As technology continues to evolve and new digital channels become relevant, a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is vital for companies big and small. The opportunity to increase brand awareness, connect with customers and prospects, and generate new leads or business can be realized through effective SEO marketing.
However, these things don’t happen overnight; it takes time and effort to get your website recognized and incorporated into search results, which ultimately drives traffic and leads to more views and potential advertising dollars. This post will offer five simple steps to kick off your SEO efforts and pave your way to success.
1. Sign up for a Google Webmaster account
This is the first big step to take when launching your SEO campaign. Signing up for a Google Webmaster account will provide you with access to detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google, providing insight into what is being searched and how often. Here are five ways to maximize your Google Webmaster account membership:
- Sign up and familiarize yourself with the site
- Watch videos and read articles about how to use Webmaster tools including videos
- Verify your site
- Wait a few weeks
- Get to know the tools and then find out how people are searching on your site
2. Pick five keywords
The first and most important factor for creating a successful SEO strategy is to identify keywords for your brand. These keywords will be matched with search queries to deliver appropriate results to the user performing the search, which could include customers or prospects.
Generally, the shorter the keyword phrase, the more competitive it will be to get recognized by a search engine. Long-tail keyword phrases allow your brand to target specific terms, delivering relevant results to those performing the search and increasing the likelihood of clicks.
Identifying five competitive terms will give your strategy a foundation to build off and could deliver top rankings. Be sure to:
- Consider who is visiting your website and which keywords they would use to search for your company.
- From the research you did in the Google Webmaster account, select five core keywords you want to measure for a year.
3. From those 5 keywords, pick 30 theme keywords
Once you have established 5 competitive keywords to strive toward ranking, it’s important to identify longer-tailed secondary keywords to target specific products or solutions offered by your brand. These theme keywords are generally easier to rank for, giving your site an opportunity to “own” a specific term or phrase.
4. Update website titles
After all of your keywords have been identified, it’s vital to optimize your pages to increase chances of search engines picking up terms within your site. Page titles that include your keyword will tell the search engine exactly what it should find on that given page. Titles for web pages act like titles for books or articles (i.e., a quick idea of what type of content is about to be presented).
Use the following format: Name of Page | Company | Location
5. Add descriptions for each page
Meta descriptions act as a short summary of the page that’s about to be viewed. These descriptions allow you to tell website visitors and search engines what’s important about the page or content. Including keywords in these descriptions gives the search engine a better chance of picking up on keywords while giving readers an idea of the page’s theme.
Be sure to find something unique and different for each page and add a description that will catch the reader’s eye when they are searching a specific keyword. These descriptions are also used in Google search results (shown below), and serve as a brief summary to show what kind of content will be found within the provided ranking site.
Following these five easy steps will kick-start your SEO campaign and get your website on the path to success. As technology continues to evolve and consumers increasingly make purchases online, it is vital to appear in search results.
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