With search engines updating their algorithms so frequently (Google does it about 500-600 times a year), making sure your website is optimized for SEO is a never-ending – and costly – challenge. Expect to spend anywhere from $750 to $5,000 or more a month on maintenance, depending on the sophistication of your needs.
But, there are some relatively low-tech and inexpensive things you can do on your own that can help boost your SEO rankings.
When you’re creating headlines, pages, copy and content for your website, think like your users and use words they commonly input when searching for the kinds of products and services you sell. If you want to be found in a search, it helps immensely to use language that mirrors what someone might type into their search bar to look for your product.
If you’re an auto insurance company that caters to people looking for cut-rate policies, include terms such as low-cost insurance, or cheap insurance. If your pages are filled with jargon-laden product names that no one would naturally type into a search bar, your SEO rankings likely will suffer. If you want know what people are searching for to find companies like yours, try Google Keyword Planner.
Produce content that fulfills the need of the specific people you want to attract. Every new algorithm change by the search engine companies is geared toward making it easier for people searching for things to find them as quickly as possible. While the algorithms become more and more complex, they continually reward sites that deliver exactly what people are looking for.
If someone comes to your site, finds what they’re looking for, stays awhile, and maybe pokes around a few other pages and then shares what they found on social, that’s a win – for you, and also in the eyes of Google, Bing and the rest of the search world.
Listen before you produce content. Often, companies will produce content and then hand it over to someone who knows SEO with the expectation that the SEO expert will work some magic to make it more discoverable. I’m not saying that can’t or doesn’t happen. But, it’s better to do a little research first on the kind of content that attracts the people you’re trying to reach.
Listen through social channels. Drop into online chats. Read industry newsletters, blogs and publications. Monitor stories in the media. Talk to someone who knows SEO to see what people are searching for. Then, use that information to inform the kind of content you produce so it has a better chance of resonating with your audience.