How’s this for irony: digital marketing firm specializing in SEO (that’s us!) writes blog post detailing proven strategies for enhancing a business’ SEO efforts. Interesting, but what’s the catch?!
We promise you, there is none.
Since Day One, our mission here at Lexco has been two-fold: provide as much value to businesses as humanly possible, and offer top-notch digital marketing services to our clients. That’s it. All we do is eat Chipotle and help businesses grow; and we’re all out of Chipotle.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘but Alex. by helping people learn SEO for themselves, you’re empowering them to take control and you’re losing potential customers!’ Indeed, however writing posts such as these serve the “provide as much value as humanly possible ” part of our Mission, and that’s good enough for us.
That said, it’s no secret that SEO is an enormously effective component to any successful digital marketing strategy. The key is knowing what to do, how to do it, and doing it consistently. We’re here to help you with that.
SEO isn’t just a one-and-done deal: there are many components to SEO. No one knows EXACTLY how Google’s ranking algorithm works; some people believe Google uses over 200 factors when deciding where to rank sites, and others aren’t so sure. Either way, there isn’t just one or two or even ten things you can do to ensure success with SEO.
I compiled this list so that, if you do everything you read here and NOTHING else, you are still guaranteed to improve your ranking. If nothing else, you’ll learn some tried-and-true strategies that will help you in the future.
Without further ado, here are proven strategies to help your site rank well with SERPs (search engine results pages):
1) When building your website, use WordPress
Over the years, we’ve found that sites built with WordPress rank easier (and better) than sites built elsewhere. WordPress is an amazing tool for building quality, content-driven websites, and Google LOVES content. You’ll see a few videos from Matt Cutts, Google’s resident SEO guru, in this post; here’s one where Matt discusses the relationship between Google and WordPress. There are other website-builders out there such as Wix and Squarespace, however these are typically entry-level site-builders. The level of customization and detail provided by WordPress is unmatched, and over 76 million blogs are published with WordPress. If everyone’s doing it, it has to be good for you right?
2) Run a Blog
There are 1,001 reasons to run a blog, but SEO is one of the biggest ones. I don’t recommend blogging for the sake of blogging, but if you have a business, I’m assuming you enjoy your product/service and industry. Blogging about relevant topics allows you to do a few things:
All that’s required is a little time and effort on your part. Search engines also like to see consistency, so blogging on a regular basis also helps to check that box.
3) Focus on Building QUALITY Links to Your Site
There are many aspects in life where quantity matters more than quality; SEO isn’t one of them. In the past, people would solicit spammy links to their site or buy links in hopes that having a ton of backlinks will help Google rank them higher. And Google did for awhile, until they smartened up. Today, authority, credibility, and relevancy matter WAY more than how many sites link to yours. Guest blog, reach out to authoritative sites, etc.; even if it takes some time, one link from a big-time site will be worth numerous links from no-namers.
4) Build Social Signals to Your Site
So, in 2014 Matt Cutts, Google’s resident SEO guru, released a video saying that social signals – influence and authority from social media sites measured with metrics such as likes and followers – do NOT affect search ranking. So why am I saying that social signals matter? Because the same Matt Cutts said the opposite just four years prior. Is Matt throwing us for a loop here? I doubt it because he seems like a swell fellow. Many marketers still believe that social signals matter, they just may not matter as much as they used to. There is no debating that authority and credibility are VERY important to search engines when ranking sites, and a large social media following means that a page has influence in its particular industry. Be sure to be consistent with your page’s social media presence, so that you can build an audience while promoting your blog and marketing your product/service.
5) Increase Site Speed
Self-explanatory: greater site speed makes it easier for Google to crawl and index your site, and it lowers the bounce rate for your site’s visitors. The goal, after all, is to keep people on your site, right? As mentioned above, I recommend using WordPress to build your site, because unlike many website builders, you can edit/ customize the code, giving you more control over site speed. Even without SEO motivations, making your site as fast as possible will result in a greater user-experience for your visitors, keeping them on your site longer and increasing the likelihood that they’ll do business with you.
6) Include Keyword(s) in All the Right Places
SEO is no longer about finding a keyword, spraying it all over your website, and having Google think ‘hmmm this website must be about coffee because coffee shows up 40,347,042 times’. Google is too smart for that. Now context, keyword intent, and long-tail searches reign supreme. Include your keyword(s) in the right places to ensure Google picks them up early and often: titles/headlines, URL, body text, main picture’s alt-tag, and your meta-description. Get in the habit of doing this, but be sure to do so naturally; keyword stuffing will draw penalties from Google and hurt your rankings for good.
7) Add Keywords to Anchor Text
A tried-and-true tactic as old as the internet itself: anchor text is the highlighted text in a hyperlink that links to another website. Always be sure to include keywords that explain the webpage you are linking to, so that Google knows your link is legitimate and useful, not just artificially linked to help your own ranking.
So there you have it: your quickstart guide to managing your own SEO and jumpstarting your ability to rank well with search engines. Do these things consistently, and you WILL improve your rankings, making you more easily discoverable and increasing your online presence.
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Still have questions about SEO? Visit http://www.lexcodigital.com/seoinquiry to get free strategy session with the Lexco Digital team!