By now, most site owners realize the importance and value of SEO in the development and growth of their site. A properly optimized site is going to rank better in the search engines, see more targéted traffic being directed over, have a higher conversion rate and much more. However, SEO is incredibly long term and nothing can rush time. It takes time for a site to build a good trust factor with the search engines and until that happens, most of your off-site SEO efforts are going to produce minimal results.
If you recently launched your site and are already looking into SEO, here are 5 things you should focus your time and energy on.
Learn the Basics of SEO for Yourself
There is no shortage of blogs, whitepapers, articles, reports, e-books, webinars, videos and more that can teach you the basics of SEO. It is imperative that you as the site owner arm yourself with as much SEO knowledge as possible during the first year of your site’s life. The more you know about SEO, the less likely you are to be conned by a black hat SEO company and the less likely you are to make black hat SEO decisions by accident. A good place to start is with the Bing and Google Webmaster Guidelines. Consider those two sources as your SEO line in the sand; what they say goes. Look for other reputable blogs and sites that can help you learn more about SEO and how others in your industry are using it to their advantage.
By taking the time to teach yourself the basics of SEO (you could take an SEO course or spend time with a consultant as well), you’ll be better prepared to take your SEO to the next level after your site has aged a little and earned the trust of the search engines.
Start a Blog
Start blogging right away. Start with at least one blog post a week and see if you can work up to one a day within the first year of your blog’s life. That may seem like a huge ordeal now, but you’d be surprised at how easy it gets to write a 350-500 word blog post with practice. You’ll learn how to better formulate your thoughts, present a single idea and flush it out entirely with time. If you aren’t confident in your writing ability or are struggling to come up with topics, turn to your employees and co-workers for help. The worst thing you could do is launch a blog and then not routinely update it with fresh content. It takes a long time to hone your writing skills, find and develop your niche, build your reputation and attract loyal readers to your blog, so don’t expect to see major results fast. However, just like your site, as your blog ages it earns more trust from the search engines. Individual blog posts can start to rank for targeted keywords, increasing your online brand presence.
Build Your Social Network
If you are just getting onboard the social media marketing train, you’re in for a surprise! Social media marketing takes a lot more time than most companies realize, and it needs a solid strategy to run on. Don’t walk into social media blind and hope you’ll figure it out before something goes wrong. Take the first year of your site’s life to really develop your social profiles and connect with your target audience. What kind of content are they looking for from you? When is the best time to engage them? Which sites do they spend most of their time on? If you want your social media marketing efforts to be effective, you need to understand the behavior of your target audience so you can better reach them.
Focus on On-Site Optimization
The first year of your site’s life should really be spent focusing on the site itself. Don’t worry too much about developing a full blown link building strategy just yet; it’s more important to make sure your site is in the best shape it can be! Work on creating great webpage content, developing an internal linking structure that helps keep your visitor engaged, tweaking your landing pages to improve their conversion rate and so forth. Your website is going to be the hub of the rest of your Internet marketing. It doesn’t matter how great everything is off-site if your website doesn’t measure up. At the end of the day, it is your website that is going to convince visitors to act. Does it matter how many show up or how they got there if you website fails to convert?
Develop an Editorial Calendar
Content pretty much fuels all of your SEO and social media marketing. Without great content, you don’t give your target audience a real reason to check out your site, profile or blog. In addition to all the content you have to create for your sites, you also need to start looking into 3rd party sites where you can publish guest content. Take the first year of your site’s life to build relationships with industry bloggers and other site owners that allow guest articles to be published on their site. Identify which popular industry blogs cater to your target audience and start laying the groundwork to get one of your articles published there. If you can create an editorial calendar for you to follow, you’ll be able to get a jumpstart on your content marketing.