During my summer internship at Converge Direct, I was immediately introduced the SEO Best Practices. I had little experience with Search Engine Optimization, since I had only taken one marketing class. In my first few weeks here, my brain was inundated with SEO information. While it was all new and sometimes overwhelming, it was also so interesting to learn. As a member of the millennial generation, it is crucial to understand the functions of the internet and how to use it to my advantage. My internship familiarized me with best practices, not only by reading about them but by seeing them put into action by my mentors.
Having worked in SEO for a couple of months now, I’ve come up with my own best practices; a simplified ‘SEO Best Practices for Dummies,’ if you will. While I consider myself no expert on all parts of SEO, I can certainly shed some light on the basic and most essential principles needed to succeed.
Take Full Advantage of Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Instagram can be a brand’s best tool set. But simply having a page is not enough; in order to build your followership, you must post quality content on a regular basis, engaging consumers and grabbing their attention. As a Facebook user, I’m not going to ‘follow’ or ‘like’ a page if it’s inactive; the point of following a brand is to receive updates about their products and services. Brands need to give their pages ‘follow value.’ As aforementioned, quality content is key; a brand posting worthless updates and links will not attract followers. Brands that provide unique, interesting, and relevant content to followers are one step closer to building their brand.
Also imperative in social media is following and engaging with followers; people want to feel noticed, and favoriting or retweeting brings users that feeling of significance. When a follower posts a question or comment, respond to it in a way that not only provides an appropriate response but also encourages the user to continue engaging with your brand. When my favorite brand responds to my tweet, I feel important and continue to follow them out of respect for their friendly action.
Build Your Authorship
Sadly, it’s no longer enough to publish content onto your blog or website and hope that people believe you to be an authority. Google Authorship allows you to link your Google+ profile to your content; this way, when someone searches your name or article title, your profile also appears in the search results. The more ‘+1’s’ you have, the better; a ‘+1’ means that people like you and/or your content, which contributes to your reputability. How can you build your authorship? First, build a presence. Publish high-quality content, comment on and ‘like’ the posts of other authors, and get generally noticed. After you’ve built a presence, focus on developing your community of followers who trust you as an information source. This can be done by interacting on social forums, commenting and liking posts, and having a strong online presence. Finally, focus on promoting your quality content and maintaining your followership. Invite reliable guest bloggers to contribute content to your site; by doing this, both you and your guest blogger will share content that links back to your website.
Be Google-Friendly but Don’t Be Afraid to Push the Boundaries
As we’ve mentioned, Google is not afraid to penalize websites that break its rules. PageRanks and search visibility can be dropped, and Google occasionally charges fines to companies that don’t know how to ‘play Google.’ While it’s important to stick to Google’s guidelines, pushing the boundaries can lead to success. Google might penalize you for blogging about the newest summer sandals if you’re a beauty blog. The key to avoiding penalties is connecting your subject area to what’s trending at the moment. As we mentioned in our last blog post, Trident did this flawlessly. Pushing the boundaries can often lead to success; however, beware the risks.
Know your Client and Audience
A crucial element to a successful content-based website is knowing your audience. Know what they like versus what they dislike so that you can best provide them with interesting content. If you publish a cooking blog, you may not want to post about power tools, as that’s not what your audience in interested n and you risk losing followers. Get to know your client by studying your website statistics to examine what links they are clicking, which posts fare best, and from where and when clients visit your website.
Know Your Keywords
Which words attract consumers to your website? In terms of SEO, keywords are more important when it comes to search engines than consumers. Google crawls your page and picks out words that identify what you’re writing about. This allows Google to make your page appear as a search result for a user. For example: if you write a blog post about summer barbecue recipes, be sure to write summer and barbecue a number of times in the article. This way, Google can pick out the keywords and bold them in the title and Meta tags when displaying search results for users. When a user then searches ‘summer barbecue recipes,’ your page will be displayed at the top because of the keyword matches.
While SEO in layman’s terms may not be technical or ground-breaking, it sums up a number of SEO fundamentals. Whether you are an SEO manager, PPC associate, or a blog owner, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of what search engine optimization is all about. With these basic lessons that I have learned in my time at Converge Direct, I hope to better market myself as I enter my senior year of college and begin applying to future jobs.