Search engine optimization has been a hot topic for content marketers in recent years. Google, the undeniable leader of Web indexing, is constantly changing its algorithms for what content rises to the top of search results, and attempts to cheat the system render your webpage all but invisible. These fluctuating best practices have made SEO a considerable challenge for businesses of all sizes.
Small businesses are in an especially difficult position when it comes to SEO due to their typically limited resources. However, there are a few basic tried-and-true methods that can help you adapt to the ever-shifting landscape. Here are five steps you can follow to create an effective SEO strategy.
Take advantage of analytics tools
If you want to make the search engines happy, a good first step is using the free tools they provide for website administrators. Eric Covino, president and founder of digital marketing agency Creative Signals, advised signing up for Google Analytics and Google and Bing’s webmaster tools to help you understand the ins and outs of your site traffic. [MORE: How to Use Google Analytics]
“These products can help you will help you understand how your traffic is getting to you and what it is doing once it arrives,” Covino said. “The insights given to you by Google Analytics help you create a great user experience, which can lead to more and more people talking about your site, sharing your content, and linking to you all of which help with your search engine rankings. Webmaster tools give you insight into how a search engine interacts with your site. This will help you identify and fix key technical issues, which also helps your SEO.”
Optimize based on results
Once you have your SEO analytics tools set up, it’s important to use the data you gather from them to guide you in your strategies.
“Your ultimate goal is to grow your business through organic search,” said Nathan Joynt, marketing SEO manager of e-commerce software solution Volusion. “Focus on your growth metrics and follow the trail upstream to understand what content is ranking well and performing well based on [your analytics data]. This is the content that resonates with your target audience. They like it; Google likes it; you should create more. Content that is not performing well can often be bolstered by further optimization efforts.”
Build relationships, not links
Not too long ago, SEO was all about link-building getting links to your content placed on as many webpages as possible. Inevitably, these efforts can sometimes seem forced and spamlike, which ultimately produces the opposite of the intended outcome. While strategic linking can still help your search ranking, a better strategy is building genuine relationships with key influencers in your industry.
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5 Steps to Building a Great SEO Strategy