What is SEO and Why Should I Care?

5 TipsThere’s lots of job listings and writer profiles that mention SEO, keywords, and rankings, but many people have no idea what these buzzwords mean. Don’t be mistaken; these things are important, but they aren’t vastly complicated.

How SEO Works

Google has complex secret algorithms (that no one really knows how they work) that rank your site in search results. They “crawl” your site looking for indicators that your site is valuable, such as backlinks, regular updates, and views. SEO aims to help improve a site’s position in these rankings.

Improving Your Site’s Ranking

There’s a lot you can do, without paying anything for promotion, to improve where your site shows up in search results. Here’s 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Have a Proper Domain: While it may be tempting to go with a free Blogspot, WordPress, or Tumblr, having GraphicDesign.Wordpress.com just doesn’t look professional for a business. Pay the money-it often is as little as $20-to get a .com domain via a site like GoDaddy or WordPress. It makes your site, whether it’s a business or a blog, look more serious.
  2. Provide Useful Content: Your site should add value to customers and viewers. They may be searching for answers or solutions and you should be able to give them that. By being a useful resource, such as providing tutorials or free downloads, you will raise your ranking.
  3. Get Authentic Backlinks: Backlinks are when another site links to your content. This has to be authentic–no pay for play options here. This can be accomplished by producing valuable content (see #2) and sharing it on social media. Other bloggers and sites will link to your content if they find it useful.
  4. Use Keywords Effectively: Keywords should be used throughout your site, but used thoughtfully and in a way that makes sense. If you’re a designer in Chicago, you want to work that into your tagline, bio, and description. But avoid stuffing your keyword ever. “Chicago based designer provides unique Chicago designs” is just ludicrous and will hurt your rating. (And yes, people try to do this).
  5. Comment on Authority Sites: Check out the big sites in your area and industry and comment thoughtfully on relevant posts. By contributing valuable insights, you get your name and business out there while helping your backlinks.

While people throw SEO terms around, it really is pretty simple and can be instituted by any business of any size. If you want to bring on a freelance writer with proven experience in providing SEO content, contact me to discuss your needs.