When you first decide to do a bit of ‘SEO’ on your website, the initial thoughts of “oo, this is a bit easy” when you’re adding a bit of text here and updating the odd meta-tag there soon gives way to fear and loathing when you discover that there’s a lot more to it than that.
SEO is an on-going task and there’s so much to it that many people get hung up on the preparation without actually doing anything towards the promotion of their site. I’ve always believed that doing something is way more beneficial that doing nothing but it can still be difficult to work out what to do first, so here are some ideas.
I guess the first question to ask yourself is just how much SEO do you need to do in order to get your site found and the answer to that really lies in your keyword choice and competition. If you know exactly who the competition is and you’ve done your research to discover what their site is like, how much content they have and how many back-links they’ve got then you can have some idea as to how long it’s going to take you to beat them. For example, if you’ve got your site up to scratch (i.e. done all the on-site SEO stuff) then you’re left with building your links and on-line ‘buzz’ through social networking and the like.
Now, let’s say your competitor is number 5 with 400 inbound links from good websites. Your task is to get over 400 links from similar or better websites so you can potentially beat him. If you can find and build 20 links per day, day in, day out then you know that you need to work consistently for 20 days to get that done.
A quick note here: when you’ve created those links, it doesn’t mean you’ll immediately go above them in the rankings – oh no – it’s a lot more complicated than that and Google has built-in algorithms to make sure people don’t just go link-building crazy and out-rank their competitors in a matter of days.
Right, let’s assume then that we need to build some links to get started. Here’s what I do when starting a new site and you can do the same…
Create email addresses
For each client I like a new email address, sometimes two. My weapon of choice is Gmail because it doesn’t seem to be as bogged down with spam issues as many of the others. You’ll find lots of sites that don’t accept submissions from free accounts but Gmail seems to be OK with most.
You should fist open up an account with Ezinearticles.com. This is by far the best place to put your quality content and if you can muster up the skill and courage then a 1,000 word article posted here every day will do wonders for your search engine optimisation. I’ve always said that harder links mean better links and Ezine is a good example of this. They have human editors that check to make sure you’re not posting any old rubbish or re-posting other people’s content. Good, original content only please and you’ll be glad you did it.
Then get an account at WordPress.com. A cracking blog site and again one with a strict policy on editorial, although this is user moderated.
Next, get accounts at blogger.com, Wetpaint and TypePad.
Planning to use the blogs
The most difficult part to this whole process is going to be how to manage posting to these blogs without sending yourself absolutely scatty and so I’ve worked out a plan for you. Yep, here it is just for you:
Step one – plan which sites to blog to and what to write about
You can’t blog the same thing to all your sites – that would be silly and wouldn’t help your rankings much. Although this definitely isn’t ‘duplicate content’ that everyone talks about, Google appears to give more weight to links in from original content and articles. No matter though, it’s easy enough to do as long as we plan it correctly.
We’re now going to split our article writing into three distinct areas based on these headlines:
How-to and factual information If you have a product or service then there is every chance that it helps people in some way. In order to sell your product it must be beneficial otherwise it would be a pretty hard sell. So, you need to write articles that describe the benefit of your kind of product. Note that it shouldn’t be heavily brand-centric to your specific products, it must be general. For example, if I owned a hotel in some stunning part of the country then I would be looking to write articles that talk about the benefits of walking through forests etc. With a bit of imagination you can create tons of articles this way that will enthuse about certain aspects of your products in a way that is engaging to potential readers. These articles should be quite long – 400+ words and contain facts, not opinions. How-to articles are really good here and are also quite easy to write. Another example could be if you are a tyre fitter – explain five benefits of having the right tread on your tyres. Another article could espouse the fuel benefits of keeping the wheels tracked properly. These articles will be posted to Ezinearticles.com and WordPress.com. You can get away with posting with little change to them, but I would personally alter the one I post to WordPress by making it a little more light-hearted and I’d also include some images which can help to lighten up the piece a bit.
Opinions and discussion pieces Easier to write because you can allow your personality to burst through and you can be a little more aggressive in marketing your products. Don’t be too commercial, but feel free to include product data from your own site and also more images and maybe some video. Good subjects here could be opinions on news pieces that affect your product or sector or even if you receive some good press – write about that too. Industry news, something you saw on the way to work (that you can relate to your product) or anything that might be even remotely interesting to potential viewers is good here. You will post these to Blogger and Wetpaint.
Marketing and short pieces You can get a lot more commercial here and it should be about how your product helps people to do better or be better. Don’t hold back – explain what you do and how you do it and become a salesman. Include links to products but also to other places on the web. If you sell any kind of medical product then you would post links to relevant industry sites that have information to back up your claims. This will potentially become the blog you will use the most and it is the one that will have the biggest affinity to your site. You’ll use Tyepad for this one.
Step two – plan out when to write it
Now we know what to write, when do we write it? Well, as I’ve said in the past, it can be difficult putting the time aside to do this stuff so it’s good to have a plan. I prefer to do it on a daily basis but I don’t do every blog. Here’s how I believe you can arrange your blogging/writing time without going mad:
How to articles to Ezine and WordPress Do at least one of these a week. I do mine on a Friday when I’ve got a week’s worth of material.
Opinions and discussion pieces 2-3 times a week, all Tweeted and posted to Facebook
Marketing and short pieces Anytime I get chance, maybe up to 5 times a week and often at weekends. You can’t stop marketing just because it’s a Saturday – your competitors won’t!
Even the plan above may be a little bit overwhelming for you so you should bite off chunks and do one at a time. Don’t be put off thinking that it’s an impossible task, it really isn’t and with a bit of thought you can still beat anyone you’re competing with, as long as you are persistent.
The worst thing to do is to get stuck with ‘analysis paralysis’ and do nothing. Doing nothing is not an option if you want to be found so get out there and do it!
Andy Calloway is the online marketing director at Calloway Green Ltd, a website design and optimisation company based in Wolverhampton in the UK. Calloway Green take fantastic website design and turn it into a marketable and usable product that will actually make you money. They specialise in Web Design Birmingham [http://www.callowaygreen.com/what-we-do/Birmingham-web-design/] for West Midlands based organisations that are looking to sell their products to a wide audience.