These 3 SEO basics (search engine optimization basics) can help you boost your organic search traffic, improve page rank, and increase your online visibility. Using only ethical, honest SEO basics and internet marketing tactics, you can help the search engines find, rank and share your content. The more they share your content, the better your chances of attracting new website visitors and turning casual visitors into loyal customers.
Three SEO Basics to Boost Organic Search Traffic
Search engine optimization is the art and science of helping search engines find, rank, and serve your content to people searching the web for the best information on a given topic.
A search engine’s job is to find the best content online that fits what a given user types into their browser window – no more, no less. These automated robots scan the billions of pages of internet content available, indexing, archiving and serving web pages and all sorts of online content, including images and videos, based on what they can “see” online. What they “see” are words: only words. They can’t read a picture or video, so anything other than text must be tagged with words in order to be found online. (That’s why I emphasize “words that work” – because online, your words are working words. They must serve a purpose!)
So what are my top three SEO basics to boost organic search traffic? There are over 100 factors that search engine marketing experts believe go into a well-optimized web page. I’ve heard some experts claim there are 100, and others say there are 200! No one knows for sure, because the folks at the search engine companies don’t tell us exactly what goes into the algorithm or ranking formula that propels the little bots out into the world and helps them sort through everything from Aunt Gertrude’s bread pudding recipe to the President’s latest speech.
Marketing writers like me, as well as SEO companies and experts, look at the tweaks they make to web pages, analyze the data, and determine which factors helped boost page views, traffic and more. Then over time, they notice trends, and share those trends as SEO best practices.
Here are my top 3 SEO basics or best practices that your company should implement immediately to boost organic search traffic.
SEO Basics Tip 1: Keyword Phrases
- Research and update your keyword phrases: The topic of your content is represented by keywords or keyword phrases, groups of words that cluster together to give both search engines and readers an idea of what your web page is about. A well-chosen keyword phrase can do wonders to boost search engine traffic. What’s a well-chosen keyword phrase? It’s one that represents what’s on the page honestly and truthfully. It’s one that few companies have figured out yet. And it’s one that a lot of people are searching for.
It’s darned hard to find, that’s what it is.
Yes, finding the best keyword phrases for search engine optimization can take forever. Sometimes it takes months to find the best starting phrases for a new website. Don’t rush the process.
To find great keyword phrases for your own website content marketing needs, start with how people are finding your site now. Look at your online records; what keyword phrases are guiding people to your site now? Which content is performing the best? Focus on those phrases and run them through Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool or a paid tool. Look for over 1,000 searches per month as your first criteria; look at the competition next.
Keywords and keyword phrases are words that work. They’re my favorite SEO basic to focus on when I find an underperforming website that needs help, because often with a few tweaks in the on-page content, the back end tagging and the tags on images, I can boost traffic dramatically in a few weeks or months.
SEO Basics Tip 2: Inbound Link Strategies
- Add inbound links and linking strategies: Links, links and more links. Inbound links are links from other websites that send traffic to your site. They’re golden. They’re great. They give you amazing traffic if done correctly. But they must be added naturally and without artifice. The search engine gods are good at spotting artifice and artificial linking schemes, and they punish without mercy those seeking to manipulate their search engine rank through the use of such schemes. So don’t offer an “even swap” of links with a friend: “You point to my site, I’ll point to yours.” Such swaps, once standard fare among SEO companies, are now out of favor with the search engine gods. While you won’t get penalized, you won’t benefit, either.
What WILL get you in trouble are those paid linking schemes where you plunk down cash and a company spams the world with your links. Not only is that an obnoxious marketing tactic, it’s ineffective. It will also get you in trouble with the search engines. Don’t do it.
So how DO you build links into your website? The old-fashioned way: by producing well-written, rich content that tells a story while it sells. I don’t care whether you’re selling pain cans or traffic cones, with B2B content marketing, you need a story.
I’ve heard folks say that “busy business executives don’t have time to read long content” but that’s not true. They don’t have time to read USELESS content. To build inbound links, you need great content that provides useful information to a busy executive. Such content may get picked up by other news sources, social media link-sharing sites liked Stumbled Upon or Reddit, or shared via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other platforms. Once it is shared, the links multiply, and so does the traffic. But you must start with useful content.
SEO Linking Best Practices
Some best practices for encouraging inbound links to your website include:
- Offering facts that are hard to find elsewhere, or that few people know about in your industry. You can discover these facts through surveys, studies, and other methods. Distill them into digest-sized blog posts, papers and presentations that you share on your website, and post a prominent notice encouraging people to link to your site as the source. Perhaps you can conduct a study of how traffic cones are used, or the best color for traffic cones if you are a B2B manufacturer of traffic cones. Such a study, if done well, may be of interest to your primary customers such as law enforcement, municipalities, and more.
- Create guides and have them professionally written and designed. Make them into PDFs and offer them as downloads without making customers jump through hoops to obtain them. Sure, you want some content that requires a visitor to turn over their precious email address to build your list. But don’t make every download on your website contingent upon signing up for a list. Be generous. Content marketing is all about generosity, and generously shared, relevant and well-written content works wonders to increase your inbound links.
- Make a link-building strategy a long-term project. Links don’t happen overnight. It can take time to encourage inbound links. Work with a professional internet marketing agency or content marketer to create a strategy and tactical plan that aligns with other marketing channels and helps your business achieve its overall goals through a solid linking strategy.
SEO Basics Tip 3: Images
- Use your images to boost organic SEO: I mentioned earlier that search engines cannot read pictures. That’s true, but they can read file names, tags and descriptions of images that you upload to a server. One SEO best practice or SEO basic that many people neglect is using images as part of their search engine optimization. Rename your image files with keyword-rich titles that reflect the images but also boost traffic. Use the alt-tags to provide more words that work for search engines, and don’t forget to use any and all tags in the back end of your website to their full advantage. This includes meta keywords, which although not widely used today may still help, title tags, page descriptions, and anything else your system provides to help you tag, title and create keyword-rich data for search engines to grab onto.
These three SEO basics have helped both my clients’ websites and my own websites and blogs rise in the search engine ranks among some stiff competition. They can work for you, too. Try them yourself and see. If you’d like some help creating a strategy around SEO basics, please use the Contact Form on my website and schedule an appointment. We can discuss your website goals and needs, and I can provide you with a fair estimate for my work to help you. Let’s figure out how to make words work for you.