opinion

Basic SEO Strategies for your Online Business

Joe D

If you are looking to get top rankings for keywords relevant to your business – and you want to keep them – you need to spend some time learning about search engine optimization and all the things you can do to ensure that you get solid, legitimate rankings with the top engines.

Some people think they should start off by building a website, add a dash of content, a few well-written articles or blog postings, add in a dash of SEO and then top it off with a big helping of traffic and miracle of miracles – They’ve got a top-selling, money-making machine. No! …Not going to happen... In order to build a successful site you’ve got to learn the basics and start with the basics…

Let’s focus on SEO – and the first lesson we’re going to learn is that SEO is not something you just throw in or add right before you start sending traffic. SEO needs to be well-planned, researched and thought out in advance as you are building the infrastructure of your site.

What is Good SEO?

Good SEO requires that you research relevant keywords and phrases and use them thoughtfully throughout your site. It also requires knowledge of site structure, appropriate places where keywords can be placed, including titles, description tags, alt tags, etc. – and of course, where keywords should be used or overdone. But the one thing that a lot of people overlook when they think about SEO is link building.

Building good relevant links to your site is key to getting top rankings in the popular engines. The more relevant sites that link to your site – the better. A great way to accomplish this is to write keyword-rich, relevant articles and distribute them among the various article directories and relevant e-zines or industry publications that will post your article – and most importantly the inclusion of your bio with a link back to your site – to get you those relevant links.

Link trades used to be the way to accomplish this, however, most engines will bypass huge lists of links outside of well-structured resource databases – and you won’t really get much in the way of targeted traffic anyway if you are just listed in with a bunch of other unrelated sites. You will get more mileage from finding related sites that have blogs or allow comments to be posted, and be sure to post something relevant (not spammy) and include a link back to your site.

Not only will you build excellent, relevant backlinks that should yield you some very targeted traffic, but you will also be working to build yourself and your company as a brand, establishing yourself as a knowledgeable expert in your field. The more links you have pointing back to your site, the more Google and the other top engines will see you as an authority on your specific market or subject matter.

An On-Going Process

SEO doesn’t have a beginning and an ending. Good SEO starts the day you begin planning your site and never ends. Layering links, techniques, methods and strategies while fine-tuning your keywords and phrases that are used in Google AdWords or directory submissions will help to keep you at the top of your market. If you are serious about building a business that will last you well into the future, you need to continue building links, writing relevant articles or blog postings and finding new ways to broaden and expand your targeted traffic base.

Pay close attention to your analytic programs to see what is working for you – and what isn’t. Don’t be afraid to scrap something that isn’t working or to try something totally new. Not too long ago people were scoffing at the idea that social networking sites could be favorable to businesses – and now they are leading the way to new viral marketing techniques and word-of-mouth advertising than anything that has come before.

Research what your competitors are doing – if they are getting solid leads from Twitter, then you should explore Twitter. If they have abandoned Facebook and moved on to a new social media site, you should consider checking out the new site too. But if something is working for you, don't mess with it – the old saying of, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” applies here too.

Just remember to layer your strategies and always be ready to add something new to the mix. Then watch, evaluate, research, tweak and start the process all over again. SEO is an on-going technique so you will either need to hire someone who shares this philosophy or do your homework and put the time in yourself – a real labor of love. Either way, SEO shouldn’t be on your to-do list as something to check off as completed, because it will never, ever, be a complete finished job…

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