Setting up a business and turning it into a successful venture has never been a simple task. The business world is known for being extremely competitive – an environment where only the toughest players can survive and thrive. In this respect, things have remained pretty much the same ever since people have started doing business. However, things have changed significantly over the years in many other aspects. We can say that the most important business battles are fought in the digital landscape.
This means that in the digital world of today having a strong online presence is no longer a recommendation, but a requirement. As an entrepreneur, you only have two options: you either bring your business online or you simply don’t exist. It’s safe to assume all entrepreneurs choose the first option. But a strong online presence goes way beyond building a performant website. That’s just one piece of the puzzle. A good website can only help you if people can actually find it. That’s where search engine optimization comes into play. Business owners must learn to master the art of SEO if they want to guarantee the success.
It sounds simple, but it’s not. In fact, SEO can be pretty complicated. Even if you know a thing or two about it, its an evolving field that keeps on changing. So what you knew a year or two ago might not be applicable today. Still, you’ve got to start somewhere. So, here’s a list of some of the most important SEO aspects you should consider if you want to brush up on your SEO knowledge and learn how to make it work for you.
Build your website with SEO in mind
A lot of startups and small businesses are simply not ready to invest in building an SEO strategy, and that’s understandable. When your time and money resources are limited, SEO might not be on your priority list. It doesn’t mean SEO should be ruled out of the picture. That’s why you should focus on building a website that will support SEO when you finally get to it.
If the site you’ve built becomes an obstacle to implementing SEO strategies, you might see yourself forced to create another website from scratch, meaning you’ll have to do the job all over again and spend a lot of money in the process. The benefits of SEO for businesses are plenty, but you’ve got to start with a solid foundation if you want to see great results.
SEO techniques can be separated into two categories: on-page and off-page. The first one refers to the techniques one implements directly on the website. So, any change you might do to your site in order to make it rank higher in search results falls within the on-page SEO category. There are many on-page optimization techniques entrepreneurs can employ to boost their website’s ranking. Creating meta descriptions for each web page, choosing the right keywords to include in your website’s content and improving page speed are probably the best-known on-page tactics and the ones that yield the best results.
As one can assume, off-page SEO includes all actions taken outside of your site that will have a positive impact on your search engine ranking. Most businesses focus on backlinks as the primary off-page SEO technique. Backlinks or link building refers to the practice of getting other websites to link back to yours. The more high-quality links you build, the more trustworthy your site will appear and your authority will increase. Basically, these backlinks tell search engines you know what you’re talking about and you’re a relevant source of information in your field, so you’ll be ranked higher in search results.
White hat vs. black hat
Not all SEO techniques are created the same. Some of them can even have negative effects on your website’s performance. In the beginning, SEO was like the Wild Wild West where everyone could employ whatever techniques they wanted. Nowadays, there are rules to the game, so we have white hat SEO – the techniques that search engines approve of and encourage us to use such as quality content, improving UX – and black hat SEO – techniques search engines frown upon and penalize websites for using them like keyword stuffing, link buying or clickbait.
If a while ago, packing your website’s content with keywords used to work like a charm for optimization purposes, now search engines have gotten smarter and they no longer reward you for this practice. Instead, they prioritize fresh and original content as one of the best methods for improving rankings. Providing quality content should become your main focus if you want your site to appear higher in search results and attract more visitors.
Some might choose to update their content every once in a while, but that’s not as effective as creating brand new content. Of course, it’s not easy to come up with new ideas all the time. So if you ever feel uninspired, here are a few suggestions that might help you: how-to articles, listicles, video content, or infographics. Try to address subjects that are relevant for your target audience and create content that people will find both engaging and useful.
Even if you nail your SEO strategy, you shouldn’t expect to see results overnight. If you have such high expectations, you might believe your SEO efforts were for nothing. You might think you’ve failed to implement the right SEO tactics. But SEO doesn’t work like that. You must remember that SEO is a long-term process that provides long-term results if done right. Consistency is key if you want to see any benefits. So don’t be surprised if there aren’t any noticeable changes in the beginning. Be patient and keep working until you achieve your goals and then continue working to maintain these results.