The 7 Day SEO Diet
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a really hot topic at the moment. Even in the midst of a social media generation focussed on Facebook, Twitter, et al, businesses still realise that search, and being found on Google, is of paramount importance in terms of succeeding online.
However, with this focus comes a lot of confusion amongst businesses large and small around how to start with SEO and how to achieve those high Google rankings. In this piece, I would like to cut through to the most crucial aspects of achieving SEO success by giving a one-week plan to set you on your way towards achieving those ever-elusive Google rankings.
Treat Your Website Like A Novel You’ve Just Written
You have just published your first book. You are immensely proud of it. It has taken you months of time and effort. Now, you’ve just heard the amazing news that a prominent bookstore chain wants to feature it in their stores. You are delighted and go into a meeting with a box of your freshly published books. However, when you reach the store, the buyer is taken aback – for the following reasons:
-Your book has no title.
-Your book has no summary or description.
-Your book has no excerpt, table of contents, or introduction.
This is ludicrous, right?
How would book-store browsers ever find your new book? But this is not far removed from how many business owners treat their website. For example, I couldn’t even guess how many websites I have seen with no title or H1 (header) tags, or poorly optimised ones.
- These tags comprise two of the most crucial elements of on-site SEO, and have a very strong and direct impact on how high your website will rank for your top keywords.
- I have seen the most compelling evidence of this first-hand.
The lesson – make sure you have well-optimised title and H1 tags on your site, as well as reviewing other on-site ranking factors. A good place to learn more about this area is via the resources provided by sites like SEOmoz.
If you take the time and care to make sure your on-site SEO is on track – you are likely already one step ahead of your competition in this area.
Related: SEO vs. SEM: Is There a Difference?
Make Sure The World Knows About Your Site!
It may sound plain old-fashioned– but always remember that word-of-mouth is the best kind of marketing for many reasons. Two of these are that you always value the recommendation of a friend and that word of mouth is free!
- Today, simply ask your friends to spread the word among those who may be interested in your product or service.
- This step could also lead to someone influential seeing your product or service, perhaps even contacting you – or just spreading your message.
This is no time to be shy!
This step also has an exponential effect – the more people who know about your website, the more people they can tell, and then it goes from there. You can see this working before your eyes on platforms like Facebook, where one like can turn into ten likes within a short space of time.
This mirrors the real-world, so get cracking and be your own best advocate!
Related: DIY Search Engine Optimisation
Content Is King – No Matter Where You Post It
If links (which we will come to next) are the currency of the internet, then think of great content as its lifeblood. What this means for your site is that the more you produce great content, the more valuable you are to the internet ecosphere – and this has multiple benefits for you and your business.
The trouble sometimes is that business owners may feel bewildered by the many different avenues they feel they have to cover. Blogging, tweeting, Facebook updates, LinkedIn marketing, YouTube videos – if you aren’t covering all of these, you may feel you are missing out.
- For this reason, think in terms of creating valuable content that people will want to consume and share no matter where they find it.
- What you will then find is that it if it is valuable, it will automatically get shared on the various networks and channels without you having to play much of a part in that process.
Focus on creating superb content full stop – not on having to work on and service all the various channels you may use.
Related: 10 Kick Ass Content Marketing Ideas
Building Links – It’s All About Relationships
Building links to your website can sound like an arduous, complex task that often sends a business owner straight into the arms of the nearest SEO agency (which is fine, if you find a good one!). However, what SEO is about is building relationships – and this applies to link-building in particular.
You often hear people asking – ‘how do I get links’? This is the online equivalent of asking; ‘how do I get business partners’?
- You build relationships with business partners by participating in and engaging with your community, by attending events and contributing to your area of expertise.
- Doing this builds your reputation and your network – and it is no different for your website or your company’s online presence.
When it comes to getting links, think in terms of websites and businesses with which you have synergies. Could you write a guest blog post for them with a link back to your site in your bio at the end of the article?
A simple example could be a new cake shop writing an article for the website of the local bakery who stocks their products, or an insurance broker penning a post for a financial advice forum or blog.
Track, Test, Tweak!
If you are not assessing – yes you truly are guessing!
If your website does not have Google Analytics installed – or a solid analytics package of some description – you can’t have a realistic picture of how your site is performing for you – and neither can you successfully test how new updates and changes to your website affect your overall online performance.
Given you have set up a website in the first place, you will already know which keywords you want your website to rank for in search results pages.
Free tools such as Google Analytics allow you to determine which keywords are driving the most traffic to your site:
- But more importantly – they enable you to see which keywords are driving the most conversions among your site’s users.
- Sometimes, these keywords may not be the ones you had expected.
Being able to pinpoint your top keywords and traffic drivers allows you to target your SEO efforts accordingly – maximising your marketing investment both in terms of time and money. Make sure you have an analytics package installed and start tracking and testing today!
Google Analytics is free, and you will soon have a wealth of actionable data waiting for you.
Build Your Offline Brand To Enhance Your Online Brand
It may sound strange or counter-intuitive, but being good at SEO is as much about being a good networker and building your company’s brand and profile in the ‘real world’, as much as anything you actually do online.
This is simply because again, it all goes back to relationships – making connections and seeing this reflected in how these connections shape your online presence.
Think of the following example:
You are on a flight home from a trade show, and a key business person who is particularly influential in your business sector is sitting near you on the same flight. You happen to strike up a conversation, which then leads to the key person mentioning your business in their blog write-up on the trade show. Then, they also happen to tweet the blog post – and perhaps mention your name – in a tweet to their 30,000 or so followers.
If you consider all of the interactions you have with those who will be interested in or advocate for your business or service on a weekly basis – it all adds up to a powerful and compelling proposition in terms of driving awareness of your online brand, offline.
Related: So, Why Brand?
Have Fun, Be Yourself, And Mix It Up!
Let your own personality shine through in everything you do online. Your brand is unique because it has been conceived in your mind, and is a reflection on what you care about and are passionate about.
In practice, this can be as simple as creating a quick, fun instructional video for your new concept, an unusual or eye-catching visual showcasing your new product, or just a passionate blog post telling the world why you set up your shiny online venture in the first place.
SEO is primarily about two things – great content and influential links, aka relationships. Creating the former gets you the latter, and pushes your business forward.
Start the 7 day SEO diet today, and put it into continual practice.
What are your top SEO tips? I would love to hear your top strategies, and what has worked particularly well in your sector or niche.
Images: Featured: Healthy breakfast setting on isolated background. Post: 1.“The new book on a white background, 2. good news, 3. Gold crown, 4. Shaking hands of two business people, 5. Analytics, 6. Two business colleagues shaking hands during meeting & 7.Young couple jumping from a pier into the water/Shutterstock“