5 Steps to Take the Mystery Out of SEO

I've met SEO "experts" that charge thousands of dollars but only spend about 5 hours on a site doing search engine optimization. Why are people paying them so much? It's because their clients have no idea what SEO is and are desperate to get people to their site.

I met with a new potential client a few weeks ago whose page titles listed services that they didn't offer. When asked why, they said their SEO company said it was the highest search keyword under their field of business. They field daily calls on it and refer them to someone else. That just doesn't make sense. Let me simplify SEO for you: Use common sense and have quality content that customers need to make that buying decision. Don't try to trick the search engines or you can be penalized. Listed below are 5 steps that you can do to optimize your website for search engines.

1. Your Very Own Internet Real Estate: Your Domain Name

Choosing a local domain name, such as www.twincitiesdental.com will provide tremendous value in your ability to rank in search engines for highly searched key phrases. This is one of the first places search engines look. If you type in "twin cities dental office," you can be assured that www.twincitiesdental.com will appear high on the list.

If your domain name isn't performing as well as you'd like, you can still give your site traffic a boost by purchasing more optimal domain names and creating a landing page that represents a particular aspect of your business, products or services. This landing page can get high rankings by being very specific and detailed about your product or service with quality content, and can lead potential customers to your website.

2. Titles & Keyword Optimization: Think Like You Are the Searcher

Think of titles as your first impression. When someone searches for a term or keyword, the websites are displayed by the title of the page. Page titles should be informative and to the point, not bloated. Don't think of it as another place to stuff keywords, just use it as a introduction to your company, product or service. Reassure them that your website is exactly what they are looking for.

Page titles should be diverse and different depending on which page of the website you are on. This allows search engines to differentiate between the pages, and tells your customers what information is available on different pages.

Think carefully about what people may be looking for when they come to your website, or come to a particular page, as well as what information is available on that page.

Google Keyword Tool External and Google Search-based Keyword Tool will provide you with keyword ideas based on actual searches. Use common sense.

3. Submitting to Local Guides

For small and local businesses, its important to get a foothold in your community before branching out to regional or even national sales. To gain traffic at a local level, its in your best interest to publish your company's information on some local guides. Google Maps will display the most popular businesses in local searches. To help your ranking on this "popular business" list, make sure you're listed in the following directories:

Submitting your information to these sites is completely free. Think of it as free advertising. It only takes a moment. Be sure, however, to keep track of which websites you have posted on, and any log-in information. If you move down the road, this will make changing your address or phone number fast and easy. It will save you the headache of trying to clean up your web presence down the road... which is another issue altogether.

4. Linking Strategies

Search engines work like end users often do: they like to know where they're going. By cleverly linking common keywords and phrases on your website to another page (on your website) that describes the product or service in greater detail, you can lead visitors deeper into your website. Additionally, using terms like "click here" or "learn more" are vague, and don't tell your visitors (or search engines) what the link is. "View our Map," or "More information about -Your Keyword Here-" describes more clearly what your visitors will accomplish by clicking the link.

When blogging, link to your website - and do it often. When search engines crawl your blog, and find a link to a web development website, or even graphic design, this keyword will be associated with that page on your website, giving you an extra boost in search results.

5. Be an Expert in Your Field

Become the go-to expert in your field through networking and social media. Create a blog, post informative or interesting tweets on Twitter, and use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook to promote your business. Offer classes, tutorials, or seminars to help educate your clients about your business.

More importantly, make sure that the content on your website is up-to-date and accurate. By keeping your homepage and all your content updated, your customers will know to come back to your website if they have any questions. By becoming the go-to expert, you will also find yourself receiving the ever-valuable referral.

If you need help making these changes to your website, or want more information on getting your website to appear at the top of search results, contact me! We at Avallo know the ins and outs of Search Engine Optimization- and we won't charge you a pretty penny to let you in on the secret.