What can I do to rank my own website on a budget?
THIS IS A GUIDE FOR DO-IT-YOURSELFERS TO ACHIEVE HIGH LOCAL AND ORGANIC SEO RESULTS FOR THEIR WEB DESIGN! NOT JUST FOR HOUSTON, TX PEOPLE!
Practical Organic SEO Guide for Do-It-Yourselfers! IOM Partners of Houston, TX
If you’re like me, you get tired of waiting on people to do things that they promise, once you get through the already deep enough of finding someone that actually possesses the capabilities you’re looking for, whether that is building a mobile app, designing your website, or getting you top-ranked in Search Engines like Google. Notice that I am currently leaving Bing and Yahoo out of the equation. At it is, now, the traffic-flow from these websites is next to dead so benchmark off of the hard stuff. If I were a scumbag, I’d show up at your place and show you by Bing and Yahoo results. I’m not into wasting my time or stealing your money so I’m writing this guide to tell you exactly what’s involved in quality SEO meaning local SEO and Organic SEO. As I hate PPC and would not sell that to you, even if you asked me to, I’ll include my “Guide to PPC (Pay Per Click SEO” in the following sentence. Pay attention carefully as it’s going to be fast… Here it comes…
—– BEGIN PPC SEO GUIDE —–
DO NOT DO IT BECAUSE IT IS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY AND YOU WILL REAP NO REWARDS, EVER, AND YOU WILL BE A HOSTAGE TO WHOEVER YOU’RE BUYING THESE WORTHLESS ADS FROM
—– END PPC SEO GUIDE —–
Still here? Ok, you deserve it. I’ll give you the goods.
Google Local SEO
If you look at the screenshot above, you’ll see a couple of things:
- You don’t have to scroll down in any way to find us.
- Google Local listings tell us that people like us by our organic ratings 🙂
- It tells the consumer that you’re local. In my industry, finding someone in your area that you can really connect with, collaborate, and create cool things is important. Organic SEO is hugely important. This is one form of Organic SEO and you don’t pay for it.
- You’ll notice that we’re in the top 3. At the time of writing this, we’re #3 but give me a couple of weeks and we’ll beat the hell out of the people above us. Back to the guide.
So how did we get here?
So I get slightly concerned about writing things like this because it might also tell some of our competitors how we do things but that’s fine. If they were going to, they would have already.
- First of all, you have to convince Google that you’re local and a real business. This starts with registering in Google for Business and then finishing off with your Google+ profile for your business. To be indexed in Google requires both manual submission as well as at LEAST 1 link from an external website on the Web. You’ll need to verify your physical location. Google will help you to do this by sending you a card in the mail with a verification code. Once you get it, come back to your Google business listing and enter the code and you’ll now at least start being on the map. Here’s the golden-tee to the Web: if you are a real person and a real business and you are in a specific place, people talk about you, you’re located somewhere, and localized signals such as city names, addresses that are geotagged to the map to your business in Google local, and you have something to say about yourself so, with everything you do online, own that space and know that people will find you and it doesn’t hurt to let them get to know you concisely but with a personal touch that’s localized to their soul. Google Businesses and Google+ are pretty simple to use so just jump into it and you won’t have any issues. Fill everything out and don’t necessarily OVER-optimize your things but feel free to definitely write using words that people legitimately look for you using.
- This next part is extremely important. Your website needs pages that are localized to that specific address using microdata from Google in the form of VCards and HCards. HTML5, especially, has blessed us with tags, categories, contextual searches, and microdata that allows you to classify and localize your information such as audio, local business addresses, video, events, and much more.
- Next, find some of your best real customers that you’ve done a good job for and just ask them nicely to go and give you a review. Hell, make it easy for them and write it for them and ask them to go and post it for you! Here’s the trick here that most people miss – OH NO, YOU REALLY HAVE TO HAVE A REAL BUSINESS THAT DOES THINGS PEOPLE LOOK FOR AND THAT WILL ACTUALLY TALK ABOUT A REAL SERVICE YOU PROVIDED THEM! IMAGINE THAT!!!! We’ve obviously done more good work for more than 5 people but we also have all good reviews, so far. You’ll notice the stars and the strangely not 5.0 rating when we have all 5 stars (weird) but we have a 4.9 so we’ll take it, I guess.
