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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a term anyone with a website knows but most don’t understand what it entails. Unless you know your way around the backend of a website and how to install and analyze analytic tools, you’ll need some help. Here’s a primer so you know how to “speak the language” when hiring someone or setting out on a do-it-yourself mission.

Step One Identify the most critical keyword phrases that pertain to your services or products

Brainstorm two to four word phrases that describe what you sell. It’s a good idea to shoot for 10 really tight phrases or words and not to exceed 20. Don’t worry at first about the name of your city(s). You’ll get to the geo-targeting later.

According to Moz (an inbound marketing and SEO software company), “Ranking for the “right” keywords can make or break your website. Through the detective work of puzzling out your market’s keyword demand, you not only learn which terms and phrases to target with SEO, but also learn more about your customers as a whole.”

With the help of an SEO professional you’ll pare down the list based on relevance and search volume. You can sign-up for Google Adwords Keyword Planner and do your own research too.

Step Two Analyze your existing web pages for content that supports your keyword phrases

Write content that supports your keyword phrases for every page. Add new pages where needed. Some of the new pages will target a keyword phrase + your city(s). Remember to make your content valuable, not just salesy.

Step Three Optimize every page on your website

This step really needs the help of a competent SEO professional, but you can give it a try. You’ll want to optimize the Title Tag, Description Tag, URL, and Header-Tags on each page. Make sure there is a clear connection between the optimization efforts and the keyword phrase for each page.

Step Four Geo-Target your website

Google Local rewards local connections to your site. Your home page and About Us page should reference the geographic area(s). Don’t forget to put your company address in the footer of all pages.

Step Five Link everything to your home page

Every SEO page you create needs to link to the home page of the site. Internal Links interconnect all the pages within your website. This improves user navigation, establishes an information hierarchy, and improves the ranking power of your site.

Step Six Go Google + you and the business

Create and optimize a Google+ profile for you and a Google+ listing for the business. Add the authorship and publisher tags to the pages on the website that links the content to the Google+ accounts. This will get your picture/logo to display with your page’s listing on a search results page.

Step Seven Build an XML sitemap and submit to webmaster tools

All of this work so far is designed to attract search engines crawlers or spiders to your website and find the good stuff you want people to explore and act on, hopefully. An SEO professional will be able to handle this for you quickly.

This step involves updating an XML sitemap and submitting it to Google and Bing webmaster tools.

Step Eight Create and post great content regularly

Great content is video, articles, blogs that provide searchers what they are looking for, or better yet more than they were looking for. Companies with a blog see more traffic to websites and conversions than those who do not.

Your content should be helpful. Let people know what you do, but don’t hard sell in the blog or video arena. Case studies and white papers are also brilliant for posting to a website as a free PDF download. Ask for an email in return and you’ve got the basis of a database full of people that found your site helpful.

Plan to post three times a week (at least once). This will likely only happen if you create a pipeline of topics and set aside time in your weekly schedule to write or produce information that educates, informs, and entertains your audience.

How much time and money will it take to maximize my website?

A basic website should have around five main areas: home, about, blog/resources, contact, pricing/products. You will want a page for each keyword phrase as well. Working with an example of ten keyword phrases, that gives you 15 pages.

A professional SEO expert should be able to execute the technical part in about 25 hours. If you seek help with keyword phrase identification and content writing, expect 30 hours. A decent web designer would need 30 hours too, if you are looking for a new site.

You can reasonable expect to invest in 85 to 90 hours of professional time to make your website truly work starting from scratch.

How long before I see results?

Return on investment is vital. You must believe that the money and time you invest in building a site will translate to sales, business, donations, etc. Anticipate two months to get everything in place and another month to see new traffic trickle in. It takes at least that long for the search engines to find you.

 West 65 Inc. is here to help you with any phase of your content writing, from keyword identification to posting regular, relevant content that brings the right people to your site. Call us at 336-596-7514 or Contact us here by email.