Not long ago, it was easy to build a website, employ some SEO tactics, and rank highly on Google. But thanks to the two most recent Google algorithm updates, Panda and Penguin, many of those easy tactics don’t work anymore. But for new webmasters, there are still some effective search engine marketing strategies you can use.
Whether you’ve started a new company or recently graduated college with a design degree, you may be considering building a website from scratch to get the word out about what you have to offer. In which case, as a new webmaster, you’ll find that you’re both fortunate in some ways and unlucky in others.
One advantage of being a newcomer to website creation, unlike a webmaster with year’s of experience, is that you won’t have to spend time and effort recovering from Google penalties earned using SEO strategies that were once effective. You can do things the right way, from the start, and work your way up the search results totem pole without risk of offending Google.
As newbie webmaster, you’ve probably found a lot of contradictory information about search engine marketing. Because of this, you may not know which strategies you should implement to increase your site’s search engine visibility. Here are four top search engine tactics you should consider:
1. Cater to your audience
Before Penguin and Panda, many webmasters and bloggers catered to search engines, instead of visitors. They’d stuff their vague, shallow, content with keywords in hopes of gaming the system. Now, Google penalizes sites that don’t provide a good user experience. If you want to rank highly, it’s essential to provide good, interesting content. Give visitors a reason to like your website and to keep coming back. This may mean hiring a content strategist or a few freelance writers to help you step-up your game in terms of content quality.
As you develop your website’s content, always keep in mind who your audience is and what interests them. For instance, if you’re trying to sell text books to college students, your web content should provide your target audience (college students) with information about who you are and how you’re going to save them money or provide access to superior college course materials. Additionally, it would be in your interest to provide your audience with useful information, e.g., study tips, stress management solutions, and post-college job search pointers. Focusing on your site’s visitors, instead of focusing on page rank will ultimately help your website rank higher in the future.
2. Quality link building requires effort
Don’t pay for links, submit links to link farms, or participate in link spamming. Although these tactics once worked, they’ll now downgrade your page rank. The kind of link building that works now requires effort. Some link building strategies to consider building page rank are; networking with bloggers and webmasters to get links placed on well-respected sites, writing guest posts, and sending out professionally designed badges to your favorite sites and blogs.
3. Ask yourself, “What Would Google Do?” (WWGD)
Before making any decisions you think might positively affect your search engine ranking, ask yourself if Google would approve. Google’s getting much better at catching and punishing black hat SEO strategists. So, think before you spin an article or exchange a link with a less than credible site. Google may not catch you every time, but it’s not worth taking a chance because one wrong decision can dramatically alter your site’s ranking.
4. Use social media
Social media can drive a significant amount of traffic to your site if you use it effectively and often. Plus, Google doesn’t control how much traffic your site receives via social media channels. So, start posting high-quality content on your blog and linking to it on your Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest profiles. Network with customers, clients, and business associates, and follow their social media profiles. Retweet, reply to comments, and share links to interesting things you find on the web. Devoting time to branding and relationship building on social media sites will also increase your online visibility and conversation rate.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race to the top of Google’s search results. So, create quality content, work hard to earn links, and have faith that your website will make it to the top.
An education and technology blogger by trade, Maria Rainer loves to explore the connections between the web and a college education. Online student advice columns and substantive posts on the latest trends in online education are her specialty. Please share your comments with Maria.