Good search engine optimization is more than just choosing keywords and writing meta descriptions. Yes, these aspects are invaluable, but without a solid framework to build upon, your organic marketing efforts aren't going to bear as much fruit as you could otherwise.
No one just knows how SEO works right out of the gate. It takes plenty of time and effort to understand these concepts and even more to implement them correctly in real-world situations. That doesn't mean you have to go it completely alone, of course. Here's a list of some of the essential methods that will help you set a strong foundation for your site's SEO.
SEO works best with a targeted approach. This means that the more tightly focused your optimization, the better overall results you'll have. You'll need to keep this focus in mind while designing both your content and your site itself. Consider who you're targeting as a customer and identify as many different aspects of their demographic. Then, focus your attention on those aspects.
With more than half of all web searches occurring on mobile devices, the writing is on the wall: ensuring your website is configured to display properly on mobile devices is essential. Design your site with mobile devices in mind first before then ensuring the site functions well on larger screens as well.
Slow-loading pages are the kiss of death for anyone looking to both attract visitors to their sites and retain those same visitors. A site that takes too long to load will quickly be abandoned for a competitor, so take steps to optimize your site infrastructure for speed and quick response times by using compressed images, browser caching, and related techniques.
One of the greatest ways to build a strong online presence is through consistent high-quality content. This requires you to formulate an ironclad content schedule and stick with it as closely as possible. The longer-term your plan, the better - you'll find it easier to work around sudden issues if you have weeks or even months planned ahead of time, as this allows you to juggle your schedule accordingly.
You can't build your brand organically without leveraging on-site SEO to the hilt. This means smart keyword use in your content, starting with your meta description, your page title, and the content of your page. Internal and outbound linking is also crucial for building authority with search engines.
You can't possibly know the best keywords to use for your site without researching which keywords are trending. Prioritize installing Google Analytics as soon as possible so you can begin your data collection efforts. With Google Analytics running, you'll be able to track visitor statistics, keyword information, and who's linking to your site.
Finally, create a sitemap. This is an important step for building organic reach, as sitemaps are used by search engines to maximize your site's visibility. The better your site map, the more likely you'll rank higher in search engine results pages - and that means more visitors. More visitors, of course, means more opportunities to convert those visitors into customers.
If all the above steps sound like a lot of hard work, that's because they are. This is perhaps the biggest so-called "secret" of SEO - in order to be successful, you need to put in the work. Researching keywords, implementing good on-site SEO strategies, having a solid plan for your content schedule, and ensuring the mechanics of your website are visitor-friendly are all detailed endeavors. Fully committing to even just one of these takes time and effort, let alone most or even all of them.
The potential payoff, of course, is quite massive. First-rate SEO can drive visits to your site in impressive numbers if done correctly. Are there quicker ways to build traffic? Of course there are - paid search is always an option. Yet the costs of such an approach can be high, especially if the end results turn out to have a poor return on investment. Organic reach is indeed slower, but it comes in at a fraction of the cost. As long as you've got a strong SEO foundation under you, you can build the website of your dreams.