There is a lot of search engine optimisation or SEO information out there.
Businesses can get caught up in promises of high rankings and quick results.
The tricky thing about the SEO world is that the things that are wrong can actually and often do work in the short-term. Businesses invest in link building schemes and it works for a few months or even a few years.
But the inevitable always happens. The Search engine marketing , especially Google, make a correction or change and the house of cards coming crashing down. Businesses that come to depend on high rankings find themselves fighting to get back.
Real SEO Takes Hard Work
SEO done correctly takes at least some time to achieve. You can make quick changes to your website platform, but achieving high rankings today requires a content strategy and creating content takes time for most businesses.
Before we get into the 5-step program here are three excellent beginner’s guides for SEO:
The information from these guides goes into more detail, but the following five steps will get you started in the right direction to achieving high rankings, more traffic and more sales.
Step 1: Identify Your Target Customer
Many of the marketing exercises begin with the target customer. If you don’t know your target customer you begin your marketing strategy without real direction or real understanding.
To begin optimising your business for search you need to start with understanding who your customer is and what they’re searching for.
From there you can deliver the type of content and results that will give your customer exactly what you want.
Imagine a company that sells shoes. The first step to high rankings would be to first offer the best shoes for a specific customer. The second step would be communicating, via the website, the value in these shoes.
It’s simple on the surface, but a challenge to deliver.
Step 2: Determine Your Customer’s Preferred Search Term Language
The next big step in SEO is figuring out the language our target customer uses versus the language you use as it relates to your industry.
Back to the shoe example you might find that the industry term and the term you use internally is “clog”, but you might find that the majority of your target customers use the term “slip-on”.
You can speak with your customer directly. You can hold surveys. You can research online forums and social media to see how customers are discussing your industry.
Once you figure out the terms they use you can identify the keywords they use as it relates to your business using a tool such as Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool.
Step 3: Create A Satisfying Online Experience
Much of what you find in the three SEO guides above is information about making your website easy to understand for your target customer and for search engines.
If you read the literature Google shares regarding SEO you’ll find they always encourage businesses to focus on the customer.
In SEO, it’s easy to get caught up in what Google wants. Google wants what its customers want – good content with good experiences.
There are infrastructure items you can change on your website such as titles, headlines and meta data. This makes it easy for people to know what each page on your website is about.
Your website should provide answers to questions and give your customers exactly what they expect with each page they visit.
Do this and continue improving the experience and your rankings will improve over the long run.
Step 4: Provide Value With Content
We’re almost to the point today where content marketing has become SEO.
Tricks and games no longer work as well in the rankings. There are still spam results for certain terms, but Google and the other engines are working hard to eliminate spam and manipulation.
Content your customer finds valuable is what wins in the long run. It’s how you can ensure that your business remains relevant through any change in the algorithms.
Start with the questions your target customer asks. Provide the answers with blog posts, videos, guides, webinars and other content.
Publish these items on your website using the best practices in the guides above. Promote the content in social media and through other channels.
Step 5: Build Your Brand Recognition
The final step is another long-term SEO strategy. It’s also a business strategy that will serve you well in general as much as it will for SEO.
Having a quality brand has become more valuable for high rankings in recent years. The reason for this change is that people have trust with certain brands. This trust is something the engines value as well and they show it by providing high rankings to trustworthy brands like retailers and sites like Wikipedia.
In some cases, having a worthy brand is better than having the best content.
Obviously creating brand recognition is not something you can do overnight, but it should be part of your long-term strategy. Your content marketing can improve your reputation along with creating a good business that provides good products and services. You can also build audiences on your own website and on social media sites.
There are still some SEO consultants that will promise fast results. These people should be avoided. There are quick changes you can make and occasionally you will see changes occur quickly, but it’s best to look at SEO as a long-term strategy.
Start by focusing on your target customer and what they want from brands – good products and a good experience.
Do this and you’ll build something that will always be held in high favor with Google and the other engines.