3 Essential Tips For Getting The Most Out Of SEO

The following is a guest post from Rob Chant, Director at The Cambridge Web Marketing Co.:

seo-592740_640Search engine optimisation (SEO) is still one of the best sources of traffic for most small business sites. And it’s not just that Google can drive far more sustained traffic than any other source – the traffic you get is highly targeted. SEO puts your message in front of potential buyers just at the moment that they’re expressing an interest in what you’re selling. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that!

And yet SEO is still shrouded in mystery. Many consider it to be a black art. The truth is that it’s pretty simple in principle; it just takes a lot of hard work! It’s not possible to have your site “SEOed” as a one-off service, then sit back and enjoy a boost in traffic. It just doesn’t work that way. Google, more than anything else, expects to see constant activity if it’s going to start sending serious amounts of traffic to your site.

Let’s have a look at three things you can do that are going to satisfy that criterion.

Content

You’ve heard that content is king, right? Well, in SEO terms, this is still the case. It is very hard to achieve a good level of search traffic to your site without adding new content regularly. There are lots of technical reasons behind this, but the core lesson is that Google wants to see fresh content on your site at least once per week.

This will usually take the form of a blog, but it doesn’t have to. A regularly updated knowledge base or support centre could work well. If you have an e-commerce site, adding new categories or products regularly would do the trick, as long as each one has a good amount of descriptive text.

And remember – there’s no such thing as “SEO copywriting.” Google just wants to see useful, well written content – so that’s just what you should give them. Think about your audience and what they’d like to read and share. Which brings us neatly onto…

Social media

The jury is still very much out on the direct impact that social media activity has on SEO. Although it’s likely to be small at the moment, the impact is there and will keep growing as Google and the other search engines develop their techniques for understanding people’s behaviour on different platforms.

Building authority is the key thing here. This means having well looked-after accounts, properly validated and with a decent amount of subscribers or followers. Making sure that your audience engages (retweets, comments, likes, etc.) with your posts is more important than raw volume. Which doesn’t mean you can shirk, of course – each of your channels really needs at least daily activity in order to work well.

Although the direct impact of social media on SEO is debatable, there’s no doubt that it has an indirect effect. It draws attention to your brand and encourages people to link to the content you are producing. Which brings us neatly to…

Outreach

Or, to put it another way, link building. Although incoming links are no longer the be all and end all of SEO (not by a long chalk these days!), links are still important. But as any seasoned SEO will tell you, quality links are harder than ever to get.

Tens of millions of words have already been written on link building, but as a small business owner, the best tactic for you is just to identify a few key people and organisations that you want to link to you. It’s all about building real relationships. They could be people local to you, whom you can meet while networking, industry professionals, thought leaders, etc.

Focus on engaging with them on social media, meet them in person if you can, take speaking opportunities, sponsor local events. Quote them in your blog (and let them know that you have!) Be creative. Before long, you should be accumulating a reasonable number of good quality, curated links. But again, that isn’t the time to rest on your laurels – it means that you’re ready to widen your net and start looking for links further afield.

Just one word of warning when it comes to outreach and link building – if it seems too easy, it probably is! Avoid any automated solutions like the plague. They’re more likely to get you penalised by Google than anything else.

Finally…

Just keep at it! SEO can take a long time to come to fruition, but when it does, the high quality, sustained traffic you’ll get is more than worth it.

Rob is a Director at The Cambridge Web Marketing Co, a successful digital marketing agency based in Cambridge. You can also contact Rob on Twitter and LinkedIn.