Frankly for anyone just getting started in SEO I have nothing but sympathy – it must seem a terribly daunting place.
It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in some of the niche problem areas of SEO and either take your eyes off the big picture, or forget that every single day there are new entrepreneurs and businesses coming online looking around at the whole world of SEO for the first time.
The truth is that I believe the world of SEO and online marketing is actually a lot less daunting than it was a few years ago. Yes, you read that right – I think SEO is easier now than it has been for ages. But why?
Granted, there are more social networking sites than ever before, there are more major search engines than before, more ways of finding information, and every day Google alone rolls out new updates to its already hugely complicated algorithms. Every day, every hour, there are thousands more websites and blogs launched, all clamouring for attention and competing for visibility in the search results.
For a new business carrying out a cursory search of its industry it can be depressing to see that there are several million websites already ranked, making it feel as though it could be years before anyone even finds your site.
Yet Despite All Of This I Still Firmly Believe That It Is Now Easier To Get Started With SEO Than It Has Been For A Long Time.
For a business with an established online presence and a website which has been ranked at a certain position fairly consistently for some time the challenge of trying to increase that position even by one place can certainly be convoluted, involved and horribly complex. But for a business that’s just starting out and is hoping to make some progress in the world of SEO there are some pretty easy fundamental principles to run with. The more complicated stuff can wait.
I think that years ago many people were put off starting the whole SEO game because of the complicated rules and procedures people were throwing about. It seems as though it wasn’t possible to even write a simple blog post without crafting it in a certain way such that carefully researched keyword phrases were positioned in precisely the right locations for algorithmic success. You couldn’t just write for your audience. Perish the idea.
But today the search engines have got very much smarter, and are able to analyse websites and their content in a way which much more closely approximates the way real people do. This means that if you write for real people the whole task gets a lot easier.
So For A New Business Just Starting Out In The World Of SEO, What Advice Would I Give?
1. Choosing a domain name.
Of course, you may already be stuck with this, and you may just want to go with your business’s name. But if at all possible try to choose a domain name which incorporates at least a partial keyword somewhere. Hyphenated domain names are fine – both Google and real people will identify the individual words a little easier.
So if your business is simply called ‘Bloggs & Co’ buying the domain name ‘bloggs-and-co.co.uk’ isn’t going to achieve a great deal of benefit in terms of SEO. However, if your business repairs shoes, then you may prefer to go for ‘bloggs-shoe-repairs.co.uk’. If your business only works locally within the town of Rankton then you may even go for ‘rankton-shoe-repairs.co.uk’, which will really help give your site a quick boost in terms of local SEO. But don’t use more than 2 hyphens, this will look spammy!
2. Focus on longtail keywords rather than the most obvious ones.
Granted, this won’t necessarily help you get your site ranked high for the most popular keyword searches, but that’s not really the point. For most new businesses the important benefit is gaining quality traffic, and longtail keywords will help achieve this much more quickly and easily.
So what is a longtail keyword?
Very simply it’s a keyword phrase usually longer than three words. So for instance, the most obvious keyword search might be ‘shoe repairs’ for our example business, but a search on Google for this generates over four and a half million results. So instead you might focus on ‘ladies shoe repairs in Rankton’ (currently only 245 results!)
By focussing on these more specific search phrases you will find that you’ll rank higher for these searches, and the chance that you’ll be offering exactly what the person is looking for is much greater, increasing the overall percentage of searches which convert to enquiries or sales.
3. Finally, there’s the whole thing about content.
Clearly for any new business it will be important to create a good solid stack of content for the website, and it wouldn’t hurt to put together a blog and perhaps throw a few articles out there too. But rather than dwelling on keywords and keyword placement, focus on your target audience. As long as you know exactly who your audience is, and exactly what they are looking for and need, then you will be a good deal closer to creating suitable content which will both benefit them, ans do your business a great many favours.
Are you just getting started with SEO for the first time? Or are you returning to SEO after a break? If you have any questions or concerns do please feel free to leave a comment below or get in touch – we’ll be glad to help.