by Erica Moss
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most underappreciated online arts. As a business owner, it can be daunting to try to navigate Google’s latest algorithm updates and stay on top of best practices when it comes to keeping your brand top-of-mind for consumers.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can bury your head in the sand and ignore it. With SEO, the positive impact on your bottom line will be tangible, so it’s important to either: A) hire a professional who can execute the strategy for you, or B) make it your business to know some things you can do to maximize your individual efforts with things like link-building.
Here are a few things you can do to get started today:
Make sure your PR mentions are working for you.
Did you recently get a great write-up in your local newspaper? Or perhaps a lifestyle blogger just featured your home organization business. It’s important to be vigilant when your burgeoning brand is highlighted online, and ask for a link back to your homepage in the story, if it wasn’t included.
The more links you have pointing back to your site from authoritative sources, the easier it will be for potential customers to find you online.
Try your hand at guest blogging.
Chances are the industry you’re in already has an established network of bloggers, from PR to gardening to beauty to automotive enthusiasts, and everything in between. And as any blog owner will tell you, content is king, so well-written articles from other thought leaders in the space are welcomed and appreciated.
Identify 10 to 15 bloggers in your space (bonus points if you’ve been an avid reader of theirs), and reach out to them via email. Let them know you’re interested in contributing to their site, and offer up two to four blog post ideas you’ve been brainstorming that are hyper relevant to their audience. If you’ve done your job, the site owner will welcome your ideas with open arms (and if they don’t, try not to get too discouraged).
In your bio at the end of the post, in addition to linking to your social assets, include a link back to your homepage, so that people who are reading your post will be able to easily find you. The more eyeballs you can send your way, the better.
Don’t forget to blog on your own site.
Having a blog that lives on your site is pretty much a no-brainer these days. Developing a unique voice for both you and your product is paramount to making a good impression, and a blog is a great way to inject personality into your brand.
The great thing about owning your own content is that you can tailor it to things your potential customers might be searching for. What type of queries might they be typing in that would, ideally, lead them to you?
For example, if you’re selling gardening products in Beverly Hills, it might behoove you to build articles around something like, “Where’s the best place to buy gardening products in Beverly Hills?” Including this very specific phrase and variations of it in your blog content can help you build your rankings and increase your site visibility. (Remember: Your goal is to be on the first page of search results! Visitors rarely click through to the second page and beyond.)
You may also increase your relevancy by writing about local events or newsworthy topics.
Building a business from the ground up is not for the faint of heart, however, there are certain things you can do to ensure you begin on the best possible footing. The key is to execute the above strategies in a genuine, non-spammy way by earning people’s interest and providing valuable content that your current and potential customers care about.
Photo credit: Tom Kaszuba on Flickr
Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters degree in nursing, offering one of the nation’s leading clinical nurse specialist programs. She enjoys blogging, TV, pop culture and tweeting @ericajmoss.