Before I dive into my next group of SEO tips I want to give a bit of an introduction / explanation about SEO:
Simply put, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of making specific adjustments and applying certain tactics to your website (known as on site SEO) and outside of your website (known as off site SEO) to help your site rank higher on search engines when a browser is looking for a site like yours.
Hypothetically, if these techniques are applied properly your site will climb the rankings, bring in more visitors – thus, creating more sales! At least that is the idea which is why SEO truly is valuable. Unfortunately, Google won’t provide you with an exact list of how to rank #1 but they will provide you with things you should and should not do when it comes to SEO (see the end of this blog for Google’s SEO Starter Guide).
How do you learn about SEO? READ …and often! With Search Engines constantly changing it is difficult to stay on top of the latest SEO trends but by reading sites like SearchEngineWatch.com , SearchEngineLand.com and SearchEngineJournal.com you can not only gain a better understanding of what SEO is and how it works – but they’ll often provide you with up to date recommendations and techniques vs those that are outdated and are no longer relevant.
There is a formula and a ‘method to Google’s madness’ when it comes to ranking your website (known as Google’s Algorithm). The sooner you start understanding how Google and other search engines work, the better you can apply SEO and get your site ranking!
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Now, on to my next set of tips. This is part 2 of 2 of my Simple, Local SEO tips – missed the first blog? check it out here: Simple Local SEO: Part 1 (On Site SEO)
Here, we’ll be focusing on Off Site SEO. This is all of the SEO work one would perform outside of their website. Think of it like this: on site SEO alone = good , off site SEO alone = good … on site + off site SEO = GREAT 🙂
There are many factors when it comes to applying effective off site SEO. The following list incorporates quality link building, directory submissions, and other useful tips …here we go!
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools: By signing up for Google Webmaster Tools, you can track the number of people locating your site, how they located your site, any site errors, and lots of other useful information.
- Sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools: Additionally, Bing offers a similar type of tool set – note that Bing Webmaster Tools is also the tool set for Yahoo! now (Yahoo! and Bing merged this about 1.5 years ago)
- Generate a Sitemap: Create a sitemap, upload it your website, then submit it to your Webmaster Tool Accounts. A sitemap provides search engines with pertinent information to help index and classify your site.
- Add your Business to Google Places / Google+ Local: This is a biggie, get your business on Google Places. Google places will pinpoint your business on their map and allow you to add/edit information (including you URL, business info, pictures etc.)
- Add your Business to Bing Business Portal: The same goes for Bing…
- Add your Business to Yahoo! Local Listing: And Yahoo…
- Other Directory Listings: Add your listing to both generic and trade-specific directories, be sure to input the exact same information for each directory, add your URL and complete them to 100%. Some of the top directories are YellowPages , Yelp , Local.com , WhitePages , Manta , SuperPages , MerchantCircle , Patch , CitySearch etc.
- Competitor Analysis: Analyze your competition and how they appear on major search engines. Where does your top competition have links coming from? Get listed there too! Additionally, see what kind of keywords pop up in the Google Instant Bar – consider using those keywords back on your site as those keywords are being typed in frequently by browsers.
- Guest Blogging: Visit blogs with similar interests/topics to your site. Interact and post on these blogs – be sure to leave your link behind!
- Social Media: Research has shown that Social Media sites can affect rankings. Tweets, Likes, and Pluses can have a positive effect on your off site SEO efforts. Google values ‘+1s’ and Bing values ‘Likes’.
- Link Building: Attempt to get inbound links containing optimized keywords to your site. Quality, trusted links – NOT – link farms or ‘black-hat’, poor quality, links. Do keep in mind the number of links you can receive but (most importantly) focus on the quality of the link. This can often be the most time consuming task of your off site SEO work.
- Honorable Mentions: Google+ Authorship and PR
Things still a bit unclear? Read/watch the following – this information should help get you on track:
- The Official Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide by Google
- A helpful Guide from SEOmoz
- Review this video from Search Engine Land: