If you own a business, be it big, medium or small, can you just stick a website out there on the internet and wait for the traffic to come in? Or is paying a company for “SEO” worth it? Unfortunately, it’s complicated. But on the bright side, it’s possible to do most of it yourself. In fact, it’s probably smarter (ie, more effective) if you do it yourself!
With the majority of people online using search engines, we all want our businesses to be relevant. But what if 150 other websites are relevant too? How does Google or any other search engine for that matter decide who makes the top of the list? At one time, it had a lot to do with keywords. The more words tagged on your site that matched the words that were typed in on a search, the higher up in the ranks you got. Simple.
But no more! There are just waaaay too many websites for that to work anymore. So, what’s a search engine to do? Enter website reputation. Gone are the days where Google looks at keywords. Google now cares more about what the web thinks of you. Google wants to know that you have relevant content that people are searching for. Here are the most important ways to get in good graces with search engines:
Hang out with the popular kids
Find ways to get links to your website from reputable websites.
Keep fresh, up-to-date content on your site.
Don’t be a square
Make sure your website looks good on a phone as well as a desktop.
Major on the majors
Include lots of keywords in your content.
Keep it real
Make sure your relevant content is natural to read and not forced.
Run with the big dogs
Sign up for as many webmaster services as possible (ie, Google webmaster tools, analytics, maps, etc).
Get reviews on the big sites (Google, Yelp).
Don’t get chumped
Make sure you know that your site is secure. A hack is identity theft – not good for reputations.
Be patient. Reputations aren’t built over night.
Search for you and your company online. Pay attention not only to search engines, but also directories.
The biggest thing is being an active player. If Google catches you on the sidelines, you’ll lose ranking. Have an active Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linked In and Instagram accounts. Post to each of them at least a few times a week. And try to post content that no one else can. Pictures that you took will be much more interesting than re-posts. Also, link to your website from those accounts on a regular basis.
And one way to have fresh content on your website is to keep a blog. Show off your expertise in the field. Share stories and experiences where you’ve learned something. Even if you messed up. Trust will bring readers back. Plus, blog articles are great content for social media feeds.
Maintaining a reputation online isn’t easy. It could possibly consume hours every day. But isn’t life more fun when you’re all-in?