Search Engine Optimization. SEO. Getting found on Google.
Like the exercise we should do… or the new healthy eating habit we should adopt, many of us procrastinate embracing the very thing that would benefit our nagging conscience and ultimately, our reality.
My advice is simple – just do it. Make a decision. Begin.
If you are a solo-preneur, the task can seem daunting. Finding the time for learning a new skill while juggling other priorities can definitely make it hard to focus in a way that yields real fruit. But it can be done.
Here are a few tips to help you get started
Read The Unfair advantage. Over 16 Years ago when I first asked “How do I get found on Google?”, I discovered the term search engine optimization – SEO. I Googled SEO, surmising that anyone worth their salt should be at the top. I found the Unfair Advantage, bought it for $99 (now free), read it, picked some low hanging fruit, studied the competition to see what they were doing right, mimicked and one up’d them, and got to #1 on google. I then took the fruit of that win and applied it to other desirable search words. At one point I had our site at #1 for first call resolution and post-call customer surveys – two big buzz words in the contact center industry.
My point is – it can be done. And it doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking. Yes, it is scary when you fear that you could hurt rather than improve your rank – if you somehow break one of Google's rules – either through keyword spamming, or getting links from a shady link farm. But as long as you practice white hat techniques, you should be fine. (White hat is above board. Black hat is trying to beat the system with questionable spammy, keyword stuffing methods – that could ultimately get you banned from the search engine results.
There are a ton of free daily/weekly newsletters out there. Sign up for one. And let the email hit your inbox each morning. Let it bug you, nag you, staying at the front of your mind. Make it a part of your morning routine – reading the daily tip, digesting it, looking for ways to apply it. Some may be a little too long term, or over your head. But some will be within reach, easily actionable – do-able. Like taking your daily vitamins – don’t think about whether or not you want to – just do it. Do the right thing.
Make a plan
As you start to get your head around the topic of SEO, what it entails, the effort required, and what you kind of results you can expect for the amount of effort you are willing to put out, whiteboard, brainstorm and get the sparks out of your head onto paper. Group things into short, medium and long-term goals. Short term can be as easy as tweaking your page title to match your keyword for the page; implementing some keyword variation on the page; utilizing H1, H2, H3 tags to emphasize the page content; or using a few bolds or underlines to emphasize your keywords. (By the way – make sure any graphics you have are named with keyword variations in tune with the page. There are so many no-brainers).
Medium-term could/should be creating new content – specifically written for a new keyword. Get that task in the queue. And when the muse starts singing – be ready – just write it out. You will be so glad you did. New natural flowing content is priceless. I have pages I have crafted for specific topics/keywords that are still showing up on the first page of Google – still making my phone ring.
For double impact, I will say it again. If you find yourself staring at the ceiling while you should be falling asleep; with words swirling around your head, get up and write. Get it out. And put up the content. You will be glad you did. Your content will reflect clear/zen focus. You will have another keyword specific page to capture traffic. And the ROI could last well into the future.
The coolest part about planting SEO seeds – wisely, correctly, patiently, consistently – is that they will eventually yield fruit. In most cases, the battle is winnable. Knowing that / believing that, the sooner you get started the better. Carve the time out and get started.
Aside from the obvious steps of putting the time on your calendar, grab some tools that can automate the keyword research, competitive analysis, rank tracking, and your website traffic statistics. There are free utilities. Keeping in mind that, you get what you pay for, there are reasonably priced paid solutions like www.webceo.com. Using a combination of Google Analysis (to measure / set your benchmark), Google Keyword Research tool (learn about search volume for keywords, discover new keywords, pivot if/when you find the term you thought was relevant is not), and many other free tools, you should be able to get off to a good enough start to make a measurable impact before you have to resort to the paid solutions. (But it would be easier – and, being that paid solutions try their best to real you in to their platform, they typically come with many bells and whistles – ideally offering a comprehensive suite of tools, suggestions, wizards, walk-throughs, and to-do lists that help you get past the “you don’t know what you don’t know”.
I mentioned this above but will repeat it here. Take your benchmark. If you haven’t added Google Analytics tracking code to your site, add it as soon as possible. It is a two-minute task for your website engineer. As time passes your statistics will start to show up.
Taking your benchmark is significant. With it, you can measure the improvements over time – which should bolster your enthusiasm for the effort. Google does have great reporting that allows you to drill down into specified dates and keywords. And you can automate the delivery of daily/weekly reports so that the delivery of your favorite view of the data arrives in your inbox automatically.
If at any point you get stuck, give us a call. We've been at this quite a while and are more than happy to help you succeed.
Of course, if SEO is something you would rather leave to the professionals - we can help.
And last, but not least, we do offer training.
Either way, give us a call. We are here to help at 714.374.9023