Three Basic Steps to Get Started with Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization is such a vast industry, and studying it is almost like studying science, with all of the complexities involved.  Luckily, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to get started with some basic SEO tactics.  Here are three simple steps to get you started:

STEP ONE: Keywords

You’ll want to do your keyword research (and that in itself is a topic for another day) and make sure you are using targeted keywords for your audience.  “What is a keyword?” you ask? Well, a keyword is a word or string of words that you would type into Google or any other search engine.  Examples of keywords are ‘Proforma’, ‘Proforma Blog’, and ‘What is the Proforma Blog?’

Try to think like your audience when looking for keywords.  For example, you may always be using the term ‘Promotional Products’, but if your audience is searching for ‘Promotional Items’ you will want to use the latter over the former as your keyword. Focus on five to seven keywords so you are not watering down your efforts. Think of it this way – if you could be very mediocre at 40 things or very good at a few things which one would you rather do?

STEP TWO: Adding Keywords to Your Site

Your next step is to add your keywords to your site.  Adding keywords as Meta tags is a great idea (Meta tags are keywords in a website’s HTML coding that the internet can see but users cannot) but it’s not going to get you anywhere by itself.  You’ll want to work those keywords into your content (and not by spamming it over and over, more on that to follow).  So if I’m using “Proforma Blog” as my keyword, I want to make sure to work it into my content as much as possible.  This may prove tricky if you have keywords that are not sound grammatically or you have misspelled keywords.

Another tip, and I cannot stress this enough, is that you shouldn’t take any short cuts.  If you do the work, you can see results, but spamming Meta tags, hiding white text on white backgrounds, and other practices of that nature, are just going to de-value your site.  Google’s algorithm is quite complex and savvy, and it will pick up on these shady tactics and essentially ‘blacklist’ your site in search.  So do the work.

STEP THREE: Create Backlinks

The last step to get you started with SEO is to create backlinks to your site.  Backlinks are links on other sites that point to your site.  This helps how the internet ‘views’ your site, and ranks you in search. There are two basic ways to create backlinks – submitting your site to local business directories and linking through social media.

If you’re a business, submitting to local business directories will be a good start in your SEO efforts.  This will not only help tell the internet your company (and your website) exists, but you will also get search traffic from users that are actively searching for businesses in your area.  Here are ten local business directories to consider:

1.    Yelp
2.    Google+ Local
3.    Bing Local
4.    Yahoo Local
5.    Foursquare
6.    Facebook
7.    Yellowpages
8.    CitySearch
9.    Manta
10.  MerchantCircle

The second method of creating backlinks would be through social media channels. Posting links to your sites in your profiles (and in your content) will help boost your SEO efforts.  Especially in cases where you can post hyperlinks, social media channels are a great way for creating backlinks.  Think just for a second what people do on social media the most – they share!  So your ‘fresh’ content can be shared across multiple social media outlets, not only creating buzz for your site, but also increasing the amount of backlinks you have from authoritative sites (authoritative sites are established, trusted ones such as Google or Facebook).  Here are my ‘Top Five’ social media outlets:

1.    Facebook
2.    Twitter
3.    LinkedIn
4.    Pinterest
5.    Google+

And a few others you may want to consider include:

•    YouTube
•    Instagram
•    Slideshare
•    Tumblr
•    Scribd
•    Flickr

So hopefully I’m leaving you with a better understanding of the basics to getting started with search engine optimization.  Make sure you are re-evaluating your efforts every 6 months or so to make sure that you are keeping up with industry trends and changing terminology.  I urge you to check out Tony Zayas’ video series on Demystifying SEO, as he goes further in-depth regarding terminology such as: On-page/Off-page factors, Meta tags and more!  There are three posts in the series which you can find here:

Demystifying Search Engine Optimization
http://www.proformablog.com/demystifying-search-engine-optimization/

How Social Media Relates to Search Engine Optimization
http://www.proformablog.com/how-social-media-relates-to-search-engine-optimization/

Increasing Your Web Presence with Content Marketing
http://www.proformablog.com/increasing-your-web-presence-with-content-marketing/

Be sure to leave me a comment on YouTube and let me know what you’d like to know regarding SEO.  Thanks and have a great day!

Until Next time,

Tom Zobel

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