What is the most demanding task or requirement of any new business; people, products or finance? Although these elements do play an important role in turning a new venture into a success story, it is customers who really matter. More customers mean increased sales. However, increasing client base is easier said than done because of the intensity of competition in every niche market. WWW has made things even more difficult, as it has changed the rules of online business completely.
Therefore, a new business needs to plan its online strategy carefully, especially while building web properties such as, a website. Of all the web assets, a website can really make or break new business. This is where SEO comes into the picture. It popularises your product or service through various optimisation tasks. Remember, you have to make potential buyers aware of your existence. SEO does this job beautifully, provided you follow “Good Practices” and stick by the rule book.
Both on-page and off-page optimisation are crucial for increasing page rank, increasing traffic, generating leads and enhancing sales. Mentioned below are 9 SEO strategies to succeed with your new business.
#1. Know Your Business Goal & Keywords
At the very outset you need to study your business model inside out. Sit down and churn out words, phrases which complement your product or service. These are keywords or hooks which people search. Now, a word of caution here; your keywords need to be in demand. Simply having a high page rank for a particular keyword which no one is actually searching for defeats the entire SEO task.
Remember, you need to capitalise on popular keywords which over a period of time will generate lots of organic traffic. This typically means increased customers. The game here is to narrow down a dozen keywords, and then research them. Your goal should be to select those keywords which are extremely popular or those which are mildly popular but have absolutely no competition. Either way you need to straighten your keyword strategy even before your website is built.
Know your strengths and weaknesses. Exploit the former with right tools. Your objective should be to turn your web asset into an authority over a certain timeline. This form of approach will assure a continuous rise in new as well as returning visitors.
#2. Standards Compliant Web Property
Building a standard compliant website means leaner code and faster loading pages. It also means fewer explanations or help tips. This allows you to concentrate on your main task; building customer base. Remember, not everyone is tech savvy or possess latest computing system. Standard compliant web asset will work on most OS, devices and browsers effectively ensuring you haven’t missed out people falling in this category. W3C compliant websites have no trouble in getting indexed by major search engines quickly, and without any hiccups. Proper indexing plays an important role from long term SEO point of view.
Design and navigation too needs to be looked into. Clean and open design typically allows visitors to digest information in a hassle free manner and forces further engagement. On the other hand an intelligent navigation makes the journey within the site a joy. It also offers signals to search engines about the site structure; a practice which can win long term appreciation.
Some of the other compelling rules one needs to follow here are as follows:
- Limit the number of H1 tag to one per page.
Optimise images in terms of size and description.
Use canonical URL’s in case of similar content/pages.
Normalisation of mark up.
Validate website code. This increases confidence of visitors.
#3. Compelling Meta Description
Apart from a standard compliant website you should also need to offer relevant and catchy page title. Meta description is yet another element which needs special attention. Remember, the length of these descriptions shouldn’t be more than 150-160 characters. A common reflection of both these attributes will be your keywords. However, this reflection should not end here. In fact your target keywords should run down the page and find its way in the heading tag and content.
By distributing keywords at various levels of web page, you are sending out positive signal to search engines. Your page will be appropriately positioned/ranked depending on how natural they appear. For users it simply means visiting a website/page which is informative, authentic and an authority. This kind of marriage makes everyone happy; typically the site owner, search engines and users. Site owners gain a lot from this. It improves the click through rate because of the compelling description which search engines display along with website URL on the results page.
However, the idea is to make sure the description is short and sweet because any extension beyond stipulated character limit will only chop off the residual or extra text matter.
#4. Content Creation
Search engines love content. However, it loves topical based, fresh, long subject matter even more. This typically means you need to update your website with new content frequently. One of the ways to achieve this is via blog or even a products page which can display comments or reviews. By inviting visitors you can keep page/s in limelight. This in turn attracts search engines who update the new additions with open arms.
Remember, the write-ups should be search engine optimized. Intersperse the matter with few keywords, long tail phrases, anchor text, etc. You need to make them appear as natural as possible. Search engines are smart. Blatant exploitation will mean penalty. You don’t want that to happen even before getting established.
A last piece of advice as far as the content goes; write copies for search engines as well as visitors through various mediums and platforms.
#5. Social Media
Now, this is one of the most important off-page optimising techniques. Have you written a new content, introduced new product or service or do you want to share an article relevant to your niche? Yes! Then social media is one platform you just cannot ignore. Exploit avenues such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, etc. Social media participation generates buzz around a product or brand quickly. Through shares, reviews, likes, comments and other elements you can quickly create quality back links or let your product go viral, especially via YouTube videos.
However, you need to make sure you harness this platform by sharing content and info graphics which are relevant to your field of specialisation and at the same time it contains your “researched” keywords. Social media therefore forms an integral part of SEO strategy.
#6. Building Quality External Links
Yet another off-page SEO strategy is to build quality, natural back links. These are basically signals to search engines about the authority you have in a particular segment; typically your niche. This is typically achieved via guest posts, thought provoking and insightful commenting on various forums and blogs and through author profile such as Google+. The impact of Google profile on page rank is no longer a secret. Make sure to incorporate Google+ authorship while strategising your content for SEO effort.
#7. Global or Local
When you set your goals make sure you give due attention to your target market. Are you looking for global presence or are you focussing on a small area; a city or a region. This typically depends on the type of product or service you are offering. You need to optimise your site accordingly. This simply means using appropriate keywords in your URL, title, content and blog. Localising your target audience typically offers better conversion rate and faster brand recognition because of reduced competition.
Although the impact quotient of sitemap is not high as far as SEO effort is concerned it is advisable to incorporate one in the website. A sitemap typically offers visitors and search engines a blue print of your entire site. The structure and internal linking helps robots index your web asset efficiently and correctly. Sitemap.xml file on the other hand can be submitted via Google webmaster tool to authenticate various URL’s and site’s content.
#9. Do not Antagonise Search Engine
This simply means refrain from black hat optimisation techniques and stick to Google best practices and procedures. Follow the above mentioned guidelines and offer compelling content and fast loading site instead of stuffing keywords or opting for link farming. Remember, SEO efforts are time consuming and slow. However, once you play by the rules the long term benefits are mind boggling.
Make sure you keep abreast of new SEO techniques, various changes made to Google algorithms and also update yourself with new technologies. It is the only way to stay on top and ahead of your competition.
So exploit the above tips religiously, keep in touch with new trends and reap the fruits for years to come.