I'm hearing from a lot of clients right now who are asking, "Are there some simple steps I can take right now that will help me grow my business in 2010?"
Yes. One of the best things you can do right now is make sure your website is super search engine friendly.
I know just enough about search engine optimization to be dangerous. But I thought I'd bring in an expert instead to give you some great ideas on specific steps you can take to make your website or blog more search engine friendly.
Michelle Strassburg has 10 years experience managing online marketing. She has this to say about current best practices:
While there are many ways to drive web traffic to your business such as affiliate marketing, paid ads and even guest blog posts, natural traffic from the search engines will always prevail over others because of the sheer amount of customers using the search engines. In this post I am looking to highlight some of the less known search engine optimization techniques which became popular in recent months and how your business should react to changes in the search engine ranking algorithm.
5 tips for improving your natural search engine rankings
1. Getting the right keywords is more important than ever – Keywords have always been an important factor in the ranking matrix. Where previously to find the right keywords you had to guess or purchase an expensive software product for this, today Google is offering a few fantastic tools to help you do just that. The first and my favorite is keyword trends which will demonstrate if a particular term is becoming more popular or less popular. While the second is an actual keyword tool which as the name suggests will help you find the right keywords.
2. Supporting multiple browsers is essential – Just a few years ago the market was dominated by Microsoft Explorer, but nowadays there are other alternatives which some of your customers might be using. Google Chrome and Firefox are becoming more mainstream and therefore your website must support those browsers. But how can I test them all you ask? Good question. Thankfully there's a free service from Browser Shot which will allow you to test your site using various virtual browsers.
3. Use internal linking more to help the engines – For many online businesses, especially those with many products or services the hurdle might be getting all their pages into the search engine index. One of the ways to achieve this is to upload a site map and hope that the search engine will find it. Another great technique which is also very useful for web users is to interlink between related products or services assuming that if the engine found one page, it will also find other pages which have been linked to from that page. The engines are looking to ensure their spiders consume less resources when trying to find content, therefore by pointing them in the right direction this change might effect your ranking for the better.
4. Loading times are becoming important – Google recently announced that the speed in which a page is loading will become an important factor in calculating the ranking potential of a website. To test how quickly (or not) your website is loading and to fix potential problems effecting its speed, try the free Web Page Analyzer tool. Besides the search engine optimization factor, making your website load quicker will improve user experience resulting in more business.
5. Turn your website into a social magnet – In recent years the search engines have started placing more weight on how popular a website is amongst the social landscape. Yahoo started this year to display links from the social bookmarking site del.icio.us within its search results, while Google might soon display twitter feeds within its search results. To increase your social potential consider embedding a social bookmarking button such as AddThis across your pages, encourage reviews from customers and actively engage with your customers on social networks.
Holly: Thanks to Michelle Strassburg for these great tips.