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The Basics of SEO Marketing Check out these tips and tools to bring your website to the top of search

In the digital age, it’s becoming increasingly important to make sure your brand or business is highly visible. And while Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are great for promoting events and content, nothing can match the power of an effective, rich website.

But being at the top of search results can be tricky. For one thing, not all search engines treat websites the same. Google has a super secret algorithm it uses to determine the placement of every site on the web. Other companies like Bing and Yahoo have similar methods but also have nuances that set them apart. So, just keeping up with the changing landscape is time consuming and costly. Secondly, optimizing your site for search takes time and careful planning. It can’t be done overnight, and there’s never a “quick fix.”

However, just knowing a few search engine optimization (SEO) tips can do wonders for your web presence. If you can “open the hood” of your site and take a look at the code and the content, you can be well on your way to build your reputation with search companies. You can learn more about it through tricks and tips to start getting the SEO ball rolling for your site!

1. Learn some common jargon

The world of SEO is as deep as it is wide. There are many terms, phrases and ideas you will hear about how to optimize your site for the web. One of the best resources you or your company may use is the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. Much like the Periodic Table of Elements you learned about in chemistry class, this infographic is vital to understanding the foundations of SEO.

As you can see in the graph, certain factors such as the quality of your content, whether or not your site is mobile friendly, and even the words you use in the headers of your site can seriously help your results. Likewise, if you have ads on your site, or if you got hacked and your site is full of spammy content or pop-ups, some factors can negatively impact your SEO.

One of the main take-aways from the chart is to know the difference between “On-The-Page SEO” and Off-The-Page SEO”. Taking time to ensure your content is of utmost quality, that you are using the most recent versions of HTML and CSS and updating your code to make it mobile friendly obviously constitute as “On-The-Page”. These are easier to control in the here and now. However, more strategic and long-term techniques involve your “Off-The-Page” routine. Your reputation, for example, is not built overnight. Neither is a strong collection of backlinks. This is where the time and effort really comes in.

2. Build a routine around SEO

SEO is not a one-step process. Because algorithms and technology constantly change, a solid SEO plan will require you to stay up to date and regularly work on your site and content. Take a look at the graph below from Fox Valley web design, for example:

Starting with the first step, Fox Valley has a regular cycle of analyzing, optimizing, changing and reporting as the company evaluate its SEO effectiveness. Even if you don’t understand what each of these steps are, that’s ok. There are plenty of blog posts and tutorials on the web that dive down to each particular component of a strong SEO strategy. The point is, it’s important for your brand and business to check up on your SEO regularly — just like tuning up a car or cleaning the house. Find out what’s working and what’s not, and adjust accordingly. The best place to start is to install Google Analytics and begin tracking your users.

3. Make some quick fixes

While many of the SEO techniques take time and strategy, there are a few things you can do right now to help your placement in search. Here are a few:

  • Page URL Structure: Be sure your URL is clean and simple. Often, when indexing sites, Google will look at the actual words in your web address. So, a website with numbers, letters and characters that don’t form complete words will not get ranked as highly as a site with relevant words. Many content management systems such as WordPress and search volume checker offer a simple way to clean up your URLs through settings.
  • Page Load Speed: Sites that take longer to load will not only deter your users, but they won’t get ranked as highly. Search companies only want to serve up content that is quick and efficient. Often, large images that haven’t been optimized for the web take up too much space. Lighten the load by changing the resolution to around 72ppi and changing the width and height in simple photo editors like Pixlr. To analyze your site’s speed performance, check out Google’s PageSpeed site. It will even offer you tips on what you need to change.
  • Mobile FriendlinessThis might not be a “quick” fix, but it’s definitely doable. Ensuring your website is mobile friendly is a must in the age of tablets, smartphones and laptops. Your site should look good on multiple browsers and platforms, and if it doesn’t, there’s a good chance it could get buried in search results. Update your code with the many resources, responsive frameworks and tutorials out there. If you’re looking for a quick fix, and you use WordPress, there are countless free and premium themes that would make your site responsive and mobile-friendly in a snap.

If you or your business needs any help with SEO marketing, building a new mobile-friendly websites or need help with your content creation, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Jon Zmikly

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