I recently read one of the most explanatory articles on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to-date. The blog, written by a guest author via Windmill Networking, broke down several complex SEO components in a way the average person can actually understand.
There are many companies that continue trying to "scheme" Google, despite its ultra-complex, algorithmic code implemented last August. While there is merit to having SEO as part of an online marketing plan, it doesn't have to involve paying a search expert $500 to $1,000 month. In fact, there are two simple rules that will ultimately help you boost your SEO rank: be consistent and be patient.
Of course, you'll need to get some basics down first in order to lay the foundation for your online presence, but consistency and longevity pay big dividends in the long run. Everyone has different expectations and competition levels for search, but if I had to give you a simple formula for SEO, it would look like this:
- Utilize a paid Wordpress site as your content management system. You'll own the website content, which gives you greater control in optimizing the content for SEO. My interview with internet marketing specialist, John Webster, offers more information on this step.
- Set up your social media profiles properly. When setting up accounts, make sure the public profiles are keyword-laden and that your website and social profile keywords align. Also be sure to include the little extras to help Google index your content, such as including the "http://" before your website in profiles such as your Facebook fan page.
- Use social media regularly. Consistent activity on social media is crucial for two reason reasons. First, social sites rank on Google - the more active you are on social sites, the more social capital you build on Google. Second, social is now a big component to search, primarily as others share your content. Be sure to include social share buttons on your blog and encourage sharing from your community.
- Be consistent. This is the most difficult step for many, yet the most important. Make a plan to keep your social media active just as you would make a plan to pay your bills. Specifically, I recommend blogging at least every 14 days and daily use of your core social media channels.
- Remember keywords. Write content that's keyword-rich (but be sure not to 'keyword-stuff') and pay attention to headlines. One tidbit I've learned in the past few weeks is to incorporate the most prominent keywords in the first five words of your blog headline.
- Write content for the audience. While keywords are important, it's equally - if not more - important to write value-added content that will enrich the lives of your audience. This will help in attracting new followers, maintaining the loyalty of your current community, and increasing shares via social media.
- Share content. Submit content to syndication sites and write guest blog for others. This will help drive traffic to your site from external sites, which is a big piece of the search puzzle.
- Be patient and keep it at. It's not easy to continue with something that doesn't have an immediate pay off, but the payoff is sweeter at the end. Social media - and search - are like exercise - you have to continue to work it consistently in order to see the results.
Despite great intentions, I often see two common scenarios with businesses when it comes to SEO and social media. The first involves those who charge full-steam ahead, but soon deviate from efforts once life gets in the way. The second involves a business that wants immediate results and becomes inpatient after a few months - or even a few weeks. In the SEO game, slow and steady wins the race. Commitment for the long-haul is essential.