50 SEO facts you may not know

The concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) may be new to you. Or perhaps you’re familiar with SEO, but not sure it is all that important to your small business. The truth is SEO is vital to your business site’s success, and here are 50 ways to use it to your advantage.

1.    You need SEO. Want visitors from search engines? Then SEO is absolutely necessary to sort and rank your site for keywords related to your business.

2.    Start SEO immediately. If you procrastinate, your competitors will gain the advantage, and it will become more difficult to move before them in ranking.

3.    Check out the competition. When you plug in your keywords, what sites come to the top of the list? Learn what they have done, on-site and off- to get there.

4.    No SEO strategy is guaranteed. Like snowflakes, no two websites are alike. Because of the many variables, a tactic that worked for one site may not work for yours.

5.    SEO is affordable. It doesn’t take mega bucks — strong content and solid online relationships can deliver big results on a small budget.

6.    Patience is a virtue when it comes to SEO results. Sorry, but it may take weeks, or even months, for you to see the results of the SEO work you’re doing now. However, it will be worth the wait.

7.    Patience is even more of a virtue when your website is new. It takes time to build authority and trust, and until you’ve developed both, you shouldn’t expect to outrank older, more established sites.

8.    Your website is always a work in progress. Keep your website current and constantly improving, and you will keep your rank high to attract visitors and sales.

9.    Adjust to algorithm updates. Adapting your SEO strategy to conform to the evolution of search engines will allow you to attain and retain good rankings

10.  Don’t bother submitting your site to search engines. Quite sophisticated these days, search engines no longer need notification when you’ve created a new website, or added a page to an existing one.

11.  Don’t hazard penalties. A Google penalty will likely result in a significant, often long-term loss of visitors to your site.

12.  You’re responsible for the SEO on your website. Just as the legal system won’t recognize ignorance as a viable excuse for breaking the law, search engines won’t eliminate a penalty when you plead innocent to the violation.

13.  Google Analytics is worth using. You can learn how many people visit your site, the pages they go to and the keywords they used to locate you.

14.  You’ll pay the price for low quality. It’s simply not worth the risk of being penalized to use low quality backlinks and on-site content.

15.  Speak to humans with your content, not search engines. If your content only resonates with search engines, what’s the point? Seek to help, entertain, or persuade real live people.

16.  Don’t repeat yourself. Using the same or very similar content on multiple pages may be cause for penalization.

17.  Consolidate pages. Search engines could downgrade all of your site’s keyword rankings if your pages are too content-light.

18.  Refrain from copying. If content on your site has been copied from another site, your webpage rankings could be downgraded

19.  Create stronger content than your competitors. The content on your first page must be more compelling than that of competitors’ who pop up in a keyword search, or you won’t rank.

20.  Engage visitors with your content. The more interesting your content, the longer your visitors will hang around your site, which tells search engines that your site warrants good rankings.

21.  Create and add videos to your site. Videos prolong visits to your site and provide the opportunity to grab links from video sharing sites.

22.  Add visuals. People like content in the form of stats and charts, graphs and infographics and are more likely to share and link with it than to plain written content.

23.   Bigger is better. More content will get you more rankings, increase the volume of visitors to your site, along with the sales you make. Search engines reward, and visitors have confidence in sites with a lot of high-quality content.

24.  Create a blog for your site. Adding a blog makes it easy to add content on an ongoing basis.

25.  Add content for other sites to post. Visitors will be more likely to link to you if you offer content that they may use on their site or blog.

26.  Market your content. If you fail to market your content, if may be difficult for people to find you. If can’t find you, they can’t link to your content or share it.

27.  Come up with a new title for every page on your site. Within 55 characters you need to make the topic of a page unique and descriptive enough to be clear to both humans and search engines.

28.  Come up with a new meta description for every page. Within 160 characters you need to describe the topic of a page in a unique way that entices people to click on your site rather than others in their search results.

29.  Make sure your keywords are strong. Do your research before optimizing for them. If you choose the wrong ones, you’ll get few visitors and sales, regardless of what you do for on-site and off-site SEO.

30.  Using Google’s keyword tool is a must. When you enter keywords, it generates a solid list of related words and phrases.

31.  Get ideas for your keywords from others. Your customers, suppliers, partners, and friends bring a new perspective to the table, and are all good sources for key words and phrases that may not have occurred to you.

32.  Target relevant keywords. The more relevant your keywords, the easier and quicker it is to rank for them, and the higher the percentage of visitors who will become buyers.

33.  Target keywords that are commercial in nature. Remember, you are looking to bring people to your site who want to do business with you, rather than those who are simply seeking out information.

34.  Bring more traffic to your site with long-tail keywords. Quicker and cheaper to rank, longer, specific keyword phrases of four or more words make up more than 40% of searches.

35.  Include keywords strategically throughout your site. While not as important as they once were, you should still add keywords in urls, page titles, meta descriptions, header tags and image alt tags.

36.  Don’t go overboard with keywords. You could be penalized for “keyword stuffing” if you pepper a keyword phrase too generously over a page.

37.  Backlinks will affect rankings. More than any other factor, the quantity and quality of links pointing to your site will determine your site’s ranking.

38.  Don’t limit backlinks. Building links is something you should be doing on a continuous basis, with no end number goal in sight.

39.  Go to relevant sources for backlinks. Links from relevant sites are indicators to search engines that your site is relevant and they can display your site with confidence.

40.  Go to trusted sources for backlinks. Links from trustworthy sites are indicators to search engines that your site is trustworthy too, and they can display it their search results with confidence.

41.  High quality backlinks may not come easily. Be prepared to work for these prizes. Generally speaking, the more easily a link is acquired, the less its value.

42.  Be cautious when you pay people to link to your website. While purchasing backlinks does work, there is a risk in buying cheap from people who openly sell them.

43.  Don’t join link networks. The risk of being penalized with lost rankings out weights the minor benefits of getting links from networks.

44.  Expand your backlink profile. Go for diverse types of links from a wide range of IP addresses.

45.  Build backlinks to the inner pages of your site. In addition to the homepage, get visitors to link to all the pages you want to rank for specific keywords.

46.  Don’t forget your existing relationships as a backlink source. Ask your suppliers, partners and customers to link to your site.

47.  Add your competition’s solid backlinks. Visitors already linking to your competitors’ backlinks are likely to link to yours as well.

48.  Get backlinks with your keywords as the link text. While this type of link is important, it should only make up less than 25% of your backlink profile.

49.  The bulk of your backlinks should be branded. If your backlink profile doesn’t include mostly branded links (like ‘Company Name’ and ‘www.companyname.com’), it tells search engines that you’ve been using manipulative link building tactics.

50.  Know who is linking to you. You can find out who has been linking to you using Google Search Console. Just go to ‘Traffic’ and then ‘Links’ to learn how many and what sites are linking to you.