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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quick SEO Clean-up: Optimize in No Time

Search Engine Optimization can be an overwhelming and daunting task. It almost should be; if it’s super easy, you probably aren't doing it correctly.  Search engines are downright fastidious; Google is continually tweaking their algorithms and redefining the criteria of relevancy.

However, we don’t all have time to keep up with an incessant-not to mention laborious- SEO campaign.  For this reason, we have decided to put together a list of the essentials… things you can do in just one sitting…. in order to improve the way search engines crawl your site.

Note: These are not short-cuts or temporary fixes. Rather, we have compiled SEO tactics that only take a short time to implement, but ones which will have consistent and long term results.

Title Tags
This is an oldie-but-goodie, folks. Optimizing title tags will never not be important (double negative, noted).  When search engines crawl your site, this is what they use to determine exactly what the page is about. Because keyword density is important in this field, make sure to keep your title tag short and sweet.  It also helps to have your targeted keyword appear at the beginning of the title tag.

Internal Linking
If websites are essentially spider webs of pages, linking your site together closely will help the overal structure of your site. Keep in mind the funnel you wish for your site visitors to follow. What is the next page you would like them to visit after reviewing your “about” page, for example? At the end of that text, insert a link to that specific target.  

Note: If you have changed the file names of pages over time, you may have some broken links on your site. This will not only downgrade the overall user experience on your site but also hurt your appearance to search engines. Use a tool like this to ensure that your site is broken-link-free.

Be Nice.
We learned it in preschool, and unless you have seriously questioned your existential presence and its relation to ethics, you probably still agree with the Golden Rule.

On a serious note, being nice online will get you pretty far. When you write a blog post, you probably look forward to people sharing and commenting on your content. According to the Golden Rule, you, too, should engage with other valuable content on the web. When we converse with each other online, we can leave a trail of valuable links.  That link-juice will only help your authority in the eyes of search engines.

Things that probably will get you nothing in the way of friends, let alone search engine love: “Hey [insert blogger name here]. I love this blog article on SEO for small businesses! I noticed in your Google Authorship picture that you are ridiculously attractive. We should go out for drinks sometime.” Yeah, leave the next generation of Match.com out of this, people.  Focus on sincere, constructive and relevant comments. We’re all here to learn from each other.

Warning: Alright, alright… this next SEO tactic could take some time. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't start right now!

Branded Search
A lot of Internet analysts and business owners make the mistake of overlooking the importance of branded searches.  I found myself feeling disheartened in Google Analytics when I would look at the organic search results for some of our clients and see mostly branded search queries. But don’t!

Branded search means that users are going to search engines with your brand already in mind. That means they have already been convinced.  You win. They aren't searching “best restaurants in Pittsburgh”; they are searching your very restaurant! They want you. Search engines understand this and reward you.

That being said, how can you drive more people to search for your specific company? Be creative! Think offline advertisements; think guerrilla marketing; think… “I should probably hire a PR person”.

These are just a few targeted tactics to get you started. There are TONS of other extremely valuable methods that strong websites are employing right now. From local search  to image search, search engines are a never-ending challenge to conquer. 

What are some of your favorite SEO quick-fixes that have long term results? We'd love to hear your insight! Feel free to post about techniques that take longer than a lunch break, too! For those of you looking for a more comprehensive SEO campaign, check out our marketing services at Blue Archer.  

Carla Rosemarino
Internet Analyst

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