As an inbound marketing agency, there's one piece of advice we really cannot stress enough when talking to anyone looking for advice on their online marketing:
Your web design must consider SEO from the beginning.
That's not to say that a pre-SEO site cannot be bootstrapped into being effective at Search Engine Optimization, but overall, a site that is built from the beginning to appeal to Google and the other search engines is going to have a much easier time moving up in its search rankings.
SEO isn't just something you use on your blog, it should be woven into your site in as many places as possible. So, here are some inbound marketing tips to optimize your website for SEO throughout!
The SERP Advantage
SEO is all about boosting your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings. When someone searches for a term relating your business, you need to be on the first page of results if you want to hope to catch their eye. Less than 2% of searchers even look at the second page of results, whereas the #1 link will automatically receive more than half of all clicks.
Your SERP rankings will be one of the biggest factors that determines if your online business will succeed or fail. Nearly anything you can do to boost them will gain you more leads and sales.
SEO Optimization Tips
Pick your keywords early and often. Keyword researchis something you should do before launching a new site, and something you should keep doing. The more keywords you can locate that could point at your business, the more traffic you'll attract through Google.
Utilize metadata. HTML tags on your main webpage are mostly depreciated, but newer forms such as Rich Snippets and Google Plus Author Tags can directly help your search results. HTML tagging is still useful for visual elements, like pictures and video, to aid search spiders in their indexing.
Create an XML sitemap. A sitemap is simply a text-based list of all content on your site, from landing pages to video blogs. These tell visiting search spiders what's on your site and ensures they index all of it. As there are plenty of free sitemap generators available online, there's really no reason your website shouldn't have one.
Increase your social media presence. The relationship between social media marketing and SERP results is hazy, but consider: multiple studies have found that the number of Facebook Likes a brand receives correlates directly to SERP results. Now, as the blog says, correlation is not causation, but there's little doubt that brands with strong social media presences also enjoy greater online popularity.
Seek links and partnerships with other sites. More than 2/3 of the weighting Google does in deciding SERP results has nothing to do with what YOU put on your site. It's all about what other people say about you. Try to share links with other reputable sites, and participate in guest-blogging when you can to get more people linking to you.
Content is King. Google is serious about leveraging their position to push for higher-quality content online. Whatever else you do with your website, commit yourself to honestly trying to put content online that's original, useful, well-made, and interesting. Companies that don't cut corners are rewarded in their search results.
So when we say that SEO is vital, we're not just saying it to get attention to our industry. SEO is the bedrock of all modern Internet marketing, and until someone thinks of something better, it's your best shot for growing your online business organically.
Hey, that's something to think about: What do you think the next paradigm in online marketing might look like? How long will SEO rule, and what's going to come next?