3 Keys to Your SEO Strategy for 2013 and Beyond

October 28th, 2013 by Megan Totka

Oct13If there was a formula for the best SEO strategy in today’s online market, it might look something like this:

Content + links + social = WIN

While there are no guarantees when it comes to search engine optimization, including these three ingredients in your strategy is sure to improve your ROI. Here are some tips and best practices to strengthen your SEO foundation and get results.

Content: More Important Than Ever

With recent changes to Google, like the new algorithm and the demise of the Google Keyword Tool in favor of SSL secured searches (that no longer allow marketers—or anyone else—to see specific keyword search data), great content is essential for optimizing your website.

There are no keyword “cheats” left. In order to boost your search engine ranking, you need to include keywords and search phrases organically inside well written, engaging content that encourages not only search engines, but also your visitors to spread the word about your business.

Aside from quality, freshness counts when it comes to content. Search engines index your website more frequently when you’re adding new content—so unless you want to continually rewrite the copy on your core pages, you need a way to keep updating your content. Starting or reviving a small business blog is a great way to do that.

Links: Quality Over Quantity

Link building has been an important part of SEO as long as there has been other websites to link to. Over the years, search engines have changed the way they weigh links. At first it was the more links, the better—but today, it’s all about quality.

There are two parts to link quality: inbound versus outbound and reputation. Inbound links—those that lead to your site from other sites—are weighted higher than outbound links, because they mean someone else is impressed enough with your content to link to it. With reputation, the higher the linked site ranks in search engines, the more it matters to your own SEO.

How can you get quality inbound links? Here are a few ways to do it:

  • Guest blogging. By writing quality content for blogs related to your business, you accomplish two things: help the hosting blog by giving them fresh, unique content, and gain inbound links. Most sites will offer guest bloggers a backlink to their own site in exchange for writing original posts.
  • Press releases. While some businesses view the press release as an antiquated tool that reached its peak while news still came mostly in print form, this type of content can still help your online marketing. There are plenty of syndicated online PR distribution sites, and sending out relevant, newsworthy press releases will spread more inbound links to your website around, even if it doesn’t get you in the newspapers.
  • Content repackaging. For maximum impact with minimal effort, spin your existing content into new pieces for redistribution. Turn newsletter articles into guest posts, blog entries into infographics, or even case studies into explainer videos. Don’t forget to include links to your website in all of your new content!

Social Media: Yes, You Need It

If you’re one of the few businesses that still doesn’t have a social media presence, it’s past time to get started. And if your social networks are getting dusty with neglect, it’s time to start showing them some love. Being active on social media helps you amplify your SEO strategy—building your brand and exposing your business to more potential customers.

The whole idea of social media may be overwhelming, whether you haven’t started yet or you’re trying to keep up with accounts on 10 different networks. For most small businesses, the best social strategy is to choose one or two channels to focus your efforts on (with Facebook and/or Twitter usually the most effective) and build those networks to perfection, instead of scattering your attempts across every platform out there.

Have you included these keys in your SEO strategy? What are you doing to keep your online marketing relevant? Let us know in the comments!

Image courtesy of chichacha

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.