So, you’ve got an awesome email marketing plan and have started your social media channels … what’s next? How can you bring more people to your website and promote your business?
Don’t forget that one of the top ways people find your site is through search engines. All businesses should have a search engine optimization (SEO) plan, in addition to their email and social media marketing campaigns.
Luckily, you can optimize your site for better search engine results (especially locally) with just a little bit of website work, and it is all FREE. This is called organic SEO and here are some tips on how to do that well.
- Make sure your website is crawlable.
- Add an XML site map to your Google and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts.
- Submit your site’s URL to various search engines: Google, Bing/Yahoo/MSN, & DMOZ.
- Add a unique META description to each of your web pages.
- Make sure your title tags in the HEAD appropriately describes your pages using keywords (find out how to do keyword research in my September blog). The titles should include the most significant keyword phrases for those pages and the keyword phrases should be as close to the beginning of the titles as possible.
- Mark up your headers/subheads as H1, H2, H3, etc. and appropriately describe the paragraphs or lists that follow them using keyword phrases. You should only have one H1 headline on a single page.
- Don't use your keyword phrase repeatedly on a page to gain Google "points." It should make up under 5% of your overall word count.
- Use your main keyword phrase for a page in the first paragraph. Then use it throughout the rest of your content naturally where it makes sense.
- Place your keyword phrase at the front of headlines, if possible, but be sure to make the headline flow naturally. It is also imperative to make the headline interesting, clear, and descriptive of the content underneath it.
- Link to other sites using anchor text which features keywords. It’s important to link to other sites when it makes sense. Don't link text like "click here" or “read more here.”
- Link to your own site in each page using keyword phrases if possible. It helps your SEO efforts if you use slightly altered anchor text throughout your site. Make sure links have descriptive titles and the text that is linked (known as anchor text) is descriptive of the page it leads to.
- Use keywords in menu links, if appropriate.
- Cultivate links to your website from external sites with a high PageRank if at all possible. Organize a link building campaign by reaching out to webmasters by email or phone to ask them to link to your site because it will be beneficial to them (remember to give them a good reason).
- Tag and categorize your pages with keywords if you are using a content management system (CMS) such as Drupal or WordPress. You want to make sure to tag your content with your primary keywords and you can include variations of the keywords as tags.
- Be sure to use keyword(s) in URL(s), file names, etc.
- Make sure images have descriptive alt tags and titles.
- Leverage social media channels to increase traffic to your site.
- Make an RSS feed of your content (blog, news articles, etc.).
- Make sure links aren’t broken and there aren't any orphaned pages.
- Make sure your site is usable, easy to navigate, and that the content fulfills the visitor’s needs.
Stay tuned for my next blog on local SEO techniques.