Effective digital marketing makes all the difference and is necessary to expand and grow your business. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a big part of creating an effective digital marketing campaign. Failure to leverage your business in the digital realm can spell disaster. Start the New Year out right with these 10 SEO resolutions for your small business in 2018.
1. Identify Your Goals
Before you can create a winning strategy you need to define what you wish to achieve. Goals should be realistic; otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure. Evaluate the landscape in your industry and set specific goals. For instance, if you conduct a search using a specific term and your business lands on the third page you may want to set the goal of making it onto the first page. If you are currently placing towards the bottom of the first page making it into the top third of that page is a realistic goal. The strategies to achieve these different goals will be similar in some regards, but they do diverge. An effective strategy must be crafted to fit the goal.
2. Identify Your Keywords
Keywords add value to content and help search engines zero in on relevant sites, but choose your keywords wisely. Keyword Planner can help you find the right keywords for your site. Generic keywords have a lot of competition, making it hard to distinguish your brand. Definitely include the generic terms in your SEO, but go for a more varied approach.
Specific Search Phrases
Long tail keywords are often three to four word phrases that are very specific. The more detailed phrases appeal to a limited audience, but they can deliver substantial results. Anyone using a long tail keyword knows exactly what they want.
3. Create Content for the Internet
Quality website content needs to appeal to humans and search engine algorithms. The long, complex sentence structure that is common in print media will not do you any favors online. Content that is easy to read and digest appeals to people scrolling through pages on their smartphones.
4. Structure Content
Break content apart using lists and headings; this structure is an indication of quality to most search engines. Content should encourage people to scroll through the page. Search engines track how long users linger on a page and this is another measure of quality. Compelling content will encourage visitors to stick around and this will help your ranking.
5. Make Old Content New Again
New content receives a higher priority in search engine rankings. Reinvent older, quality posts to make them relevant again. For this to work you need to make significant changes. Add new points, expand existing sections, remove info that is dated, include new photos or videos to transform existing content into new and authoritative posts.
6. Build Strong Links
Linking to authority sites shows readers that you understand the industry and are well versed. This technique also shows search engines that you have valuable and relevant content. Guest posting on other sites and including links back to your site can help establish your brand as a serious contender.
7. URLs Matter
The advantages of making sure URLs are short and concise are twofold. When a URL contains random numbers and codes users may be less inclined to click on the link. Messy URLs look suspect and this can turn a user off from clicking the link. URLs are another opportunity to add keywords. Adding keywords to URLs sets expectations for users and ensures you are legit while also helping you earn your page ranking.
8. Optimize Images
Size images to scale well on both full-size screens and smartphone displays. Difficulty navigating a site on a smartphone can negatively impact the ranking. Include keywords as the alt tags in photos to further indicate the relevance of your content to search engines.
9. Play by the Rules
Keyword stuffing may seem like a solution, but at best this will only provide short term success. Search engines, and Google in particular, have taken to imposing penalties on sites they feel are trying to bend the rules to their favor. Penalties are serious and can cause major and long lasting damage to your ranking.
10. Improve Speed
Structure your site to minimize load time. You can improve site speed by enabling compression, prioritizing above-the-fold content and optimizing images among other techniques. Fast sites appeal to users and encourages them to stick around. The more time people spend visiting your site the more trusted and reliable you will be labeled by search engines.
Ring In the New Year with Strong SEO
Strategizing and implementing a plan around SEO can help take your site to new levels and improve your search engine ranking. Incorporate these SEO tips to improve your site ranking in 2018 or reach out if you need help with your SEO.
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