Maria Heart from IgniteVisibility, a well known and respected digital marketing agency, has contributed this blog post for the Squirrly Blog. Editing was made by Cristina.
Are you new to SEO? Struggling to set up just the right strategy for your website?
Even if you’re a greenhorn to digital marketing who knows nothing about the history of search engine optimization, you can still put together a strategy that will help your website rank.
In this guide, I’ll go over six of the best SEO practices to help your business grow.
1. Submit Your Site
If you want to rank in the search engines, it’s a great idea to let the search engines know that you exist. Fortunately, they make it easy to do that.
Head over to Bing Webmaster Tools and submit your site to that search engine.
Next, visit Google Search Console and do the same thing there.
What do you accomplish by submitting your site to the search engines? You get it indexed.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a search index, it’s the master catalog of content that the search engines maintain. They use that content to find resources that match people’s search queries.
In other words, if you want people to find your site with a search engine, you’ll have to get your site indexed. Submitting it to those two tools makes that happen.
2. Set up Local Directory Listings
Even if you’re not a mom-and-pop shop in the local village, you’re still a local business somewhere. That’s why you should get your business listed in the various local directories.
Fortunately, there are a few sites that let you do that:
What are the benefits of getting listed in local directories? There are a few of them.
First, it builds links to your website. Those backlinks will help with SEO.
Next, it lets people know that your business exists. That’s going to build brand-name awareness.
Finally, it’s another way to get your site added to the search index.
3. Add a Sitemap
Next, you should add a sitemap to your website.
If you’re unfamiliar with sitemaps, they’re digital documents that tell the search bots how to navigate around websites.
It’s not easy to create a sitemap from scratch. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that will give you a helping hand.
If you’re using WordPress, for example, the popular Squirrly SEO Plugin will create a sitemap on your behalf.
4. Make Your Pages Search-Friendly
Also, make the content on your website search-friendly.
How do you do that? Optimize your titles, H1 tags, H2 tags, and meta descriptions. (actually, you can see above how you can easily follow all necessary instruction in WordPress if you use the SEO Live Assistant from Squirrly)
Make sure those elements contain keywords relevant to your brand. That’s how the search engines will associate your content with search terms that people use.
You should also optimize your overall content. Again, use keywords that people will associate with your line of business.
Finally, you should also add images to your content as well. It seems like the search engines give a bit of a bump to image-rich articles.
Why? Probably because it’s easier for people to digest the info that way.
Also: you should optimize the images too. Add keywords to captions and alt tags.
5. Find More Keywords
When you begin optimizing your content, you’ll probably identify a few keywords relevant to your business. That’s a great starting point, but it’s far from the finish line.
You need to find other search terms that people will use when searching for your products or services. Then, generate some content around those keywords.
I can’t stress this enough: a great SEO program includes keyword research. Period.
So, how do you find more keywords relevant to your niche? Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that are here to help.
Squirrly SEO includes a keyword research tool which impressed experts like Brian Dean and Neil Patel. It is widely considered one of the “go to” tools for keyword research. You can plug in the keywords that you’re already using and the tool will spit out a list of related keywords.
One of the best ways to start is by plugging in a competitor’s site and finding all the different keywords they’re ranking for.
From there, you can go through and cherry pick the terms you also want to rank for. How does that help? You should try to rank for those same keywords so you can capture market share.
Outside of that, you’ll want to enter keywords into Squirrly SEO’s keyword research tool that intuitively make sense for your brand. This will give you a huge amount to choose from and add to your list.
How do you know which keywords to prioritize? Look for the “low-hanging fruit.”
Squirrly (or any other tool worth your money) will identify the search volume and level of competition for each keyword it identifies. Your task is to find the keywords with high search volume and low competition. You should also watch out for the trend.
Those are the search terms that will be easiest to rank for.
6. Get Some Backlinks
The last step: get some backlinks pointing to your site.
As I mentioned above, backlinks help your site rank. That’s especially the case if the backlinks come from high-profile sites.
Suppose you have a web page that’s ranking at Position 30 right now. If you want to push that page farther up in the search results, get 10-20 backlinks pointing to it.
Remember, though, you want quality backlinks. If you try to build a backlink profile with forum links or foreign sites, the search engines might view that as backlink spam. That won’t help your rank.
One of the best ways to build backlinks is to reach out to webmasters of non-competing blogs and offer to write an article. Inside the article, add a link to your site.
Wrapping Up the 6 Best SEO Practices
Those are the basics. However, there’s still a lot more you can do to earn a great rank.