If you have a business, then you almost certainly have a business website. And once you establish some sort of online presence, it isn’t long before you start thinking about search engine optimization (SEO).
Nearly every business owner, manager, and executive on the planet would like to get a bigger slice of Google’s 2 billion daily searches. And yet, most have what could only be generously described as a surge of visibility “plan” in place. Instead, they rely on outdated ideas they picked up years ago, a blog post filled with SEO quick-fixes that don’t really work, or just the hope that their site will be discovered eventually.
When we look for a reason why, it’s easy to zero in on the causes. For one thing, SEO can seem dense and technical. And for another, it can be hard to find real expertise that is practical and affordable. Many of the best search consultants charge rates small and medium -sized companies can’t afford, or recommend things that aren’t feasible for businesses without a large marketing staff.
In short, there is a great need for a workable SEO plan that can be used by anyone with a desire to promote their business online. Today, we are going to give you a simple, seven step plan you can follow to get your search campaigns up and running quickly. None of the steps are complicated, technical, or expensive. If you’re willing to devote a small amount of time or money into the project, you can start getting results immediately.
If that sounds like the kind of answer you’ve been looking for, let’s take each of the steps in order…
#1 Start With a Website Audit
Although business people tend to want to jump straight into the technical aspects of search engine optimization (adding new page titles, creating links, measuring keyword density, etc.) a smarter approach is to begin by looking at what you already have in place. There are a lot of different names for this activity, but we prefer to think of it as a website audit or website review.
A website audit just means a professional designer takes a deeper dive into your business site to look for strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. They will review your pages and content, but also look at things like web hosting, plugins, and your underlying HTML.
Often, taking a closer look at a business website will reveal many things that aren’t immediately apparent. For example, broken or missing links could leave a site with dead ends or isolated pages. Images could be lacking descriptions that describe them to search engines and make things more visible. Performance problems (like layouts that are incompatible with some mobile devices or slow page loading times) might create usability problems that keep search traffic away and discourage conversions.
It’s worth pointing out that a website audit isn’t just about figuring out what’s wrong with an existing site. It can also yield insights into competitive strength. For example, when we look at the web analytics for a new client, we frequently discover they receive traffic from some keywords or sources no one knew about. With a few simple tweaks, they can further strengthen those areas and benefit even more.
Regardless of whether the diagnosis is positive or negative, however, every search engine optimization campaign should start with a detailed look at the existing website and overall trends. That gives some baseline knowledge that can be used to push ahead in the right directions.