Start searching. What sites pop up? Look at the words and word phrases used in those snippets.
When you search “beauty products for sensitive skin and allergies,” word phrases like “allergy-safe,” “sensitive skin,” “dermatologist recommended,” and “safe cosmetics” show up. Don’t forget to think about related words, like synonyms.
#2. Write High Quality Content (Naturally)
The key here is to create engaging content that is valuable to your target market. You could create a blog page on your eCommerce site to display your valuable content. Valuable content is content that answers the questions that your customers have, provides them with tangible information and tools they can actually use, and educates them so they can make better decisions and be better at what they do.
While you’re writing this great content, remember to use appropriate keywords whenever you can. But do it naturally. Nothings worse than reading an article with a bunch of random hyperlinked words in it that don’t make any since. As you read, you instantly know that the writer is using these words to make money not to provide you with helpful content.
Also, don’t try to stuff your pages (i.e. adding keyword terms over and over again in your content, in your Meta tags, in your Alt descriptions, etc.) in an attempt to improve your site’s ranking. It will do more harm to your search ranking than good. If search engines catch you (and they will because their bots are super smart!), they can penalize your site by lowering your ranking or completely removing your site from their index.
Plus, it will not impress potential customers. Who wants to read the same words over and over: “Are you looking for green beauty products? If you’re looking for green beauty products, look no further. Our green beauty product website is the best place to find green beauty products.”
Keep it real—you’re writing for a person.
#3. Use Keywords in Your Website Page URLs
Don’t overlook your page URLs because they’re important for your SEO. This is where your keyword research comes in handy. For example, if a page talks about your allergy-safe eyeshadow products, then the URL for that page should be products/allergy-safe-eyeshadow. Focus on the most common and most searched appropriate keywords. If you are trying to decide between “allergy-safe” and “hypoallergenic,” choose the one with the highest search ranking.
A couple of free and easy ways to check search ranking are to use Google AdWords and Keyword Planner. Simply enter your keywords to get an idea of how popular they have been historically in terms of search volume. You can also use Google Trends, which is a truly fun site to explore. Compare different keywords to see a quick graphical comparison of interest over time.
#4. Create Eye-Catching Page Titles
It’s very important to create engaging and interesting titles for your web pages. They have to grab the attention of your target market. If they don’t, people are not going to take the time to click and read all of the great content that you are providing or purchase your great products or services. A good way to figure out what to highlight as your title is to answer “What’s in it for me?” for your visitors.
Ask yourself: What’s the benefit they will get from the content on this page and why should they care? Once you have that figured out, shorten your title, use strong words, make it catchy, and make it sexy (try a little alliteration for fun). As you’re creating these attention-grabbing headlines, ensure your keyword is in the headline and/or the sub-header. Using the green beauty products example above, a possible header or title for one of your blog posts could be “Five Green Beauty Products that Work.”
#5. Review Every Page for Additional Keyword Placement
Now that you have created high quality, engaging content that your target market needs and wants, with eye-catching headlines that will grab them and encourage them to read further, go back and review everything you have written (throughout your entire site). In your review, look for additional places where you can naturally place keywords. Can you switch a sentence or description around to include a keyword?
Also, consider whether you can create a keyword phrase by adding a word in front of a keyword? If I have a sentence talking about “marketing campaigns” and “marketing automation” is a keyword for my page, I would add “automated” to “marketing campaigns.” Do several review passes. You may be surprised at what opportunities you miss the first, and even the second time, around.
#6. Improve User Experience
This is beyond website content, but good user experience is becoming more and more important in strong SEO rankings. According to Robert Berris in his blog, Three UX Principles That Help Your Website Do Its Job Right, “During the last two years, Google has evolved to place much higher emphasis on sites that deliver quality user experiences across platforms and devices.
Though traditional ranking factors are still king, search engine optimization is increasingly becoming user optimization.” So, work with a qualified web designer to be sure that your website is fully-functional, easy and intuitive to navigate, and that each link works and takes your visitors to where they want and need to be.
#7. Hire an Expert
As I said earlier, basic SEO is mostly common sense and the above tips can help you get started on a path to better ranking. However, if you can afford it, it is wise and well worth the money to hire a SEO expert to ensure your site is truly optimized. A SEO expert can audit your site and look at how it is performing against your most important keywords.
They will provide you with a prioritized list of action items to help you take your site to the next level. A SEO expert can save you valuable time, money, and headache by taking one less thing off of your plate and positioning your website in front of potential customers so that you can make the money you deserve.
You don’t have to have to be a SEO wizard to improve your websites positioning for organic search engine traffic. Simply use your common sense and the seven simple tips outlined above.
We would love to hear what you think about this article or what you have done to improve your SEO. Feel free to comment down below. Remember questions are always welcome. Share them below or click the link in our bio to contact us. We’re always available!