First off, your website needs to look professional. If your website looks like someone’s teenager did it five years ago, no one is going to trust you or your company for advice or “quality” products. The quality of the website must represent the quality of what you are offering.
Think of your website like a store front. Which will get more business: a dingy back alley garage or a polished, well lit and friendly shop?
It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a nice looking website these days. If this isn’t your expertise and you don’t want to learn or have difficulty with technology, hire someone to set up and design a WordPress website for you. Once set up, anyone who can send an email can easy add pages and write in a WordPress blog. Be sure if you hire someone that they’re willing to give you training and to give you full control of your website. You don’t want your website to disappear because the little designer you bought the website from canceled paying for your website hosting. Check out my Questions You Should Ask Your Website Designer.
2) Research Your Keywords
It’s hard to optimize your website to the right keywords if you don’t know what keywords to shoot for. A great keyword researcher should be reasonably priced and should offer some analysis and explanation of what the research would be best used for. IE: Which keywords to focus on and why.
Note: This will also be handy if you want to purchase Google Ad Words.
3) Write Great Content
Using your keywords make sure they’re worked into useful articles, the introduction of your website, your about us page and more. Make sure you’re using the right terminology in your page titles and in your services and product descriptions.
Build a blog and schedule to write in it regularly. Nothing will kill a website faster than a dead blog that doesn’t get regularly updated.
4) Create Other Keyword-Rich Content
Don’t forget other digital media. Videos and images are beginning to get prime spots when people search for information. Just make sure your video has a proper description with the right keywords and a good keyword-rich title so search engines rank it right. Also, you added a link to your website at the bottom of the video… right?
Photos can be tagged with meta-data and ALWAYS give them a name that is keyword rich.
Podcasts are also a great way to drive traffic back to your website. Again make sure the keyword rich content is there. As a bonus, hire a transcriptionist to type out each broadcast. Not only do you make your podcasts accessible for the hearing impaired, but also that’s a lot of rich, useful content that search engines crave! Posting transcriptions of each podcast can be a great way to help your SEO.
5) Post in Other Locations
Become an expert on a few local forums and comment on other people’s blogs with helpful tips. Link back to relevant useful info, don’t just spam. IE If someone asks a question on a forum about how to install WordPress I’ll get a few tips and then link back to my blog post that also has a video tutorial on how to do it.
This is called “back linking” but it is MOST effective when other people Share your website, link to it from other websites, talk about in in their blogs, etc. Some of this is best done through being helpful and establishing relationships that may work out in the long run.
6) Capture Your Online Listings
Google Places, Yellowpages.com, Yelp.com, AngiesList.com, Manta.com and other online local listings will often find and pull raw basic information about small businesses, but did you know you can take ownership of these? If your information is NOT there, put it there! It’s free and many of these listings have high rankings for relevancy. They’re free listings (yes you can pay for adding special advertising things on them, but the primary listing is free!)
Also look for places that are offering free local listings in your area. For instance, in Louisville for example you can list your business at the Louisville Independent Business Association’s website. http://www.keeplouisvilleweird.com/
7) Interest People in Sharing Your Content
The more useful and engaging your content, the more people will share, tag and spread your links. The more people talk about you and share your links, the more search engines sit up and take notice, giving you a better ranking for the various keywords you’re becoming popular over.
Contests, forum discussions, engaging questions on Twitter and Facebook, tagged photos on Flickr and Tumblr, all of these and more can help drive traffic to your website and increase your SEO.
In closing, if you can only pick one thing to Search Engine Optimize your website, choose creating useful content. It’s by far the most valuable start to SEO out there.