by Karen Scharf
Improve your SEO without spending a lot of money.
The task of search engine optimization for your website can seem overwhelming at times. You have enough work to do just running your small business, so it's easy to put SEO at the bottom of your priority list.
However, without proper search engine optimization, your website is very unlikely to be much of a success. This can mean the money and time that you spent getting your website designed and developed becomes wasted.
There are several ways that you can improve your SEO without spending tons of time or tons of money. Here are 10 of the quickest and most affordable SEO tips out there.
1. Submit to Search Engines
You want to make sure that your website has been submitted to search engines. SEO is all about optimizing your position in various search engines, but this is only relevant if you are actually listed in the search engines. When your website is brand new and it has no incoming links yet, it can be difficult for the spiders to find it, so it's a good idea to hand submit your site to the search engine.
2. Clean up Your Site
Make sure your website is organized and clear. It is especially important to clean up any dead links. Fix any errors that may appear on your site and double check to make sure your entire site's html is up to par. There are online services that can help you do this. Since search engines primarily work and rank websites through the use of robots it is important to make sure all of the technical aspects of your website are in good working order. This helps ensure that the robots can quickly and freely crawl through your site and they won't encounter any errors or roadblocks that force them to abandon your site too soon.
3. Use Good Keyphrases
If you're trying to optimize your brand new website for a single keyword, you'll be fighting an uphill battle. Try longtail keyword phrases instead (a phrase that is four words or longer) because they are less competitive and easier to get started with. Be sure to research the phrases that your target market is actually searching for, and then do the competitive research to ensure that you actually have a chance of ranking for those phrases.
4. Create Good URLs
Creating readable URLs is especially important if you're using a content management system or otherwise generating dynamic URLs. While evidence suggests that Google's new algorithm does not apply much weight to keyword rich URLs, other search engines do. And since it's such an easy step to create relevant URLs, it's worth the few seconds of extra time it might take, if only to make it easier on your human site visitors. Make sure that your URLs are indicative of the kind of information that your visitors will encounter on that page.
5. Improve your Title Tags
Title tags are still an important aspect of search engine placement, and since they are so extremely easy to update this is a step that definitely needs to be included in your affordable SEO plan. Make sure that your title tags are keyword rich and appropriate to the subject matter of the particular web page. And make sure you use a unique title tag on each and every page in your site.
6. Check your ALT Tags
Make sure that your alt tags are clear and keyword rich. While Google does not take into account alt tag text for ranking purposes, some other search engines still do. But the key issue to keep in mind with alt tags is that they are meant for usability. They are designed to aid website visitors with visual impairments navigate through your site and understand all of your content. While Google may not take the content of the tag into account, it couldn't hurt to show Google that you are running a professional website that caters to all users.
7. Get Backlinks
Getting relevant links coming into your website can be tedious and time consuming. So this isn't exactly considered a "quick tip". But there are a few things you can do to help speed up your link building program. First, take advantage of industry groups or trade associations that you belong to. They usually have online directories where you can include a link to your website in your membership profile. Join a forum that is related to your niche and include your website address in your profile and signature.
Submit a press release announcing the publication of your new site and include a link to your URL. Keep in mind that none of these are considered "high value" incoming links, but they are all quick and easy ways to get your linking program off the ground.
8. Create and Update Regularly
Keep your website or blog fresh and relevant. You don't have to go overboard, but be sure to make small updates regularly. This ensures that the search engine spiders will return often. Use unique content, avoid private label right articles, and keep information as current as possible.
9. Generate a Site Map
Creating an XML sitemap makes it easier for the search engine bots to crawl through and navigate your website. This is especially true if your site is rich in script and flash. The structure of your sitemap does matter, so if you're not sure how to create one, check with your webmaster. Chances are, he or she will have software that will simplify the process.
10. Use Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are quickly becoming the new search engines. Make sure you are adequately represented on sites like these. Set up a page for your company and post regularly. Have friends, family, customers and fans sign up for your page and encourage them to advertise to their friends, family, clients, and fans. This is a great way to build up your reputation and yet another way to quickly multiply reputable backlinks to your page.
Search engine optimization can be intimidating for many small business owners, and it's true that a full-fledged optimization program will take time. But by following these quick and easy steps, you'll be able to create an affordable SEO program that gets your new website off the ground in no time.
Karen Scharf is a small business marketing consultant who helps small business owners attract and retain more clients. Karen coaches and trains website owners on various tricks and techniques that have been proven to increase website conversion. She offers coaching programs and a Marketing Makeover to turn your ineffective advertising into a profit-pulling system. ModernImage.com
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