- Spamming local directories is not the way to go but real businesses DO sign up for the right types of online business directories and they have a brand and it’s ok to tell the world about your business. It’s what the web is for. As I said, however, don’t copy and paste your business information because then the Web will think you’re just being an asshole and will punish you. Have patience and when you quality opportunities that are worth your time, spend your time. If it’s too easy or it’s too cluttered, chances are that it’s just a trash place to be and you’re telling Google that you’re just trash by putting yourself there. For the sake of this article and not giving all of our secrets away, you’ll need to find these places yourself or pay us to do it. Just the way it works. The places we’ve researched have taken long and hard work and we’re not giving specific places away here. Back to biz…
- Link-building is important and I’m going to get into it but, believe it or not, your first level of SEO is everything up to here and including a big point I want to make and something I want to reiterate: you’re a business which includes a brand and people talking about your brand. Consumers and Social Network people talk about you as you’re getting started more than highly sophisticated places do so, logically, you start with this.
- One last quick note, don’t believe everything SEO people tell you. There are people that can talk about it and SELL it well and there are people that know what they’re doing. Talk to a few people and do some research on your own. Google Local SEO is about places, about brand, about localizing your site, and being cited and reviewed by people in relevant places.
- Be legit. Google WILL catch you if you cheat and it SUCKS getting banned from Google for a while. WOW.
If you’re still reading this, and at this point, you’ve laid down a nice Tier-1 / Web 2.0 platform for your SEO, the next evolution of this locality and you running a business that sells a product or service is Social Signals.
- Join, socially, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest, YouTube, Blogger, and places like that. Give some updates and don’t, even now, start trying TOO hard to push links to your site. I’m not saying DON’T link to your site but I AM saying that the high-quality profile you created for yourself on these sites is enough to cover a HUGE amount of linkage. The rest is talking about real and relevant things. These real and relvant things get “Likes”, “Favorites”, “Mentions”, “Followed”, “Added to Circles”, and much more. Keep in mind that you need both your main business presence but you should also take advantage of your personal profile by liking and sharing your professional information on your OWN wall to start with. Again, some links are better than NO links but I will remind you the core of all of this – if you’re the best and are a true RESOURCE, you educate others on it in a unique manner. This is what the Internet was always meant to be about.
- At this point, definitely focus on keywords but don’t ALWAYS say things like “houston SEO“, “SEO Houston“, “Houston Web Design“, “Web Design Houston“, “Search Engine Optimization Houston” and “Houston Search Engine Optimization“. Do you see that, even though they’re slight variations, they’re still variations with individual, separate, and individual Search volume.
- Find your favorite keyword research tool (I could and maybe will write an entire piece to just this subject), plug in your main keywords and services, and you’ll see that you’ll get back a list of variations in your search term you THOUGHT was your main once but will also give you contextual relevant terms in the form, many times, of long-tail keywords that people are also specifically searching for but that also lead to support your main target keywords with the honey-pot of Search volume. For us, “Houston Web Design” and “Web Design Houston” are our main target keywords but we include “Houston Website Design”, “Best Website Designers in Houston” and other such variations that are all CONTEXTUALLY relevant and thus feed to the top of the pyramid.
- Go onto all of your pages of your website and hit “Like” and “Share” on each page and post them to both your personal and company pages. If you are in 5-10 Social Networks, post to all of them and you now have that many more links coming in to you while developing your Social platform.
- Guess what??? At this point, you’ve told the world that you’re a real business in a respectful way and the world is sharing your information if it’s worth a share and figuring out of you’re full of nonsense if what you write is worthless.
- If you were monitoring specific keywords or are keeping up in Google Webmaster tools & Google Analytics, you’ll start seeing your traffic build.
- You’ve not also started to build what’s called your Google PageRank or Google PR. It doesn’t happen immediately but you know what people that ARE full of nonsense do? They neglect their business and brand and talk about NOTHING unique or important because THEY DIDN’T EVER CREATE IT AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT! Run a legitimate GOOD business, tell the world about the sciences and benefits of what you’re doing, and get the world EXCITED to have you on the web. YAY!!
You’re local. You’re a business. You have people talking about you. You’re getting traffic. THIS IS WHAT SEO IS ABOUT. Granted, to have a LOT MORE people doing all of the above is HUGELY propelled when they are ALSO in the organic listings (the ones underneath the Local listings). Local listings aren’t EASY to get but they are a LOT easier than the REAL Organic SEO listings. So now let’s get some of those!
When you started, you were nameless. Your website sucked but it was ok but you’re not SELLING websites so it was ok. Now it’s time to get serious if you’re really going to do this.
You need to have 10-20 pages of content that are intelligently but but not stuffingly written for conversion about your subject manner. Talking about just how good you are and how cool you are and having cute little photos does nothing for you.
- What statistics do you have on your industry?
- What is it you do differently?
