Jul 24, 2012

A bit of DIY SEO just takes persistence

Nearly everyone who owns a website wants to see it perform better in the search engines. Good search results are especially critical for business websites that are expected to generate leads or produce e-commerce sales.

Unfortunately, a lot of business owners give up on search engine optimization — or settle for sub-standard results — because they think good optimization is too expensive. While an investment in top-notch SEO work is seldom wasted, two very effective SEO tactics fall into the Do It Yourself category and are often overlooked by many webmasters and site owners.

Update your website. When is the last time you refreshed the content on your site? I’ve seen enough very nice site designs with 12-month old content on the home page that I shouldn’t be surprised when I run across another one, but it never ceases to mystify me. It’s even more maddening to discover nothing has changed across an entire site since the day it was launched.

For most of the top search engines, the goal is to deliver relevant, up-to-date search results. Think about it. How happy would you be if a search engine shot back results for your favorite search and the top 50 results were all web pages that hadn’t been updated since 2009? Unless you were searching for the 2008 Tampa Rays team stats, you probably wouldn’t be very happy. Since search engines only make money off happy searchers, they want you to be happy. So they highly value fresh content when it comes to calculating search rankings.

Use social media to build some links. This isn’t complicated, but following through to the end result can be a bit confusing. Posting links to the fresh, relevant content on your website from your Facebook or Pinterest account sounds easy enough, right? A lot of people do it all the time. The problem is that those links from social media don’t generate any direct SEO benefit for the website they link to.

Why is that? Social media platforms got wise to the spam potential of links very quickly, so now they hit every link with a “nofollow” tag. The nofollow tag keeps the links from passing any “link juice” to the target website — in effect, the link doesn’t exist as far as the search engines are concerned. That’s not as harsh as it may sound because, since Google’s “Penguin” update a couple of months past, it appears the search algorithms are actually penalizing sites for having low-quality inbound links.

So how can social media links have any impact on your link building? The trick is to be persistent and always, always, always link to new, interesting and relevant content. From time to time your links will get picked up by bloggers and webmasters who are on the prowl for quality content links. When that happens, you’ve got a little bottle of magic link juice suddenly working to help build both page rank and traffic to your website.

We run social media campaigns for a number of clients and have seen it work consistently. An influential blogger picks up a link, spreads it to a few more bloggers, who spread it to more bloggers. A basket full of relevant back links seemingly appears overnight. The key thing to remember is that you want to provide links to good quality, original content; quality content attracts links from top drawer websites, and that’s what can help drive your site traffic.

 

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