Effective search engine optimization techniques drive clients to your business.
Especially important for small, creative businesses, top search rankings get your message across and attract new people TO you. Haven’t got an SEO professional at your finger tips? With a little effort, you can begin to optimize your site in a day or so—or have a list of key points to ask your SEO professional.
A good SEO strategy includes understanding your business and your goals, creating excellent key words and phrases and that are within certain practical search ranges, updating your web pages with the metatag information, updating links and optimize images, submitting site map to Google, creation of backlinks, add blog plug-ins, and using tools to monitor progress. Let’s review each.
1. Understand your business and your goals.
This is one of the most important and least used first steps. People—including SEO professionals—skip it, mostly because it seems obvious. But a careful review of your business vision will yield great benefits. I always ask people where are they now and where do they want to be—two very different answers usually. This is important when coming up with keywords, which is the next step.
2. Create excellent key words and phrases based on your business and goals AND that are within certain practical search ranges.
Coming up with effective SEO phrases or keywords are crucial to getting good search rankings. Good keywords must be based on real and practical parameters. For example, if you are looking to promote your photography business, adding “photography” or “wedding photography” as your main keyword could be useless: they get millions of hits. Based on your business, find a niche that is within a range of searches that is more likely to get you hits. “Documentary wedding photography,” or “Brooklyn photography” are much more effective.
3. Update your web pages with the metatag information.
Taking keywords and adding them to the metatags in your site is the next step. This process can be easy but be sure to have unique Title and Description phrases for each page, and not to exceed about 66 or 120 characters.
4. Update links and optimize images.
Properly named links and images are extremely effective to boost SEO results. Simplify cryptic link names to something understandable, such as “photography_prices”—again keeping in mind your business vision. Changing the name of images to a descriptive name is especially valuable too because JPGs show up in Google’s Image search. So modify the image name and caption from a number or date to, “Acme_Photography_Wedding”.
5. Submit site map to Google.
This can be slightly daunting for the average small business owner, and your SEO professional should take care of this but basically an xml map shows Google all your links to your web site. Google search spiders would find it anyway, but it’s quicker to submit it.
6. Create backlinks.
Backlinks are links from other websites that reference you. However, these are incredibly important—treat them like gold! For example, if you have a blog, include links to favorite sites to draw searches to your site. This also makes it more likely that a blogger would do the same and list your blog on their site—voila, a backlink.
7. Add blog plug-ins, if necessary.
Blogging in general is a great way to increase your SEO ranking, and there are plug-ins that insert Title and Descriptions into each posting. Another tip is to mention the keyword phrases in the title and the beginning of the post.
8. Use tools to monitor progress.
Google Analytics is one great (and free) tool that shows detailed information about who is visiting what link. It’s helpful to track the success of each phrase and make adjustments, if necessary.
About SG Consulting | SEO + Social Media
Steve Giovinco, owner of SG Consulting | SEO + Social Media, creates online strategies (SEO, Social Media, PPC, Web design, etc.) for small, creative businesses. Steve’s background includes over 15 years experience helping companies small and large (such as Lehman Brothers, Lifetime Television) to communicate with users through technology. He has an MA from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunication Department and an MFA from Yale University.