If you spend a lot of time on the Internet (it’s OK, you can admit it), you might not realize it, but you’re consuming a very carefully planned out system of content. Every BuzzFeed list, every HuffPo slideshow and every plain old news story have been optimized so you can find them more easily. It’s all thanks to SEO marketing.
But what does that mean, exactly? SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is the latest go-to tool for landing serious traffic numbers for popular websites. It’s not hard to get involved in SEO marketing; in fact, it’s pretty much required for every site that’s serious about its visibility. Here’s how you get started.
When Google was still a research project in a California garage, it relied on 10 different 4-gigabyte hard drives to power its PageRank search algorithm. In order to cut costs, its founders built storage compartments for those hard drives out of Lego bricks. This humble origin story is meant to inspire every burgeoning website on the Internet — if Google had to rough it at the beginning, there’s hope for your ramshackle project, too.
Searching for the next big thing
While those early Google stories are cute, they don’t give you a license to sit around waiting for all the magic to happen. If you want your site to make it, you have to get traffic, plain and simple. One of the most immediate ways to a higher click rate is through SEO marketing, especially through the creation of stellar content on a very consistent basis. Make a blog and register a Twitter account — then use them. How else are you going to climb to the top of the Google rankings?
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
OK, so that was totally stolen from a Fleetwood Mac tune (or Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign), but the idea is the same. Having a website and promoting it have almost become simple prerequisites to success in today’s highly competitive online landscape. You need to start thinking about expansion. By 2014, mobile web use is set to eclipse desktop browsing, so start optimizing your site for smartphone and tablet screens. Spare no expense, either — users positively loathe long loading times.
Staying local, going organic
No, I’m not talking about buying from the little produce stand down the block from your apartment (though that’s not a bad idea, either). More users are using search engines to find services in their immediate geographic area, which means it might be a good idea to start optimizing your SEO marketing campaigns to that end. Additionally, no user is going to remember you from a paid ad in a pink box. Strive to make all your SEO marketing efforts based on creating natural, organic content that users can discover on their own.