Robert Harden, Negosentro | Search engine optimization (SEO) is often seen as a fiendishly tricky dark art. While this may be true at the hyper-competitive level, any website can benefit hugely from a few easy-to-implement techniques. Here’s a seven-step SEO plan to follow that will start building traffic today.
1) Carry Out Keyword Research
SEO without proper keyword research is essentially flying blind. Before you devote any resources to optimizing your site, use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find out which search terms people are using to discover sites like yours. Also analyze which of these terms are likely to be highly competitive, and which may provide low-hanging fruit to concentrate on first.
2) Conduct an SEO Audit
Now that you know which terms you’re aiming for, it’s time to assess the current situation. Audit your site to see how many of your desired terms its pages are already targeting, and from which it’s receiving traffic. Is it attracting traffic on keywords you haven’t considered, and could you capitalize on this?
Also, don’t forget to audit the technical aspects of your site. Are there any barriers to indexing such as malformed URLs, clumsy rewrite schemes, or excessive duplicate content? Is the coding as lean and clean as it could be, or is there scope to remove bloat?
For an in-depth SEO audit, you can get a free audit from this site: http://www.pdxseo.net/
3) Work with What You Have
Use the results of your audit to optimize your existing pages, improving their keyword targeting and removing any errors. You probably won’t be able to cover your entire keyword set, but building a strong foundation for future work is a vital first step. It will also usually show quicker results than targeting entirely new traffic.
4) Build Links
Links remain the foundation of ranking, and it’s essential to start actively building them as soon as possible. Don’t aim for floods of new links, but make steadily acquiring them a central part of your SEO process. Spread your linking efforts around all your site’s content, but with a healthy bias toward your homepage and your most commercially important pages.
5) Create New Content
Start developing content for the keywords your site isn’t already targeting. An ideal way of doing this is to set up a blog, with each post targeting the main keyword along with its related minor terms. Slowly expand the breadth and depth of the keyword set for which your site has the potential to rank.
6) Get the Word Out
For every new piece of content you create, spread the word via social media, an email newsletter, guest posts, or any other promotion method you have available. Not only can this help to build links, but it will also create traffic and buzz, which will feed directly through into improved rankings.
7) Rinse and Repeat
Lastly, monitor which parts of your site are working well and which need more attention. Tweak underperforming pages to home in on their target phrases, and monitor referrals to see which keywords are performing best. As traffic grows, new patterns will emerge, and you’ll gain new ideas for content to further expand your site’s keyword universe.
Although hitting the top spots for competitive keywords is a significant task, SEO at its more down-to-earth levels doesn’t need to be over complicated. Work on these seven simple steps and the rankings and traffic will soon follow.