Trying to get traffic to your website without a solid plan is a bit like driving around with a vague destination in mind, but no directions on how to get there. You may eventually make your way to where you want to be, but it will take a lot longer and require more effort than if you had your route mapped out. The same holds true with website traffic in general, and search engine optimization in particular. With a solid SEO strategy, you will have a goal in mind, and a plan for what to do to get there. Even if you’re new to SEO (search engine optimization) and you don’t quite understand what it will take to get a certain keyword ranking, or even what a realistic keyword goal is for you, it’s good to have a plan. You can always tweak and adjust both your plan and your strategy as you go along.
When you have a workable strategy with defined goals, and a way to track the results you are getting over time, it becomes easy to determine if your strategy is working. Without either of those, you’re guessing at best, and that’s not a good business practice. Search engine optimization takes time and effort. And if you’re hiring someone to help you, it can involve quite a bit of money.
So where do you start? Learn the basics of how SEO works. Set up a good Website Analytics program so you can start to measure what traffic you’re getting now and where new traffic is coming from. Google Analytics is a great program that will grow with you. Install it, look through the reports, start to learn to use it and expand your knowledge as you go along.
Your next step will be to formulate a strategy. This should be a five-step process that includes:
1. Determine your ideal target audience.
2. Figure out what they are looking for and what keywords and key phrases they use.
3. Generate high-value content around those terms.
4. Implement on page and on site optimization.
5. Track results and adjust as needed.
From there you can expand on what’s working, identify more audiences, more terms, and create more content, and slow down on what isn’t working. One important thing to keep in mind is that search engine optimization takes time and that you’re building your site’s reputation with the big search engines over time. Don’t give up on your strategy too soon and whatever you do, don’t throw in the towel.
Keywords – A Glimpse Into What Your Target Audience Wants And Needs
Let’s talk about keywords. These are the words your target audience types into their favorite search engine (think Google), to look for more information on topics you can help them with. It’s the cornerstone of any SEO strategy.
Build a Solid SEO Strategy with Keywords and Key Phrases
Before we go any further, I think it is important to note that we’re not talking about single words here. You’re not going to rank for “butter” for example, even if you are a dairy farmer and that’s what your customers are looking for. Instead, what you want to go after are longer key phrases that give you a good indication of what your people are looking for.
For example, let’s say you are a small dairy farmer who sells fresh milk at the farmers market and you’ve been hearing people say they are interested in figuring out how to make butter. A key phrase you may want to look at for a blog post or informative article could be “how to make butter at home with fresh milk” or something along those lines.
If I’m blogging about SEO and trying to find people interested in a training program or a short guide to help them find out what their customers and readers are looking for, I may use a phrase like “best way to find targeted keywords” or even “how to discover what people are searching for online.”
How To Find These Keywords
The next question is of course where you find those keywords. How can you find out what your target audience is typing into their favorite search engine? It starts with a guess. I hope you know enough about your topic and niche of choice to come up with a list of several words and phrases that you think your readers may be using. From there you have options. One of your best and free tools is Google. Start to enter one of your keywords and see what the autofill options are. Play with different terms and start making a list. Once you have that list, search each term and scroll down to the bottom of the first search results page. You will see a list of related searches.
Add those to your list of keywords and key phrases and choose several that make sense for you and the type of content you want to create.
Another option is to use a keyword tool. If you use Google AdWords, or have at least an AdWords account, you can use Google’s free tool which gives you quite a bit of information on search volume and the likes. Other paid keyword tools are also available.
What To Do With Keywords
Use your keywords and key phrases where it makes sense in the title and content of your blog posts, articles, video descriptions, and the likes. Don’t force it. Always write for your reader first, search engine second. If you can use it in the title, and definitely use it within your content, multiple times or several variations of your main keyword within the content depending on length. Don’t overdo it, but help both your readers and the search engines see what your content is about.
Internal linking with something referred to as “anchor text” is important as well. You’ll want some links from other pages of your own site pointing to this new content. This will help search engine spiders crawl the new stuff and start to index it. If you are using a content management system like WordPress, a lot of this internal linking is already taken care of. Your new post will show up on your home page, in the sidebar and on various category and archive pages.
To give your post a little extra boost and to start driving traffic to it, go find two or three related blog posts or articles you’ve written. Scan the content and work a mention of the new blog post in where it makes sense. This could be as simple as “Another way to get free traffic is to optimize your content for search engines. Read this article on SEO Fundamentals to get started”. In this case we would use SEO Fundamentals as the link text since it’s the term we want to rank for.
My goal is to share as much as possible with you in terms of building a solid SEO strategy and SEO tips so that your business will grow exponentially in a short period of time. Reach out to me if you have more questions on this or on anything regarding online entrepreneurship.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and my goal is to connect with you if you have more than just a passing interest in getting started with an online business. I most recently released Really Simple SEO Tips and Keywords for Beginners and this is an excellent place to begin. Please take a look while it’s still at its introductory pricing.