Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective tactics in digital marketing, but if you’re unfamiliar with it, it can seem like a foreign language. By optimizing your business? website for search engines and users, you can efficiently enhance your brand recognition and search ranking, giving you a competitive advantage. If you’re including SEO tactics in your company’s online marketing,?then consider these 10 important elements of SEO.

1. Take Care of theTechnical SEO Basics

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Just as your website is the first impression your consumers get, your websites metadata is the first impression taken away by search engines. To improve your websites chances at search engine visibility, it is crucial to make sure that your metadata (header tags, title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text) are all following best practices. These practices include character length, keyword integration, and CTA implementation. In addition to bringing your metadata up to best practices, ensuring your website has an SEO and user friendly site structure, adding a robots.txt and a sitemap to your site, and ensuring your site is void of any 404 error pages can all help send positive signals to search engines to increase Domain Authority.

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If you run a WordPress blog, then I’d recommend you grab the Yoast Plugin – it has all the relevant fields you need and makes covering this base super easy. Write your blog post and fill out each field. The plugin will even help you optimize your keywords and SEO basics.

 

2. Build Backlinks With Digital PR Outreach

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Ultimately, to rank well in search engines, you need to have a strong backlink profile. This is developed with each publication that links to your website, and the more built it is, the more credible that Google sees your website as. Pitching experts at your business or the products that your company sells to relevant news outlets can often result in a media mention with a link to your website if the reporter feels what you have to say will provide value to their readers. Based on the same fundamentals of a traditional public relations campaign, digital PR should be focused on quality mentions in relevant stories that can draw business to your site.

WARNING: DO NOT just pitch people to give you backlinks. Great backlinks come from killer, useful and sharable content. So if you want backlinks, you will have to earn them. Here are some tips on how to earn great backlinks.

  • Identify the influencers in your space. If you and your audience are active on Twitter, use tools like SocialBro and Little Birdto identify influencers and begin building relationships with them.
  • Visit your identified influencers web sites and register for anything they have available.
  • Leave comments on the influencers blog posts and share them.
  • Read influencers articles and write a riff on one of their articles on your own site linking to the influencer’s post.
  • Only after you’ve engaged with the influencer on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn regularly can you pitch them an article to post on their site.

This is the advice we followed to get this post to appear on DIYMarketers.

3. Leverage Locality With Google Places

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From a marketing standpoint, local SEO is important for any of your efforts. This means not only optimizing your keywords for rankings in certain marketplaces, but ensuring that your website is showing up in local results in programs like Google maps. Smartphones and Google searches show the location of the user, and if someone is searching for a specific store on their phone, and you fit that criteria and are in a close location, you want to show up as a result. Making a Google ?My Business? page and ensuring your location is clearly marked in Google Maps is an easy process and doesn’t take much time to set up. Specifically for brick and mortar stores, this kind of brand promotion is something that can definitely foster business growth.

If you haven’t registered your business with Google Places, you can do that here — it only takes about 5 minutes.

4. Set Up and Track Your Analytics

Google Analytics for your website is crucial to measuring your success. Analytics allows you to track user behavior and understand what’s working on your site and what’s not. Based on the data you review, you can make decisions on what changes need to be implemented in order to enhance the user-experience. Perhaps there are parts of your website where you are routinely seeing users drop off?this may be an opportunity for you to make some tweaks to your site, such as adding more internal links that bring users to different parts of your page.

Here’s an awesome checklist you can use to set up and track your Google Analytics

5. Keep Fresh Content

To rank well in Google searches, you need to have content that is freshmeaning frequently updated. This notifies search engines that you’re constantly providing visitors with new information that’s of high quality and value. Additionally, the more content you produce will give you more opportunities to reach users through their search queries. The older your content is and the longer that it sits without being updated, the less value search engines see in it because it will be considered outdated. The more relevant pages you add the better.

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First determine what frequency works for you. Each industry is different and there is no rule about how often you need to post. There are successful businesses who post at every frequency. However, there is one tip that I would give; if you are just starting out with a blog, it’s a good idea to publish every day for about thirty days. This gives the web crawlers time to find your site and to acknowledge it as a quality content site. I recommend that you write at least ten posts to start and schedule them to post every day for 30 days. Then you can pull back to three times a week to see how manageable that is for you. If that is too much, pull back to once or twice a week. But whichever you choose be CONSISTENT.

6. Get Mobile Friendly

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Mcommerce sales are expected to increase by 32.2% from 2014-2015 according to eMarketer. Users are on-the-go and with mobile devices, this is becoming easier. That being said, to accommodate the increasingly large amount of mobile users, Google has begun considering whether or not websites are mobile friendly when presenting search results. In the April 2015 Google algorithm update nicknamed mobilegeddon,? websites that are not optimized for mobile devices will no longer appear in mobile search results. For nearly all businesses, users on mobile devices make up a sizeable percentage of their users, so it would be in your best interest to invest in a mobile website for your brand. To see if your site is considered mobile friendly, take Google’s test.

7. Pay Attention to Keyword Relevancy

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Whatever your business may be, you should understand the relevant keywords that users would use to search for it, and terms related to your industry. While some businesses may use tools to determine keywords, if you examine it differently and from a realistic standpoint, you’ll find many advantages over your competitors. Understand what is relevant to the current events related to the field you are in, and use that to examine how users would search for your brand, products, or services.

8. Design for User Functionality

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A site should be designed in a way that is visually impressive, but also functional. Your websites site structure needs to provide a fluid user experience and offer an easy reading experience for search engines as well. If your site is beautifully designed, but hard to navigate, you aren?t focused on user experience (UX) and Google will penalize your site in search results. The interactions users have with your site navigation should be as seamless as possible. The right website design will ensure that your site is functional for SEO and your users.

9. Invest in Tools to Track Your SEO

There are a plethora of tools in the digital marketing space that are intended to help you monitor or track your SEO efforts. If you’re just starting to implement some SEO best practices into your company’s website, two of my favorite tools are Moz and SEM Rush. Moz is critical for monitoring your domain authority, identifying link opportunities, and tracking the links that make up your backlink profile. SEM Rush is incredibly helpful with tracking your keyword growth to understand how you’re ranking for the terms you have identified as important to your business. It’s also a great tool for competitor analysis.

10. Engage Using Social Media

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While there is (currently) no direct correlation between social media and SEO, it makes sense that the shareability of your content will impact how much traffic you get to your site. If you are creating engaging and interesting posts that bring users to your website, and those posts get shared often by influencers in your industry, you’re going to get more visits. Create content that is relevant to your target audience, and is highlighted in a concise manner so that users are interested in reading it.

It’s not as overwhelming as it seems. There are a lot of tools available to help you manage your engagement and keep it simple and in one place. Consider using tools like HootSuite to help you schedule and organize all of your social media accounts in one place.

SEO: Part of Your Business Strategy

As part of a cohesive business plan and digital strategy, the right SEO tactics can enhance a company’s rankings, ultimately helping to foster sales and overall business growth. By using these tips to create your own SEO strategy, you can reap the benefits of your company appearing higher up in search engine rankings.