You should always hire a search engine optimization (SEO) guru or agency, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the basics yourself. In fact, there are many aspects to SEO which you or your web designer can manage yourself. However, since SEO is a fluid field that’s always changing, this means keeping up with trends, updates and best practices. Are you really up for the job?
Just take a look at the history of SEO updates reported by Moz and it’s easy to see how “playing nicely” can be a challenge. However, some of the basics never change. Here’s why you need to know basic SEO, how to get started, and the easiest avenues for improving your rankings:
1. (Quality) content will always be king
The bread and butter of SEO always has been and always will be high quality, organic content. This can be in the form of a blog post that’s rich with SEO keywords (but not stuffed), a video with SEO descriptions, or an infographic that’s shareable. Whoever’s in charge of creating content for your site and social media presence, make sure they’re a professional writer and know which key themes and words to pepper in (and at what density).
2. Manage your local SEO (LSEO) well
Local and hyperlocal SEO is becoming more and more prevalent. Although advances in technology are changing LSEO as reported by Forbes, this doesn’t mean you can’t keep pace. However, it is a warning that you need to prioritize making sure your contact information, address and the like are correct on every platform from Google+ to Yelp. By ensuring your local information is correct, that boosts your results (and helps visitors find you).
3. Avoid black hat tactics
There are a number of “black hat” tricks and tactics which aren’t just poor SEO, but also “illegal.” Of course, since it’s not your job to know SEO, you might make one of these mistakes by accident. Recently, MediaPost reported on black hat tricks still being used from keyword stuffing to linking to spammy sites. If you don’t know what not to do, you might make a blunder and get penalized from Google. Remember that once you get slapped with a Google penalty, it’s tough to get back in their good graces.
4. Make easy updates yourself
If you didn’t know that every URL was an opportunity for SEO or that you should be monitoring your inbound links to make sure they’re high quality, you’re engaging in poor SEO tactics and don’t even know it. A lot of the bad practices are easy to avoid but require some self-education. If you’re in charge of maintaining your website, knowing the basics means you can maximize your SEO efforts without actually making any further efforts.
5. You won’t get taken advantage of
Not all SEO firms are created equally, and the smarmy ones can make a quick buck from taking advantage of people. All SEO agencies know that the vast majority of businesses have no idea what PPC ads are, white hat tricks or what their analytics mean. They can either use this to their advantage or be responsible, ethical, and help educate their clients. If you do a little self-training in SEO yourself, you’re armed with information to not become a victim of shoddy business practices.