SEO services are booming, but what’s the simplest way to optimize your site without spending a boatload of money?Last year, Econsultancy estimated that the search engine optimization (SEO) industry was worth more than $514 million.And during the last twelve months, it’s grown even more.
The world’s biggest brands devote a massive chunk of their marketing budgets to SEO. They employ some of the world’s best analysts to optimize their sites. But that doesn’t mean you need a huge budget to get started with SEO. In fact, there are plenty of things you can do yourself.
Let’s look at five secrets of simple SEO – they’re things you can do right away to optimize your own website.
1. Know Your Keywords
Keyword research is the root of every optimization project. Keywords are like an elevator pitch for your site: they summarize what you do in a few words or phrases.
When choosing keywords, be specific without being obscure. Never try to optimize for a single word: instead, think of a string of words that accurately describe what you do. You can use various free online tools to get ideas.
Tip: Ask friends, family or customers to tell you what they’d search for if they were looking for your business.
2. Invest in Great Content
Optimization is the key to ensuring that search engines rank your website favorably in their results. But in order for optimization to work, the content on your site needs to be awesome!
Content simply refers to the text on your homepage, your blog posts, videos you’ve produced, and any podcasts you’ve published. Focus on producing the best content you can – or pay someone to create it for you! Make it compelling, detailed, substantive, accurate and entertaining.
Tip: Keyword cramming is old news and will probably result in a penalty anyway So, don’t do it! Instead, focus on creating real, interesting and valuable content.
3. Obtain Quality Links
Now that your content is in place, you should start getting links back to that content. There are also some things you can do to accelerate the process.But beware: some methods are better than others.
First, links must be authentic, and they should be earned genuinely, through connections with other sites. Old school techniques (paying for links, spamming forums or placing links on directories) don’t work. Now, you must pursue good quality links and build on your progress over time.
Tip: Link building isn’t something that you can do in one weekend. It takes months, so plan your strategy accordingly and start creating a content calendar that you can follow for months
4. Be Sociable
Back in 2012, SEO experts noticed that social signals affect Google rankings. A signal could be anything – from a retweet on Twitter to a Like on Facebook. Additionally, Google may factor in Google Authorship credentials.
While social signals won’t work miracles on their own, they are an important factor to consider as you develop your optimization strategy. Consider hiring a social media assistant to post content to various channels, and then measure results from each one to hone and improve your strategy.
Tip: Short on time? Focus on one or two channels. Some businesses naturally do better on some networks, but get little return on investment from others.
5. Measure and Improve
Optimization is important, but without metrics, you’ll never really know whether your efforts are paying off. But if you track and measure from the beginning, you can continually improve
Google Analytics is the bare minimum for measurement and metrics – and it’s free. But it doesn’t always give you a complete picture. Shop around, or try other free SEO analytics tools. The important thing is to take time to measure.
Tip: Let your analytics data build for at least a month before you make any changes, and don’t tweak too many things at once.
Using these tips as a starting point, create a three month SEO strategy. Write down your action steps, and be disciplined about completing each one Invest time and energy into optimization and you’ll start seeing great results.
Claire Broadley is a freelance technical content writer based in the UK. She closely follows developments in SEO, social media and tech. Claire’s passionate about SEO and understands the role hosting plays in search engine placements, particularly in business. For all independent hosting comparisons, she uses www.WhoIsHostingThis.com to check out hosting reviews and ratings.