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Basic SEO Steps For All Business Owners

"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." ~Thomas Jefferson

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SEO has become this “buzzword” and an entity all its own. Anytime money is to be made, money is to be spent. In the case of SEO, businesses all over the world are wasting millions of dollars trying to figure out a system to trick Google to love them. I can tell when a small business is in trouble when I see that they have posted an advertisement for an “SEO Specialist.”

There are a lot of “SEO Articles” out there, but none of them start at the beginning and I wanted to make things easy to understand.

A few basic terms:

-PR1-10: PR stands for “Page Rank.” Google determines this number. The higher the PR number, the higher value it is in Google’s estimation. That said, in the Google algorithm it does not necessarily mean a higher page rank will outrank a lower page rank. Relevance is weighted as well.

-Backlinks: Pages that are not your own that have a link to your website. If people click on that link, it takes them to your website.

-Do Follow Backlinks: More powerful backlinks

-Do Not Follow Backlinks: Less powerful backlinks

-Anchor Text: Specific Text that is highlighted. That text, when clicked on, links back to your website.

-Key Words: Words and phrases people would put into Google to get to you.

-Long tail keywords: search terms that are longer. The more words that are used, usually the less competitive those search terms are and the easier they are to score well with Google. For example, the word "mortgage" has 544,000,000 results returned on Google. If you're starting out today that is NOT the word you want to go after.

For all those who have SEO on their mind and in their wallets, this article is for you.

1) The first rule for SEO is to accept that Google is smarter than you. Google updates their algorithm often, and has been moving rapidly towards rewarding companies with great websites and unique content and punishing those who try to manipulate the system. More on this later.

2) SEO starts when you choose your company name and domain. When you Google your company name, you can tell if you have a good name for SEO by how many results come back. A simple rule of thumb: If a lot of responses come back, it will be hard to optimize that name. If minimal responses come back, you have a good name.

3) Put up a high quality site with text content and multiple pages. If your website is all Flash, it may look cool to you but Google can’t read it. If your text is embedded on pretty pictures, Google can’t read it. If your website has one or two pages, it’s inherently not considered high quality. The more pages, the more inherently valuable Google considers your site (not the only criteria).

4) Do basic on-page optimization:

a) The title of each web page is called a “title tag.” Google heavily weighs title tags. Name the pages appropriately, and keep in mind these will be used by Google to index your web pages for customer searches.

b) Meta description tags attract visitors from the search results page. Include 1-2 keywords or phrases that describe the page’s content.

c) The H1 tag is the page header.

d) Use the page’s designated keyword phrase at least once near the beginning of the content, and also anywhere it makes sense. Don’t overuse these keyword phrases.

e) Alt tags are the floating descriptions that show up when you hover the mouse over an image.

5) When you write your text, don’t go out of your way to add keywords to every section. Write your text for the website for your customers, NOT for you SEO. What good is having people come to your website through a search engine if none of those leads convert?

6) Set up a blog. If writing is not your strength, hire a writer, not an “SEO specialist.”

7) Get your company listed in all the local directories. People shop for things in local directories. You can do it manually or through a company like Yext.Com

8) Set up pages on all the social media sites you can. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. All of these will help your Website tremendously.

9) Spend the time to do multiple company write-ups on all of these sites. You do want people to click through to you, right?

10) Anywhere people shop, set up an account for your company/product. Yelp.com is an obvious website to set your company up on.

11) Press releases. If you have anything that needs to be announced, pay the $200 to announce it. Hundreds of reputable websites will link back to your Website. This is an easy and effective way to get exposure for your company/product and develop natural backlinks.

12) Index your site to Google directly. Google’s spiders will get to you, but it is helpful if you index your site directly.

So now you have your basics set up. It’s time to move on to the next step.

1) Identify key words. You can use tools from Google ad words to identify key words people use to search for products and services like yours.

This is an example of a key word we identified for Texting Base:

Personalized Messaging

If you click of each one of that link, you will see that they each go to a page where it is relevant to the title. The reason is that Google now reads this site as more interesting because more than one page has been linked back to. You want the anchor text to match the subject to the page itself or it won’t be deemed as relevant. If it is not done correctly, you can and will be punished.

Here is an example from Google itself on how anchor text can be punished:

There are many "wedding rings" on the market. If you want to have a "wedding", you will have to pick the "best ring". You will also need to "buy flowers" and a "wedding dress."

If you were to anchor text everything in apostrophes, that might get you in trouble.

Here are so important things from GOOGLE to take note of as you start thinking SEO

2) Start writing relevant content. The most powerful thing you can do is to create interesting content that people will follow, repost or link back to. These natural words, links and buzz will be rewarded by Google to allow your site to organically move up the rankings.

3) Use this formula to anchor Text back to Websites. <a href="insert link here">insert desired Text</a>. Don't over use it or you will be punished.

4) Stay involved in social media. Believe it or not, Google tracks likes/shares and activity and rewards companies that are active on social media (not just Google+)

5) Answer customer questions with online questions on your blog. This is a great way to communicate to potential customers, create original content and organic SEO.

6) As you add backlinks, go for quality over quantity. A lot of poor links can hurt sometimes. One good backlink is worth more than a bunch of poor backlinks.

7) Use videos. Videos are very valuable SEO tools. Don’t just submit to Youtube. Submit to AOL, Vimeo, Metacafe, MSN and Yahoo (for example).

8) Add viral links to all of your videos and blogs so people can share. Make it easy for people to share!

9) Diversify to include news, video, audio and other types of contents. The more dynamic your website is, the more likely it is to attract an audience.

10) Use analytics. Google analytics is a free tool but there are others as well. Monitor your traffic, run A/B tests and determine which tactics are best for your conversion ratios. At the end of the day, the thing you care most about are conversions!

Let me summarize this with a very simple concept. SEO is not about paying people to do work for you (unless writing is not your strength). SEO is an art but primarily revolves around your online reputation, your backlinks, your text and your online popularity. No matter what you do, assume Google has seen it before and that they are smarter than you are. If you think you came up with a new trick, quickly stop and realize Google has likely seen it before.

Focus on quality content (and a lot of it) as your primary SEO goal and you will be handsomely rewarded in time. SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. As CEO, I spent roughly 20% of my time writing content and developing relationships. If you do the right things and focus on quality, you will do well.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Beans

Eric Beans is CEO of Texting Base, Inc., out of Orlando, Florida. Texting Base is a cloud-based software that adds efficiency and power to business texting communications. Combining the efficiency of a “mass text” and the effectiveness of a personal text message, Texting Base uses patent pending software to allow businesses to build relationships with their customers like never before. Prior to Texting Base, Eric Beans owned Premier Mortgage Capital, Inc., a nationwide state charted mortgage company and helped to start TechSpan, a global IT consulting company.

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