Is your company focused on SEO?
It is not longer reasonable to see search engine optimization as a fad. Instead, it’s a key component of any business’ outreach strategy. If you want to gain customers, you need people to visit your website, and if you want people to visit your website, you need to pay very close attention to SEO.With that in mind, here are seven search engine optimization tips to help your business improve its presence on the Web.
1. Focus on integration
An integrated approach to SEO is essential, according to industry expert Laura Greeno. Speaking to VerticalResponse, Greeno argued that many companies make the mistake of viewing SEO as somehow inherently distinct from their broader marketing campaigns. This, she said, is a mistake.
“In order to drive sustainable marketing today, you really need to have a fully integrated approach, and search marketing has to cross all those facets of marketing efforts,” she said, according to the source.
Greeno noted that SEO effectively touches on a range of corporate marketing efforts. Whether focusing on email, social media, viral campaigns or anything else, it’s very likely that search results will play a key part in determining a company’s success or failure.
All of this means that SEO should be part of any marketing discussion. Your company should think about how SEO can help other campaigns as well as how those other campaigns can improve SEO. It’s all tied together, and your planning should reflect that.
2. Synonyms matter
When most people think about SEO, their thoughts probably turn to keywords. This is reasonable, as keywords have long had a major impact on search results.
This still true today. But while Google’s algorithms pay close attention to particular keywords, they now also factor in synonyms, Greeno explained.
“Google has evolved over the last 18 months or so with understanding some of the synonyms that go along with keywords,” Greeno said, the source reported. “‘Inventory management,’ for example, may be a high volume phrase according to Google AdWords, but Google now also understands phrases like ‘inventory control’ or ‘inventory software’ or ‘management of inventory.'”
Conversely, Google will punish you if you use keywords too frequently. The search giant realizes that firms often use this tactic in order to artificially boost their results, and Google strongly wants to discourage such behavior. Use keywords often but not incessantly, mixing in synonyms organically, and you’ll see your page rank improve.
3. Value value
One of the key mistakes that companies tend to make in regard to SEO is thinking that it all boils down to, essentially, trickery. That the goal is to fool Google’s algorithms into giving your websites more prominent placement than your competitors, thanks to your superior use of keywords and the like.
While there is obviously some truth to this idea, it is a mistake to focus exclusively on these relatively surface-level considerations. As Ping! Zine recently noted, you want your website to have longevity, not just short-term popularity. This means that your site visitors need to find real value when they land on your web pages – otherwise, they’ll have no incentive to return.
Ultimately, then, you should always prioritize value. Follow best practices to increase the chances of consumers discovering your valuable content, rather than simply getting them to your website and worrying about what they’ll find later. This also reinforces the notion that SEO should be part of an integrated approach to marketing.4. Look local
Ping! Zine also emphasized the importance of looking local when it comes to SEO. The source noted that Google, as well as Yahoo! and Bing, offer specific search advantages for local businesses. This is important even for large organizations.
“You may have a global operation but many searchers will still be swayed by the opportunity to use a local company over one that is hundreds of miles away,” the source explained. “It is well worth you securing your free local listing on each of the search giants.”
By overlooking the local aspect of SEO, you’ll miss out on some tremendous opportunities, undermining your overall SEO efforts.
5. Go social
Social media is obviously a key resource for companies’ marketing efforts. It can also play an important role for SEO purposes, as Practical Ecommerce contributor Jill Kocher recently highlighted.
Kocher noted that successful social media efforts can have a major impact on a company’s ability to increase exposure for its content. If a blog post gets shared on Facebook and Twitter, that level of popularity will have a very positive impact on the company’s search rankings. After all, Google and other search engines are constantly working to highlight the most noteworthy available content for those conducting searches. A robust social media presence will correspond to high-quality search results.
Considering that Google is the reigning champion of search, this makes Google an incredibly valuable social network for your firm to focus on. But achieving popularity on any social network will ultimately have a positive influence on your SEO efforts.
6. Link issues
Links are an extremely important component of SEO. Every search engine pays close attention to links when determining where to rank a given page. That means you need to pay close attention to links, too.
Writing for Business 2 Community, industry expert Jonathan Long noted that this can be a tricky balancing act. High-quality links to your website will improve your search results, but low-quality ones may be penalized by search algorithms.
For this reason, Long asserted that you should not simply throw as many links out there as possible, hoping that sheer numbers will boost your SEO results. Doing this is essentially the same as overusing keywords. While this may have been a viable strategy several years ago, now Google’s algorithms are too sophisticated for such tactics to work. Google wants to reward websites that cultivate organic links, not those that artificially boost the presence of these links in an effort to game the system, and Google’s methods are advanced enough to tell the difference.
Instead, Long recommended pursuing strategies such as guest blogging and infographic distribution. By doing so, you can get your website links to appear on other reputable, popular websites. Google and the other search engines will attach significantly more value on these links than on a throwaway website filled with links.
Generating high-quality, organic links is more difficult, but it is worthwhile. Doing so can have a major impact on your rankings. And as Long pointed out, future Google updates to Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird are only going to further emphasize this trend, making quality link generation even more critical.
7. The site as a whole
One final, frequently overlooked aspect of SEO is the need to focus on your website itself, as Fast Company contributor Jared Seeger recently pointed out. In particular, the writer highlighted the role played by the actual structure of your site.
“The things you can’t see on a website can be just as important as the content you can,” Seeger wrote.
He recommended that you work with your web developer to ensure that important keywords are incorporated into the basic structure of your website, including web addresses and page titles.
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