SEO has been a cornerstone in marketing for over 10 years. Nearly every year there's the talk of the new search engine optimization tactics you need to put into play. But the reality for most businesses is that SEO is an expensive investment, one that there is rarely budget for.
To combat leaving SEO on the back burner for yet another year, here are the 4 simple ways you can incorporate SEO into your daily marketing activities. The best part? Nearly all of these tactics require little to no budget. The only outlay you need to make is time.
1.Learn how to do basic keyword research
The truth is, everyone should know a little bit of keyword research. At the very least, you should take the time to learn the terminology. Resources like Moz can teach you the basics of keyword research and intent.
Entrepreneurs like Neil Patel have created freemium software like Uber Suggest for users like you. Altogether, there are numerous FREE ways to understand the basics of keyword research.
If you understand a bit of this, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions when conducting your research or hiring someone else to do it for you. Which is important. If you ask anyone who's hired an SEO agency in the last few years, they're likely to tell you a horror story of the companies they went to before they found the right one.
Understanding how keywords work and play into your digital marketing strategy will help you hire the right person the first time- instead of adding your name to the list of people who have been burned by their search engine optimization agency.
2.Create a sitemap
Though a sitemap isn't the first element that comes to mind when you think of SEO, it's an important one. Having a sitemap helps search engines crawl your website and understand the structure of it. This is especially important because Google ranks pages, not singular websites.
You can use tools like Yoast to create a sitemap easily. From there, you can set up Google Search Console and submit your sitemap. All you have to do is upload your sitemap to the search console and Google will queue your website for crawl (and use your sitemap to do so).
Consider Google Search Console your liaison between you and the world's biggest search engine. With search console set up, you can monitor the health of this sitemap too. The system will notify you of coverage errors- allowing you to fix problems faster.
3.Look for guest posting opportunities
Think of guest posting as one of the easiest forms of digital PR there is. Consumers and clients alike flock to digital hubs that have a community. Facebook is the world's largest social network for a reason, after all.
To tap into that community and get the word out about your business, look to guest post in communities you want to be apart of in order to start a conversation with your target audience.
Not only does this help you expand your brand portfolio, it allows you to build authority through blogging and SEO. Google likes websites with strong backlinks from communities in the niche that truly know what the niche wants. So do consumers.
The truth is, despite the digital world consuming our day to day lives- we still look to the opinions of our peers to make purchase decisions (and opinions on the world around us).
Guest posting in your niche allows you to contribute to that narrative and make your voice heard. Align yourself with other websites and brands that strengthen your message and increase your authority.
This can start as basic as creating a list of blogs in your industry that you respect and reaching out or as complex as researching contenders in the keyword space and attempting to build a relationship from cold outreach.
4.Optimize your blog posts before you click publish
Nearly everyone has a blog. Even if you're not posting regularly, chances are that you plan to in the future. Blog posts are one of the quickest and easiest ways to up your SEO, after all. That being said, it's not enough to just post. You'll want to optimize your posts for real-life readers and spiders.
This can be as simple as making sure your alt texts and metas are filled out or as complex as using Uber Suggest during the topic ideation to write with key phrases in mind.
You don't have to be an SEO expert to start aiming for keywords. Even if you're unable to rank for those keywords at this point in time, optimizing to the best of your ability is well worth the additional thirty minutes. Not only does it help get you in the mindset of creating blog posts with a purpose, but it also gives an identity to your content and helps Google understand that content.
For WordPress users, tools like Yoast or all in one SEO can help you achieve these optimizations with zero coding knowledge. For Shopify users, meta information is built into the interface. Regardless of what system you’re on, there is bound to a module or plugin that will help you edit basic metadata without coding knowledge.
Conclusion: A Little Goes a Long Way
Whether you have an SEO budget or not, incorporating these tactics in your daily marketing activities will allow you to create a foundation for your brand. In fact, doing these small tactics will likely save you money when it comes time to hire an SEO agency.
Often times contracts start with cleaning up a poorly maintained site. With these tactics in play, your clean up period will move faster… or better yet, not be needed at all. Either way, you’ll at least do the upkeep is taken to stay consistent and relevant on the web.
What marketing tactics are you putting into play this year? Why? State your case in the comments.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.