With the advent of digital marketing and social media, one of the first steps the businesses have to do is to be searchable on the web. The businesses have to be out there so that they can be seen by consumers. One of the many effective ways to accomplish this is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
There are companies which spend a lot of resources on SEO analysts. However, I believe the amount of resources spent on SEO marketing becomes a bone of contention when someone is trying to bootstrap a startup. I also came across this in one of my ongoing projects and that’s when I decided to get my hands dirty and learn a bit of SEO in order to save my hard earned dollar.
One of the first things in SEO marketing is to submit the website to popular search engines like Google, Bing etc so that it can index your site and report.
The most important step to make your website SEO friendly is to select appropriate and relevant keywords on your website. Keywords are the words users type in the search engine while searching for products or services. Therefore it is important relevant keywords should match end user’s aimed services/products, which your website has to offer. Once the right set of keywords have been determined they should be used carefully and wisely in the content of the web page and also the meta tags of the web page. I would recommend using the specific and focused keyword in order to achieve better results rather than general ones. So for example, for a dance class specialising in Salsa, the word “latin dance” or “dance” is too general. If we choose these words it will be competing with too many websites and many consumers who might not be looking for salsa dance lessons but for a different type of dance. One of the easy ways to hack this challenge is by determining which keywords to use, using keyword tools such as Google Webmaster Tool or Bing Webmaster Tool. The tool will give information about search volume within a selected region and/or industry, depending on your filters. For example, if your website is a digital media company delivering news in the education sector in Australia then one of your potential keyword which the tool will give based on your location is “business schools”. Based on this results, tailor the title and description of web pages to contain these keywords. In this instance, the title of the web page can be “What are best business schools in Australia”
Another important piece of this puzzle is Meta Tag optimisation of the website. Most meta tags are included within the ‘header’ HTML code of a website. They are the title, description, keywords and robot tags, but currently, the most important two are title and description. In order to be sure that all robots will crawl your website, I advise you to add an “Index, follow” meta robot tag. Meta tags should be unique and meaningful for each separate page. If they are the same, search engines consider them as duplicate content and rank the web page lower in their search result pages. One thing to keep in mind when selecting and using keywords is that, if you target the same set of keywords with two different pages then, your pages will be fighting among each other for a position in results on the same keyword thus devaluing each other’s worth.
Apart from the above, it is a good practice to interlink your web pages by making text references or having the most important pages linked in your site footer.
The key takeaway is that we should be smart in selecting the keywords using the available tools and then use them in our content wisely.
From my personal experience I can say that for a small business, it is really difficult to justify spending resources on digital marketing at the beginning when money and time is a constraint. However, it will go a long way in ensuring visibility if the business gets its basic SEO strategy correct from the very beginning.