organic search engine optimization tips
1. Keyword Selection
The words you think people search on may differ from the words your target audience actually queries.
The language you use in your business everyday can be very different from the keywords your target audience actually uses when performing search queries. Using SEO technology and tools, a search engine placement specialist can supply data on:
- Keywords related to your business that users are actually querying when using the most popular search engines
- Competition for those keywords from other websites
- Data for the past 24 hours, as well as averaged numbers over a 90-day period
Correct use and analysis of the data helps you target the most optimal keyword phrases that:
- Are relevant to your goals in attracting the right audience
- Receive a high number of queries
- Have achievable results in comparison to the competition
This is one of the best search engine marketing strategies since it is more results oriented in driving the highest number of potential clients to your website. The alternative is to target keyword phrases that you “think” others are querying or aiming for—keyword phrases that are so highly competitive that your site will never make front page placement. This strategy often ends up being very costly in the long run.
2. Inbound Links
Smart website owners continually seek high-quality, well-earned inbound links.
A never-ending campaign to get other websites to link to your website for as long as you own your site is a very smart goal. The Google search engine was extremely successful in its early years, partly because the algorithm that it used to prioritize placement assumed that if a website was popular (judged by the number of links to the site), it should rank higher on a placement list than a site with similar information. The algorithm successfully helped sort the exponential growth of information on the Internet into a relevant search result list — something other search engines couldn’t do. Read more about the history of the Google Search Engine in Top Of The List’s Gem of the Month article.
Google uses this algorithm as one of its main factors in determining website placement even today. While the methods for obtaining high quality links to your website has changed dramatically over the past few years, the process is still important and possible with the right “white hat” practices. Good search engine optimization firms include a link campaign as part of their SEO package, but the wise website owner will continue to obtain links throughout the site’s existence.
3. Local Search with Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
Use the power of Google and Bing Maps to generate local visitors.
Searching for businesses online has far surpassed the use of Yellow Pages, and it’s absolutely free to make your business visible in local search! When your organization is listed in Google and Bing Maps, your listing gets higher priority on placement lists when the keywords entered are accompanied by your city name. For example, searching on “car tires Grand Rapids Michigan” would bring up tire dealers in Grand Rapids, Michigan that had claimed and verified their business in Google My Business; their placement would come before tire dealers that have not done so. When a user visits Google Maps directly (not through the general Google search window), the Google Maps simulates a phonebook directory. Some of its features include:
- Providing a map directly to your organization based on the address(es) you submit
- Allowing multiple location listings
- Providing a link to your website
- Displaying pertinent information including hours of operation
Top Of The List’s Local Search Optimization specialists can help your organization with creating a Google Maps and Bing Maps listing, or if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, try it on your own or with the help of one of our SEO consultants. Either way, you can generate more local visitors to your website with local search listings on Google and Bing.
4. Useful Content is King
Search engines rank websites higher when they provide useful information.
The Internet became what it is today in part because of the mindset behind its original proponents that the net represent a resource to freely share information. A site that simply sells items or advertises a business generally ranks lower than a similar site that also provides useful information. Some examples of providing good information include:
- A real estate site including tips on buying a home
- A veterinarian including information on when it’s important to bring your dog to the vet and when your dog could be treated from home
- A grocery store offering hints about selecting the best tasting or ripest melon
Content does not always mean more text either. Useful content can be included in images, video, questionnaires, and more. Providing useful information is just one more way to gain the trust of your customers and give them confidence in your business – and this is exactly what the search engines want to see. If your website ranking isn’t what you think it should be, try sharing some of your knowledge!
5. Fresh, Updated Content
Websites that are updated on a consistent basis get extra points from search engines.
Too many website owners budget for their website design and development as a one-time expense. Bad idea! Stale information isn’t helpful to anyone. Would you enjoy reading advertisements from a newspaper that’s six months old? Or enjoy going to the grocery store and finding dust on the products? Your target audience and search engines don’t either. Some simple suggestions for keeping content new and fresh:
- Create a “News and Events” page or on-site blog, and add newsworthy events about your business.
- If you currently email a newsletter to clients, save the space in their email boxes and publish it online instead. You can still send the email, but instead of the entire newsletter, include a link to the online version. You will also get more website traffic.
- Update your site as your products or service offerings change; consider your online material the first item in your marketing mix to reflect the changes.
- Add content that answers customer’s questions or helps them engage in your site.
The world is changing fast, and so should your website. Search engine spiders scour the Internet, hungrily seeking new information that isn’t in their databases. By continually feeding the spiders, they will return to your site more often to see what new treats you have for them.