- How do people better their lives with the service or product you’re trying to contribute and promote on the web? Using my penis-pill example, you don’t just write about Viagra. You don’t just write about the dosage. You don’t just put the warning and ingredients. That’s everywhere and whoever was on the Web with that information first is already there and has been there longer so you’ll never do anything or improve against them in any meaningful capacity. Instead of just saying, “buy my penis-pills”, talk about how the medication helps people live a more fulfilled marriage life, how better sex leads to better marriage, and maybe discuss the culture and psychology behind sexual enhancement. Now you’re valuable. Now you have a personality. Now your brand shines! It’s cool AND NECESSARY to have the lead-gen centralized brochure page but create content that makes the product a BRAND that SOLVES A PROBLEM and YOU are the AUTHORITY on the subject of doing this.
- Minimize, at the same time, randomness and saturation of meaningless content, products, and services that are NOT your core that you’re going to neglect and NEVER copy other people’s content. At THIS point in the blog-post, I’m at almost 2200 words written on my subject. I have THICK content that is actually educational and useful. Of course, I’d love you to pay us to do this WELL for you because I’ve learned from MANY years of mistakes but, at the same time, you will walk away from this article knowing SOMETHING new.
- When was the last time you updated your website? Is it up to current code standards? IS IT MOBILE-OPTIMIZED??? Do whatever you need to do if you’re going to be a player on the web and bring your site and brand up to date, especially if you’re going to be a player. Getting customers and readers on your site can bring YOU business or it could REMIND THEM that they NEED the service but maybe your NOT great website has convinced them they DO need it but they DO NOT need it for you. Convert them to be a client to you IMMEDIATELY. Get them EXCITED on your brand. They’ll NATURALLY buy from or engage you and tell OTHERS about it. “Remember how we were talking about having our websites done? I found this company IOM Partners of Houston, TX and they looked REALLY cool! I called their LOCAL number and see they have an office in East Downtown Houston, close to us, and you should check them out!”. This conversation really actually does happen. Happened to us TODAY, as a matter of fact, which was a huge inspiration for me writing this. Be mobile and convert for all devices. Busy business people need QUALITY local information, look for the top results, and then buy and go on with life. That’s good business to have coming in! Google gives MUCH higher importance to people with mobile business accessibility, ESPECIALLY in results from searches on mobile devices.
- So how you have a website that’s starting to look and act like a business. Wouldn’t it be crazy if people were taking the next logical step, now, and linking back to you from the web? WELCOME TO LINK-BUILDING! Link-building can be done by guest-blogging (meaning writing unique expert content and putting on other people’s sites and, in turn, getting links back from them to your site), it can come in the form of Press Releases, Article Submissions to article directories, and many other forms. There are definitely link-building services that do this for you but you have to make sure that they’re doing this in a respectable manner that’s a unique and effective marketing strategy. Buying 100,000 links from worthless sites isn’t working anything and will get you punished. Writing an article and getting it published on whitehouse.gov with a link back to your site isn’t easy but guess what happens if you DO get something high-up like this: Google says, WOW, THIS MUST BE REALLY IMPORTANT!” and gives you the advantage. It’s better to generate 5-10 GOOD links per week that 100 really crappy ones. This takes time but once you get it right and make it part of your daily process, you’ll get links but guess what… YOU’RE GETTING TRAFFIC! Traffic is the GOAL and the reward is conversions. Getting an article published on whitehouse.gov with your information on it is JUST AS GOOD if not BETTER, even, than having your website ranked and you STILL get the back-link. Double the fun!
- If you get a chance to make a choice for your link-back text, link to your brand, keyword variations, your URL, etc. Don’t JUST link to your money keywords!!!
- If you’re not a write, HIRE ONE! Or just don’t do SEO at all… It just needs to happen… Content needs to be created… Nobody knows YOUR subject and model better than YOU so do it correctly!
- Doing things the right way (or pay someone that will).
Media is Vital! Share documents, video, etc.!
- Take articles, press releases, and other media that you create and make into video and share it with links back to your site from YouTube, MetaCafe, Vimeo, etc., DocStoc, Scribd, and others! Of course there’s a right and wrong way to do this and I’m not giving away ALL of the sauce but you see where I’m going, here.
- Not only do you get a new place with a lot of visitors seeing your content but guess what… THESE places allow you to place a link back to your site as well as longer descriptions, meaning you can squeeze in extra brand and locale information vs, for example, Twitter that only allows you 140 characters per post.
Fruits of the labor…. MEASURED!!!
- I’m pretty sure you want to start seeing the fruits of your labor. It’s free to do this! With the same login and password you used to register your business and sign up for Google+ and sign-up for both Google Anlytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I’ll likely have to circle-back on the proper use of these two tools but get started with them, yourself, for now. It’s pretty straight-forward. They’ll tell you who’s looking at your site, what they’re searching for, who links to you, and even how much Social activity people are engaging in with you.
- From here you can see which pages are performing better, etc.