Every site owner wants to be number one in the search engines, but when you’re up against a sea of competitors trying to achieve that same goal, it becomes a challenge for you to get noticed. To rank higher in search engines, you don’t need to rely on your web host to help you achieve your goals; White Ivy Design would like to provide you with 3 helpful tips that YOU can use to build your SEO.

Focus on Your Copy

When writing the copy for your website, it’s vital to include keywords and phrases that are relevant to search engines. For instance, take a look at these two pieces of homepage copy for our fictional “Lucky Dog Treats” company:

“Lucky Dog Treats is a US manufacturer of quality dog food and treats, dedicated to keeping your pets happy and healthy. Our affordable brands (such as ‘Lucky Dog Steak Treats’ and ‘Lucky Dog Gravy Goodness’) have been proven to keep the weight of your canines in check, while providing them with the nutrients and energy they need to thrive!”

The emphasis on their “Lucky Dog Treats” brand lets this copy score high in search engines, and the inclusion of keywords like “affordable”, “treats” and recognizable brand-name items makes the copy relevant to both search engines and your customers. Now let’s look at what can go wrong in an introduction paragraph:

“We’re a hard-working and experienced company in the United States, absolutely dedicated to making the best canine food in the marketplace. Our company has several best-selling health brands available nationwide, and a reputation for keeping our customers (and their pets!) satisfied.”

Most of the keywords a search engine takes away from this paragraph are irrelevant, with words like “hard-working”, “company” and “experienced” polluting the copy. Customers rarely type in “experienced canine food company” when searching for a healthy dog food brand. When writing your copy, make sure you’re thinking of what words your customers will use while searching for you.

Provide Free Information

Inside the World Wide Web, content is king! By providing free information relating to your business, you’re drawing in visitors who may not have otherwise found your website. Do you run a carpentry service? Provide a short how-to article on remodeling or using a common power tool effectively. While it may not be your business to teach, you’re giving customers a reason to come back and providing search engines with extra keywords, which in turn brings in more potential customers.

Do-It-Yourself Backlinking

If you see Google being linked on CNN.com, that is considered a backlink to Google; it’s when a website links to an outside website. What makes a backlink so valuable is that almost all search engines use backlinks as criteria when deciding your search engine rank. But thankfully, backlinking is something anybody can do themselves.

The goal of a backlink is to get your link listed on a site that isn’t your own. There are many ways to backlink, like participating in online discussion groups (with a link to your site in your signature) or even requesting a link trade with a larger website. But by far, the easiest method of backlinking is to take advantage of FREE business profile services, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Maps/Places, Hot Frog, Manta and more. These websites are huge and they’re constantly being tracked by search engines, giving you free publicity and getting your link out there. Simply create a profile, list your business address, and let the traffic come to you. You could also take advantage of a pay-per-click system like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, where the advertisements are relevant and non-intrusive to viewers; you only pay if somebody clicks on your advertisement.

White Ivy Design wants to help you achieve your marketing goals. If you’re having any issues optimizing your website, or if you would like us to help you manage your business marketing, call Troy at 218-245-2995 for a FREE web consultation and SEO analysis.

SEO Frequently Asked Questions

“Why is SEO so important?” SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of making your website easy to find using search engines. There are three ways people will find your website: somebody types in your website address (Direct Traffic), somebody discovers your link on another site (Backlink Traffic), or somebody finds your website using a search engine (Organic Traffic). For most businesses, organic traffic is by far the most important. Your business wants to be found and your customers want to find you; SEO is what connects these two goals together. For a site to be optimized, you must make finding your site as simple as possible.

“Does SEO cost money?” SEO itself is free, but how well it’s done is dependent on how well your website is built. A slow, inefficient site will always rank lower than a fast site with a strong foundation. To help with your SEO, there are also pay-per-click advertising solutions that increase your SEO through backlinking, displaying your link on hundreds of sites around the web.

“What are the search engines I should be concerned about?” Currently they are Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

“I just launched my website. How long will it take before it displays in the search results?” It could take up to a full month for your website to be listed in the major search engines.

“How do search engines work?” To list every site on the web, search engines use an automated robot called a “web spider” to crawl through coding, gathering up links and important phrases from pages around the world. After this information is compiled, they send it back to the search engines, where it is then used to list the website. Certain things may prevent the spider from doing their jobs; for instance, Adobe flash sites or pages requiring you to log in slow them down and hurt your SEO.

Websites are business tools with business objectives, and a website’s objective is to sell something. It might be a product, a service, an ad, a reputation, a brand or even a feeling. Once you accept this premise, your online strategy can fall into place. → Read more

The results of a proper marketing campaign are impressive. Not only are you promoting your sales and services (with an admirable return on investment to go along with it), but you’re reaching out to new customers every day. It’s often viewed as a natural result; after all, why invest money in advertising if your company gets nothing out of it? It’s up to you as the business owner to make sure you’re making the most out of every advertisement, so you as well as your audience knows exactly what your business does for them. All it takes is a little planning! → Read more

The press release was long considered the workhorse of public relations; now smart marketers are breathing new life into this marketing tool. → Read more

Copywriting is a critical component of effective marketing. The art and science of copywriting involves strategically writing words that promote a person, product, business, opinion, or idea, with the ultimate intention of having the reader take some form of action.

A good copywriter knows how to figure out what their clients’ customers are buying, not what their client is selling. Yes, you read correctly…what the customer is BUYING, not what the business is SELLING. → Read more

In order to keep up with the rest of the world, computers are constantly upgraded and replaced. But many do not yet realize that computers shouldn’t be thrown into the garbage like most items – several components are very harmful for the environment because they’re not biodegradable, and contain dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, nickel, lithium, and mercury. Older monitors can be even worse, containing around 5 pounds of lead that can contaminate ground water if left sitting outside. If you’re going dispose of your computer, make sure you do so in a way that’s environmentally safe. Follow these steps to make sure that your computer is ready to be recycled: → Read more

Email, Facebook and Twitter are important communication forums, however, tried-and-true methods like direct mail shouldn’t be cast to the wayside. The power of putting a physical piece of quality marketing into the hands of a potential customer can have a mighty impact and help to bolster your online strategies. Whether it’s a brochure, catalog, or postcard with a coupon, direct mail gives your customers something concrete to keep you first in their mind. → Read more

We’re presenting a three-part series focusing on how some “old school” marketing methods still give you the best bang for your buck.

#2—Word of Mouth Long before there was the written word, messages were spread by word of mouth. Still today it is one of the most trusted and reliable forms of communication. Even though social media outlets have brought word of mouth to another dimension, a recent study reported that nearly 75 percent of brand conversations happen face-to-face, while only 10 percent took place online. → Read more

Billboards & Outdoor Advertising Most of you are probably too young to remember the Burma-Shave series of roadside signs that catapulted a little-known brushless shaving cream into the #2 spot in the nation. It all started in Minneapolis, MN in 1925 with a simple verse spread across six signs equally spaced along popular routes. With travelers anxiously awaiting the punch-lines for the clever slogans, billboard advertising was here to stay. → Read more