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Although search engine optimization (SEO) is growing in popularity, it is still important to define exactly what it is. SEO is the practice of optimizing your company’s website or video to appear higher in search engines. Most people understand the basics onpage SEO, like including your keywords in the page title (1) and within the content of the site. One common misconception is that Google uses meta keyword data and meta description data in its algorithm. While meta description data (2) doesn’t directly impact your rankings it can have an indirect effect. Meta keyword data is visible to your competitors and can help them determine which keywords your business is trying to be ranked for. For this reason, meta keyword data should never be used. However, writing a compelling meta description can help increase your click through rate when people search and as a result Google tends to rank these sites higher.
Once visitors reach your website it is important to keep them there. Recent updates take into consideration bounce rate (visitors that don’t visit more than one page) and time spent on site. These statistical figures are readily accessible in most website analytic software. How can you decrease bounce rate? It is important that you give your users what they want and your website has a clear navigation path and menu structure. Keep the most important pages at the top level and keep it simple. Visitors that spend more time on your website are ultimately more likely to convert into customers; another signal to Google this is a quality website. One way to increase this is by including engaging content and a video that takes a few minutes to read or play. This will get the visitor to stay during that timeframe to soak in your messaging.
Perhaps the most important and also the most overlooked aspect of search engine optimization is offpage SEO. Offpage SEO accounts for approximately 70% of the total ranking factors. So how can your company improve this? Most of Google’s algorithm is designed around link popularity. That is when other websites have links to your website. It’s important to note that not all links are created equal. Being featured in a reputable trade journal is more valuable than acquiring a link from a non-authority website. Acquiring more quality links rather than focusing on quantity will almost always result in higher search engine rankings.
Now you might be asking yourself- what exactly can I do in the next 15 minutes that will improve my company’s online presence? Here’s a few suggestions:
Write an interesting article for your company’s website on a current or controversial topic and ask your friends to re-share your article on LinkedIn and Facebook. This will result in links back to your website.
Produce an article or video about a topic that you are an expert in and have it published as a guest post on another blog. Be sure to include a link to your website or LinkedIn profile within the article (if appropriate) or near the end of the article in the author bio section. This typically results in a single link back to your website, but increases your company’s marketing reach and audience.
If your company is listed on Google Plus (formerly Google Places) (3) ask some of your very loyal and satisfied customers to leave a quick review of your company. Always remember to thank them.
Make sure that your company is targeting the correct keywords. You can use Google Keyword Planner (formerly Google Keyword Tool) to get the estimated search volume for each keyword. In the real estate industry you will typically target local keywords, these are keywords related to a specific city. For example homes for sale Minneapolis or Minneapolis real estate.
Yes, really… It’s that easy.
Author Bio: Jacob Hagberg is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and has 7 years of search engine optimization experience. His company Initial Effort is a leader in providing wholesale reseller services to digital marketing agencies.
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