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SEO 101

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There is a lot of information out there about Search Engine Optimization (about 70,500,000 pieces of information according to Google) which means it can be overwhelming to try and sort through what is valid. Search engines are also constantly changing and updating the algorithms used to rank websites which means what is relevant now may not be in six months.

So what does this mean for you, a busy professional without loads of free time to spend researching what SEO tactics are worth implementing? Lucky for you, as the Community Leader at Advisor Websites it is my job to help you succeed online, which means I have done the research for you. Done the research, you say?! Does that mean you went through 70,500,000 pieces of information to find the secret to what will make my website rank #1? Not quite. The below advice is exactly that, advice, and should be taken into consideration as part of your online strategy as whole. There really is no magic button to push to make your website rank better in search engines, but there are many adjustments and and habits you can adopt that over the long term which may help your website gain exposure.

So, with all that exposition out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff. Below are some SEO tactics you can employ to your Advisor Website, categorized by estimated importance to search engines based on the research I have done along with conversations with many colleagues on the topic.

Create fresh content

Importance level: High

Maintenance level: Ongoing

How to do it: Start a blog. Begin creating blog entries as a way to share your brilliant mind with your target audience. Search engines appreciate when websites are updated frequently with well written, unique content. For more about creating content that search engines will love, check this out.

Get on social media

Importance level: High

Maintenance level: Ongoing

How to do it: Create accounts with LinkedIn, Facebook Business, Twitter, etc. It is better to use one consistently than three inconsistently! Use a tool such as Hootsuite to help automate the process and schedule your posts ahead of time. Having a social media presence is valuable to SEO because it gives an opportunity for your content to be shared by a wider audience. The more your posts (especially those linking back to content on your website) are liked, shared, and interacted with on social media, the more exposure you can gain.

Get on Google My Business

Importance: High

Maintenance level: One time (unless details for your business change)

How to do it: Ever notice that box on the right side of google when you search for a business? The one that has the location, map, phone number and all that important info. That information comes from Google My Business. Google will do its best to guess this information (so you may see that right side box if you haven’t signed up), but it is important to verify and take control of that information. Sign up at www.google.com/business and once Google verifies you are in fact in control of the business you claimed (by sending you some good old snail mail) you can keep that information up to date. Now, this will not really have a direct impact on where your website ranks, but how the information looks when your business is searched for directly.

Update your title tags

Importance: Moderate

Maintenance level: One time

How to do it: The title tag is what appears at the top of your browser’s tab and often as the title of search results. Different than the title of the page on the actual content, the title tag is an html element that search engines read and sometimes use to match keywords to searches. Again, this is an element you want to focus on for key pages on your website rather than all of them. Follow best practices like keeping the title less than 55 characters (or search engines can’t display it all) and following the optimal format: Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name. Learn how to change your pages’ title tags here.

Insert keywords and descriptions into pages

Importance: Low

Maintenance level: One time

How to do it: Although Google has started paying less attention to keywords and more attention to the above elements, keywords and descriptions are still around and noticed to some extent by Google, but mostly by other search engines (Bing and Yahoo). Focus on the most important pages on your website (likely home, about us, products and services or their equivalents) and be sure to follow best practices like choosing keywords that appear in the content on the page and not using more than 8. Here is how you can add keywords to your Advisor Website. Descriptions are simply the text that is displayed below the link in a search. By default, search engines will use relevant content on the page that matches the search. If you choose to update the description, this is what will appear below the Title link (unless the search engine finds text on the page that better matches the search entered). Descriptions are added in the same section as keywords in the dashboard.

 

You probably noticed that the highly important tasks are ongoing rather than one time. There’s a reason for that. Search engines are always re-crawling and re-ranking pages, so websites that are actively being updated with new content and interacted with on social media are going to have a better chance of being re-ranked at a higher spot.

As with all things SEO, any of the above tasks will take time to be noticed by search engines, so be patient.  Starting a blog won't instantly put you higher in searches, but managing and promoting one consistently over time will likely help your website gain traffic and exposure.



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