Since Google took over ownership of the search functionality on the internet, the term “SEO” (search engine optimization) has been top of mind for any serious website owner. If you cannot be found easily when someone searches for your product or service on Google, you have a far smaller chance of success in internet sales and marketing.
And, while it’s very true that there are some seriously technical aspects to achieving proper and excellent SEO, there is a simpler recipe for achieving the crown jewel of being above the fold on the first page of the Google SERP (search engine results page). That recipe has three ingredients.
Content is king. If you create a small website with good, descriptive copy, that’s a good start. But if you never update the content on your website, Google will eventually penalize you for not updating your content, and as a result, your website will appear lower and lower in the results that are shown when a potential customer searches for whatever it is that you do.
How do you solve this issue? Create new content on a regular basis. The easiest way to do this is your blog. Every business should have a blog, and every organization should update their blog regularly, meaning at least once a week. Back in “Internet 1.0” days, the “about” page on your website was where visitors got to know you. That’s no longer the case. Now visitors go to your blog first to learn who you are, what you do, why you do it, and what you stand for.
When you create content, Google looks for things called “keywords.” These are simply the words that best describe what you do. If you’re a blogger who writes about making adirondack chairs out of teak, then including the words “teak” and “adirondack” and “chairs” naturally in your blog posts will let Google know to show your site first when someone searches for “how to make teak adirondack chairs.”
You can’t just toss any old content out there willy nilly. You need a strategy, even a simple one like “we’re going to blog every week to educate our audience on how to use our product.” It really can be as simple as that for your strategy. The larger your business and the more content you create, the more complex your content strategy will be, but it can start out very simple as you learn.
But, that’s not all. When you seek the Holy Grail of SEO domination, you’re essentially saying, “Hey, Google! We love you! Will you please come into our house and then go tell the world about us?” You’re inviting Google into your house, so you need to get your house in order. The good news is that Google offers many tools to help you do just that. The first tool is called “Google Webmaster Tools,” and it gives you everything you’ll need to make simple adjustments and test your site to see if Google likes it.
And, as of spring 2015, you’ll need to test your site for what Google calls “mobile friendliness.” You can do that here.
OK, it’s really “Time,” but I’m a fan of alliteration. SEO magnificence is not an overnight process. It takes time, sometimes months. During those months, you would do well to do regular checks and tests using the Google tools mentioned above. But, most of all, you should be creating great, relevant content on your site every week. Google loves regular updated content, and will reward you for creating and publishing it.
Finally, if you’re like me, you’ll enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor by searching for your keywords on Google just to see where you’re ranked. But be aware that your ranking will change on a daily basis. Unless your business so totally dominates your space that you are #1 every single time (don’t count on that), then you will most likely see your placement on the SERP move up and down. When it takes a big jump up or down, you should try to figure out why, using the Google tools that you’re now so familiar with.
Outstanding SEO is valuable, and it’s not easy, but it is within your reach. Take these first three steps, and you will soon see results. Remember, great content over time will result in higher Google rankings.
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