What’s the best place to hide a dead body? The second page of Google search results. You might have heard the joke before, but it’s definitely one that’s worth repeating in 2018 for those among us looking for ways to boost our businesses online. Ever since people discovered how important and effective it is to get your business website ranking well on search results, it’s been a race to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and market trends.
Search engine optimization has come a long way in a short time, and it’s easy to get lost among the thousands of guides and tutorials promising a golden formula to get your site to page one. The truth is, the foundation of good SEO practice remains the same, and if you can apply the basic SEO principles that have stood the test of time, you’ll do just fine.
So let’s get right into it. Here’s a look at basic SEO practices to get your business in top gear for 2018 and beyond.
1. Get Your Keywords Right
Since Day One, keywords have been the very foundation of good, effective SEO. Keywords are the first things search engines such as Google will look at as they try and figure out if you’re what a potential customer is searching for. If you’re running a small or medium-sized business, your keyword priorities will focus on two main aspects of your operation – what exactly you do and where exactly you do it. For example, ‘landscaper in Las Vegas’.
A good way to figure out which keywords will work best for you is to make up a list of all the possible ways you imagine people would search for the services you provide, and even ask friends and family for their suggestions. You’ll notice that some combinations come up more frequently than others – these are strong keywords. Incorporating these phrases and search terms into your website content is a tried and true step towards ranking powerfully.
2. Content is Still King this Year
Search engines are complex creatures. Even if you’ve got your keywords looking good to them, they still won’t be convinced that you deserve a top spot. Search engines serve the purpose of delivering the most relevant, useful, and reliable results possible to users, and they look at a lot of things while figuring this out. One of these things is the amount of time visitors spend on your site. If you managed to get a top ranking due to clever keyword usage but nobody spends more than 15 seconds on your website, the algorithm will automatically downgrade you. The reason? You aren’t providing anything useful or engaging to people who click on your listing so you have no business in the big league.
The solution here is content. Anybody who gets to your website should be met with content that is engaging, informative, and relevant to their needs. This doesn’t have to just be about blogs or articles. Video, audio, and image-based content are also great ways to capture and hold a visitors attention as you convince them of the superiority of your products or services.
3. Social Media for your Business
It pays to keep engaged with your potential clients. One of the most recently recognized tools you can effectively use to boost your ranking and visibility is by getting your business talked about on social media.
We’re not talking about spamming random platforms with your tag lines here, but joining up in organic, natural conversations and offering up useful advice and solutions. This works particularly well in forums or pages dedicated to your particular niche. When other users mention our business in other discussions or different platforms, Google sees that as a sign that people trust your brand, and will rank it higher as a result.
4. Build Up Your Reputation
Just like in the real world of business, having a good network of respectable partners and businesses in your field can be a big boost when it comes to your success. Online, you can achieve this for your business through link building.
As per Google’s own advice to business operators, making sure other sites contain links to yours is a vital part of boosting your rankings. Search engines look at links to your site as positive votes in your favor. The more people link to your website, the more likely it is that you are providing something relevant and valuable to your clients and visitors. You can get this done a lot easier if you’re providing great content regularly. It gets even better when highly ranked websites direct people towards you because their ‘votes’ will carry more weight depending on just how big they are.
This can be a difficult undertaking, of course, and it’s probably where most people starting out in SEO optimization get themselves stuck. That brings us to our next tip…
5. List Your Business on a Credible Directory Sites
Online business directories have been around for a while, but a lot of business people don’t quite realize how valuable they can be. Some consider them to be the equivalent of online Yellow Pages when they are so much more. Online business directories provide businesses with a place where potential clients can quickly pinpoint, learn about, and get in touch with them.
These directories can work wonders for small business through a variety of ways. We won’t get into too much detail, but for the purpose of this article we’ll take at what it can do for your SEO needs. The thing is, Google trusts online business directories. These directories are well established, experience high volumes of traffic, and have a built-up reputation of trustworthiness and reliability acquired over time. These qualities are what makes them so attractive to Google.
Pay attention the next time you’re carrying out a search for something, you’ll probably notice a directory listing included in the very first page of your search results. By having your operation listed on an online business directory, you can piggy-back on their established SEO qualities to get your enterprise ranked high, which is the ultimate prize of quality SEO.