How to Develop an SEO Strategy for No Cost – Part 3
Google Places Listing
Now you need to create your Google Places listing. If you are an online only business, this won’t matter so much, but if you have a store or office then this could be critical to your business. The best part is, Google Places is free! You just need to set up your description (try to target keywords), hours, add photos, etc. Once your places listing is set up, you need to go and request reviews from current/previous customers. This should be a continuous part of your follow up strategy with customers. This gives more credibility to your listing.
Once you have the listing set up, it is important to register with other directories as well. Google looks at other directories (SuperPages, Internet Yellow Pages, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc). When they see your business listed at these other locations and they all have the same name, address, and phone number, then it gives even more credibility to your listing. Continuously be looking for directories to add your listing to as this will help increase your Google Places rankings for localized search phrases.
As we like to say, a website without SEO is a billboard in the desert. What does it matter if you have a beautiful looking website, if no one can find it? This is where the link building aspect comes in to play. If you have followed this strategy so far, you have the foundation set. However, now you need to get links to your website. So how do you get these valuable “votes”? Get ready to invest some heavy time here. Here are 10 ways for you to start attracting links for your website:
- Social media profiles
- Directory submissions
- Request links from current relationships
- Social bookmarking
- Industry forums
- Article distribution
- Press release distribution
- Guest blogging
All of these will require further study to learn about how to leverage these fully. However, you do need to understand that this is the meat and potatoes of an SEO strategy. Although this is a heavy time investment, it is important to remember that links are critical to your success.
Now it is important to measure everything you do. This is the beauty of online marketing versus other tactics of marketing, you can actually measure just about everything! It starts with traffic monitoring using Google Analytics. When you set up your profile, you will be given a piece of code that needs to be placed on your website. It is important that you put the code on all pages (footer.php in a WordPress website) so that all pages are tracked. This will give you an idea of how your marketing efforts are working to drive traffic, what pages visitors enter your website (since it won’t always be your home page), and which pages people leave your website. This will give you an idea of which pages need to be improved from a conversion standpoint.
Another facet you will want to measure is your keyword rankings. There are a couple of free tools that will help you do this. If you use FireFox, you can install a plugin called Rank Checker. Another free tool is called CuteRank, and it is a desktop application. Both of these will allow you to track your rankings. Don’t get too caught up on this, as it will take time for links to be seen by Google and give you updated rankings. So, check once every couple weeks or once per month to give you a better snapshot of your progress.
In Part 4 we will bring it all together and provide some additional things that you can do at no cost.