SEO, aka Search Engine Optimization, changes all the time. The intelligent people behind search engines work hard to make the user experience more authentic and less filled with spam. (So those of you out there spamming better shape up.)
At a recent SEO meetup I attended, I got the most recent lowdown on what’s up with Google and the other search engines. Some of it applies to small business owners who use content marketing. Based on that, here are six things you should do in 2014 for SEO:
- Brand yourself. Think about your brand, work on it, create it and hone it. Your brand makes you unique and helps fight the competition for business and for keywords.
- List your business in local directories. You still want links to your website, but it’s not about quantity — it’s quality. Stop paying for someone in Bangkok to put your link on 500 websites. Instead focus on local. List your business on directories; engage in real-person networking. Ask your customers/clients for links.
- Write regular, quality content. Create an editorial calendar. Start to fill it by asking your customers/clients what questions they have about what you do. Then, write quality content for your site, not just keyword-filled crap for SEO. Google can tell if you’re trying to over-optimize.
- Get social. If you are not on Google+ you should be. Yes, there are people there. Your Facebook friends might not be, but you can use Google+ to find people interested in your work. Share your posts and content on Google+. Believe it or not, this will turn up in search engines. (Sign up for Google authorship already!) Ask your friends to share your social stuff. Those “votes” will help long-term with SEO. (Just don’t be a dishrag about it.)
- Write four quality guest posts for someone else’s blog. Are you sensing a theme? QUALITY. The content you post on ehow, squidoo and similar sites isn’t really going to help much. Keep it real. Keep posting to your website, but work with others and research sites where your content might make sense. Ask to write a guest post; maybe you can work out an exchange.
- Continue the basics. Keep up with the old school stuff: title tags, alt tags, internal links. Just don’t be too aggressive; use common sense and don’t get too hung up on analytics all the time.
Share your comment: What item on this list challenges you most? Why haven’t you done it?