October 20, 2010

SEO in 10 Minutes a Week


Hostway Team

By Melissa J Luther

Busy small business owners don’t have much time to devote to SEO. The quickest answer is to hire someone to do it for you, but if you’re not ready for that, try to find at least 10 minutes each week to work on your online presence. It will take longer to see significant results, but each weekly activity will build on the previous and, over time, your consistency will be rewarded.

On-Site SEO

If you haven’t already, use your first few SEO sessions to make sure your on-site SEO is in place. Look at:

  • Title Tags: The words in this tag appear at the top of the browser window and as the linked text on the search results page. Each page of your site should have a unique, descriptive title.
  • Meta Description Tags: These tags are less important than they once were, but many engines still use them as the site description in search results, so make yours appealing.
  • Alt Tags: Add keyword-rich descriptions to every image on your site with alt-tags.
  • Headline Tags: Using appropriate keywords, the main headline on each page should be coded with an H1 tag and subheads with H2 tags.
  • Content Optimization: Each page of your site should focus on one main and one or two secondary keywords.

If your headlines and/or content are not optimized, use a keyword research tool like Word Tracker Free Keyword Research or Google’s Keyword Tool to figure out what words and phrases you should focus on.

Off-Site SEO

Off-site factors, especially backlinks, are the real meat of SEO and Google’s ranking algorithm gives it a lot of weight. So, once you’ve gotten your on-site factors squared away, start building backlinks with keyword-rich content.

Google prefers one-way links, so focus on those. Reciprocal links are less valuable for SEO, but can be useful for highly targeted traffic. Just don’t use link farms, which Google hates.

Generate one-way inbound links by:

  • Article marketing: Write articles containing information useful to your target audience, each focused on a different keyword. Submit them to top article directories, making sure you complete the resource box and include a link back to a related page on your site.
  • Press Releases: Do you write press releases when your company has something newsworthy to report, like a new service or an upcoming event? In addition to traditional news outlets, submit an online press release to sites like PRLog (free) or PRWeb (paid) with a link back to your site.
  • Blogging: Give your visitors a reason to stay, to return and to link to you with regular, informative blog postings. Pick a schedule and stick to it, so that loyal readers can anticipate your next post. In addition to drawing backlinks, regular fresh content boosts your reputation in Google’s algorithm.

This may seem like a lot for 10 minutes, but it is possible if you make each session do double-duty. For example, rewrite and expand on previous blog posts to create new articles. Reuse information from new offline marketing materials for a series of blog posts and articles. Also, if you have employees who write well, have them help with the writing and then you can just review before posting.

About the Author

Melissa J Luther, owner and founder of LookSee Information Solutions, LLC, helps small businesses create and maintain a strong Internet presence. She takes a multi-channel approach, with a well-optimized Web site as the center of an Internet presence that includes content creation, PPC advertising, linking and social media as appropriate.

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