Get the Most for Your SEO Efforts
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner, you are undoubtedly a very busy person. You know that search engine optimization is essential to achieve visibility for your website, and a multitude of consultants and web service firms have advice on all of the things you need to do for great SEO. You likely have heard or read about how to improve your site from those with the most general of guidelines to those with the most niche-specific services such as PlumberSEO.net.
Avoid being overwhelmed by work and information by applying the SEO 80/20 rule. As it is with the balancing of priorities in many aspects of life and business, about 80% of results will come from 20% of your SEO efforts. Here is a list of common optimization tasks with the most critical 20% at the top of the list.
Make These Your SEO Priorities
- Develop regular, quality, well written content.
- Make your website content original, well written, and useful to your target audience. Update on a regular interval to keep your site fresh and your audience engaged.
- Select the best keywords for your site.
- Identify 5 to 10 keywords (usually phrases of 2-3 words) that you want your business to show up for in search engines.
- Evaluate the popularity of your selected keywords using a tool such as SEMRush or Google Keyword Planner.
- Use your selected keywords in your content. You can add keywords to older content by editing them in where they would most naturally appear. But don’t overdo it! Keyword stuffing can result in lower SEO results. Use of your target keyword 2-3 times per page is ideal.
- Create internal, contextual links to important pages of your website as often as possible.
- Create links to important content by linking the words that best describe that content. Avoid linking a page to text that uses generic language such as “click here.”
- Optimize your website title and metatags.
- Ensure that each page has its own unique title tag with keywords relevant to the content on the page.
- Include H1 and H2 metatags on each page. Use only one H1 metatag per page. Include keyword, title, and description tags unique to each page.
- Read SEO Definitions for more on metatags.
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
- If you have an older site that has not yet been updated for mobile, do that now. Google penalizes sites that don’t provide a good mobile user experience.
- If you are building a new website, make sure the developer creates a mobile-friendly site from the start. Alternatively, use a platform like Wix that does so automatically.
- Claim or list your website in the top local directory and review sites in your industry.
- Google My Business is a must! Get listed in other directories including Yahoo Local, Angie’s List, Yelp, and your local city/town/regional directory.
- Choose the best local review site for your business. If people are already reviewing your site on a directory, claim that listing!
- Determine the most important review sites in your specific industry and obtain listings. For example, if you own or manage a car dealership, Dealer Rater is where you want to be.
- Discover and use the social media channels that your customers use.
- Understand your clients’ demographics and social media use. If they are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, keep a presence there.
- Choose the intervals on which you will post to those channels, and maintain the schedule.
- Keep it speedy!
- Speed optimization is easy to forget, but doing so could greatly reduce the effect of all the other hard work you’ve done. Use tools like Test My Site and Pingdom to discover your website’s load time and what you can do to make it faster.
Additional Useful SEO Activities
The following optimization list doesn’t make our top 20% of the SEO 80/20 rule, but do what you can, when you can.
- Canonicalize your domain. (Read Matt Cutts’ discussion on canonicalization.)
- Add sharing tools to your website.
- Put deep level navigation links in the footer of all pages.
- Optimize website images with descriptive ‘alt’ text.
- Add 301 redirects for pages that have changed or no longer exist.
- Register your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Replace dynamic URLs with URLs that contain relevant keywords.
- Install an xml sitemap for your website.
- Create an hcard on the contact page or footer of your web pages.
- Claim every relevant free local directory listing.
- Create multiple web pages that are optimized for local city search results.
- Block duplicate content with robots.txt.
- Create a blog or write articles and submit them regularly to an article directory.
- Conduct a ‘black list’ check of the server where your website is hosted.
- Find opportunities for .edu and .mil sites to link to your website. [Ask us how!]
- List your website in social bookmarking sites such as digg.com and stumbleupon.com.
Use the SEO 80/20 rule to get the most out of your time and your SEO efforts. Experiment to see which of these tasks brings you the best results. Which SEO activities are at the top of your list?