LEARNING THE ROPES OF SEO: A STARTUP GUIDE (PART 3)

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    Once you have identified keyword for your website, you can set your sights on the driving force of SEO – content marketing strategy.  Learn more about this with the final post in the series, extending from part one and part two of this series where we looked at the importance of SEO and keywords for your business.

    Utilizing SEO in Your Posts

    Create blog posts that target specific keywords and phrases to build SEO value.  Aim for high-quality, insightful content that is at least 250/300 words in length.

    Some of the best blog posts are those that target those low competition keywords that are searched for often.  In fact, one of the earliest articles I published in my career has been viewed nearly 55,000 times since September of 2009 – simply by targeting a lesser-used phrase that is still common.

    Don’t let the term “content marketing” scare you.  Take the opportunity to give your business a voice online.  In keeping with our example of an online lighting fixture retailer, you could create posts that showcase interesting DIY lighting projects, beautiful photos of homes that are well-lit, and tips for keeping utility costs low.  You could also do promotional and semi-promotional posts, such as those that characterize the benefits of a certain lighting fixture, and tips for cleaning fixtures.

    Cover news in your industry.  Point your audience to anything that entertains, informs, or is otherwise of interest in your industry.  As you do this, keep these tips in mind:

    • Use keywords in the title, subheads, and content (body text) naturally.  Don’t overdo it and/or make it look obvious.  In fact, it may be easiest to write your posts and then go back and insert keywords appropriately.
    • Keywords have maximum value toward the beginning of the title and subheads, as well as the first sentence or two of the post.
    • Go back and refer to other posts you have written, linking to posts that expand or diverge on a topic.  This creates internal links that can help with SEO.  It will also help keep readers on your website.

    Other Areas that Affect SEO

    Content marketing doesn’t stop at your website.  Blog posts may be the most effective way to gain SEO, but there are other areas that do that as well – and they can bring impressive marketing value to the table.

    Here are some various items that can help you gain a larger web presence.  They can all do wonders for SEO:

    • Social Media: Described as one of the three pillars of SEO, social media is not removed from SEO at all.  In fact, as you gain a larger social media presence, search engines take note and can bump you up accordingly.  These are called social signals.  Other items are at play here, too – for instance, having a Google+ presence will be prominently displayed on Google in the search results.
    • Onsite SEO: Optimize your static pages for SEO.  This includes reworking title tags (the title of a webpage) to include a prominent keyword.  For instance, you might want to rework your homepage title to “COMPANY NAME | Online Lighting Fixture Retailer” or something similar.
    • Links: Consider creating guest posts on websites in your industry, press releases, and more.  As you have more and more sites that link to your website, this can result in SEO gains.

    Analytics

    It doesn’t take much to make ground in SEO.  I believe that any business can begin creating effective blog posts in their industry, leverage them on social media, and begin considering other techniques (e.g., YouTube videos and guest posts for links) to build a web presence.

    Make sure you have an analytics solution on your website.  Google Analytics is the standard, and it can be installed easily on a site – simply check with your developer or theme.  You can also opt for another free/paid option (Clicky is particularly noteworthy, with a very clean interface).

    Having analytics will allow you to see where your visitors are coming from to get to your site.  You can see what portion of your visitors have arrived via organic search, which means that SEO is working.  You will be able to see what search terms resulted in a visit to your site.

    Use this to learn about effective SEO techniques that you have used.  Build on that success to improve your rankings in search results.

    Closing Thoughts

    SEO doesn’t have to be difficult.  While you can make an investment with a marketing agency, or an SEO specialist and a writer or two – you can also do it yourself.  Perhaps you can gain some ground on your own, and then consider taking it to the professionals at the right time.

    Perform keyword research, come up with a list of keywords for your audience, and then follow through with a content marketing plan that involves social media, links, and more.  That’s all it takes.

    Other Posts in the Series: