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5 Easy SEO Practices You Can Do Yourself

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be intimidating. Experts in SEO tend to be technical and conversant in a maddeningly arcane subject.  However, while SEO can indeed be challenging, a lot of it is fairly easy to do yourself. This article shares 5 ways.

One basic point to underscore here: you may need some expert guidance to get started with these practices, but we don’t believe it is necessary to have an SEO agency on retainer.  We do believe it can be very helpful to have an expert get you started in the right direction.

  1. Discover your keywords and align them with your marketing message, common sense and the English language—People will use keywords on Google to look for whatever it is that you sell. To appear high enough in the search rankings to get their business, you will have to master some basics of keyword research. This is an area where an outside expert can be useful at the outset. They often have specialized keyword analysis tools that enable them to identify the keywords and key phases that best fit your business. After that, it’s up to you to determine which words are best.

    Typically, they look for keywords with high search volumes but relatively low competition. For instance, if you sell life insurance, it will be nearly impossible to rank for “life insurance” on Google. It’s way too competitive. However, a keyword researcher might identity key phrases and “long tail” variations on “Life Insurance” that you can work with, e.g. “Life insurance for men with diabetes,” and so forth.

    One challenge that arises, however, has to do with aligning ostensibly good keywords with what you actually want to say about your business. Overly analytical and quantitative keyword research can suggest keywords that are meaningless for your business. You might run a bakery for diabetics, but an expert might recommend “sweet cakes” as the best keyword for you. Similarly, key phrases often don’t work in written English. Like, your keyword researcher might tell you that the best phrase for your business is “diet baker Baltimore.” That’s great, but try using that in a meaningful and grammatically correct sentence. Some flexibility and imagination are required for success.
  2. Perform on-page SEO—Google reads your web pages and analyzes every element with excruciating care. There are certain “on-page” SEO practices that can help you get as good a score from Google as possible. These include things like putting your keyword in the headline (H1), repeating it in the body copy and so forth. If you use WordPress, the free Yoast plugin will tell you exactly how well you’re doing and suggest changes that will make your page more SEO-friendly.
  3. Research your competition—You’re not alone in your category, a reality the Internet has driven home more than most would want to admit. The good news, though, is that you can get an instant look at how your competitors are approaching SEO. You can see the keywords they are using and ranking for. If they’re getting better results than you, feel free to use their approach.
  4. Focus on local SEO, if your customers are local—If you are a local business, then you will want to learn how to do local SEO. It’s different from national SEO. Localizing SEO can also be somewhat easier, as you are not usually competing with the deep pockets of the big firms. Local phrasing is important, including local terms for what you do. For example, people in your town might say they want to take their car to a “filling station” versus a “gas station”—leverage those local nuances to your advantage in SEO. Bonus tip: Google map links are good for local SEO.
  5. Get familiar with Google Analytics—It’s a wise practice to get in the regular habit of reviewing your Google Analytics. This free service will tell you exactly what’s happening with your pages in terms of unique visitors, time spent on the site and more. It’s a good start for improving your SEO practices. If viewing your Google Analytics overwhelms you, we can recommend other equally valuable tools that are easier to understand and view.

SEO doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. You will probably need some outside help in the beginning, which will require spending money. However, you can do the leg work yourself once you have expert guidance in hand. To learn more about SEO and how web design and SEO work together to bring you business, contact us for a free consultation.

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