While focusing on the small but essential details that make up much of search engine optimization may not be as exciting as coming up with a new viral idea, SEO is still an effective way to attract targeted prospects. And despite what a salesman may have said when he cold-called you, you can succeed with a DIY approach to SEO. Even if you’re on a shoestring budget, as long as you’re willing to put in the time and work, you can get results.
There are two main reasons why SEO often gets a bad rap. The first relates to the previously discussed salesman. There are plenty of companies in this space that aggressively try to sell products or services that are the modern equivalent of snake oil. The second reason is because of the way that less than reputable offerings are marketed, people still perceive legitimate SEO practices as some kind of dark art.
If you want to cut through all the nonsense and focus on the components of a successful SEO strategy in 2013, here’s what you need to know:
Start with Your Site: Having a quality site makes SEO significantly easier. Because it simply can’t address that many topics, it’s tough to rank a one or two page site for more than just a few queries. To ensure you get the most out of all the time you invest in SEO, you need to start with your own site. Specifically, you more than likely need to beef up its quality content. You likely have a database of common questions you receive from potential or current customers. If these aren’t thoroughly answered on your site, start there. Also, if your site doesn’t have a blog, you need to add one. And if one exists but it’s basically dormant, make regular updates one of your priorities for 2013.
Quality Definitely Trumps Quantity: There was definitely a period when spammers could do quite well by focusing on obtaining as many links as possible without any regard for quality. Fortunately, because this problem became so prevalent, Google stepped in and made significant changes to their algorithm. As a result, there’s no point in pursuing links from spammy networks or other low value destinations. In fact, doing so can negatively impact your rankings instead of improving them. It’s much better to spend your time on proven and sanctioned practices like creating awesome guest posts for other blogs in your niche.
Keep Social in Perspective: Social networks can be a great way to promote and spread top notch content. And while positive social signals can help rankings, they’re just one of many factors that Google’s algorithm considers.
Focus on Your Reputation: As previously mentioned, instead of obsessing over how many Likes a certain piece of content gets, focus on building your reputation. In addition to using social platforms to accomplish this goal, you should also start using the rel=author tag on content you create. Google has indicated on multiple occasions that the influence of this factor on their rankings will continue to grow.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Bob Smuckateli is a freelance writer who blogs about online ad agency marketing in addition to other guerilla marketing tactics and strategies.