Depositphotos_9761705_xsIt seems like the biggest website buzzword of 2013 has been SEO (search engine optimization).  In 2012 it was ROI (return on investment) and what ever happened to our friend ROI anyway?

The truth is that tech buzzwords come in and out, something you were worried about last year is replaced by something new to worry about this year.  It makes me wonder what we should start planning for 2014.

SEO by definition is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.” – Wikipedia. In layman’s terms, when someone searches for your business, you want to come up in the first few results provided by the search engine so that customers can find you.

Did you notice that the definition above states that SEO is measured organically or “unpaid”? SEO has become big business and the truth of the matter is that search engines such as Google continue to change the rules to prevent paid SEO services from pushing your site to the top.

So, how do you increase your SEO? Mashable recently published a great article on 13 Ethical Ways to Increase Your Site’s Search Traffic.  Here are some of our favorites.

Stick Around

The longer you are in business and producing quality online content, the more likely you are to pop up in search results for all related keywords. Starting a blog or churning out a bunch of articles is all fine and good, but keeping those activities going for years as opposed to months (or weeks) makes a huge difference.

Optimize Your Articles

There are three main ingredients to a successfully optimized web page or article: your meta title, description and keywords. This is such a simple thing to fill out when you’re publishing a piece of content on your site, so take the time to do it each time, and you’ll start to rank for your keywords much faster.

Provide Amazing Value to Your Readers

When it comes to increasing organic search, content marketing through blogging or guest posts is the fastest way to build great traffic. However, content marketing is a quality game and not a quantity game. If you have horrible content, people won’t bother reading it or sharing it, which is basically the entire point of building a company blog. Therefore, when I write content, I constantly ask myself if I would take ten minutes out of my day to read it and if I’d share it with others. If you wouldn’t do either of those things, then you really need to look at your content strategy again.

Don’t Try to Outsmart Google

Gaming Google’s system might work temporarily, but it is not a good strategy for the long haul. To increase organic search traffic, produce top-notch content that’s relevant to what your users might be searching. Check the Google Keyword Tool to make sure you’re using the correct terminology that the general public is using when they’re searching.

Think of SEO as an Opportunity to Create Value

SEO isn’t a game. At least it’s not a game that you’ll win in the long run if you think of it as a game. Create content that readers find valuable and Google will deem search-worthy. Visitors are more likely to share content that they enjoyed reading and will stay on your site longer, while bloggers and the media might use your site as a reference, which means more organic links.

Create a Company Blog to Increase SEO Traffic

SEO is king in organic search traffic. The more popular search terms within your niche that you include on your website, the more searches will organically lead to your site. But including too much text on the main pages of your site can do more harm than good, which makes it difficult for consumers to find the information they want. Instead of overwriting the copy on your homepage, about page and product pages, start a separate blog for additional SEO work. Use the blog to write about your niche, whether it’s construction, beauty or entertainment. Try to do keyword research to find out which phrases are trending in your industry and include them in the blog posts. As long as your blog has a highly visible link back to the main page of the website, the blog will increase your visibility.

SEO does not have to be expensive or exclusive.  If you keep these rules in mind you will grow your SEO naturally and have the support of Google behind your page.

Let us know if you have any questions or please share some of your favorite SEO tips!