Search engine optimization (SEO) can get complicated, perhaps overcomplicated. In desperate attempts to “fool” search engines with link webs, content farms, forum spamming, etc. many SEOs have lost sight of what’s really important: having a well-coded site that presents information in a way that both search engines and humans can easily understand, that's well-represented across the Internet. Here are a few pieces of low-hanging SEO fruit that you can start doing today:

Install Google Webmaster Tools

Google provides a suite of very effective tools that allow you to diagnose problems on a website and communicate that website’s disposition to Google. Resolve any HTML errors, and follow any suggestions that it provides. These tools also allow you to submit a sitemap to Google, compose a robots.txt file and set your geographic target. Want to rank better in Google? Makes sense to do everything this tool is asking you to do, within reason.

Write a Blog

Think about it: why would a website rank well for “pool tables” and pool table accessories if it doesn’t continually provide information about pool tables. No matter how awesome the copy on your page about pool tables is, chances are it’s getting stale, may be even a few years old. Instead of constantly refreshing that content, which can get to be very challenging, use your blog to talk about pool and pool tables. If you sell and service pool tables, then you should be an expert on the subject, with many stories to tell. Tell them, and make sure to include your target keywords whenever appropriate.

Take a Good Long Look at Your Home Page

  • Are at least three of your target keywords or keyword phrases on this page?
  • Are they in actual text and not images?
  • Do you have a meta title and meta description that includes what you do and where you do it?
  • Are H1 and H2 tags being used for your target keywords or for generic website text like “Welcome” and “Contact Us Today?”
  • Are there links to vital site content prominently displayed?
  • Is there body text that discusses what the website is about and the locations associated with it?
  • Is there a blog feed or something else that regularly updates/changes on this page?

Claim and Standardize Your Directory Listings

As Google relies more on co-occurrence and lexical co-citation analysis to determine the popularity of domains (if you didn't understand me on the first part of this sentence, just trust me on this next thing), it's very important that your organization is broadly and consistently represented in relevant and trusted directory websites. This means you need to claim and in many cases correct/update your organizations's name, address and phone number (NAP).

Search engines can't just rely on the name of a business to identify it. A lot of businesses share names with other businesses or are just named the very thing they do (shout out to our valued client Commercial Warehousing, Inc.). However, two businesses with the same name aren't going to share an address or phone number, which is why consistency in your NAP is vital. Even if your business has several points of contact, you'll want to focus your SEO efforts on your primary phone number and address.

The measures discussed above may not be a good fit for every site out there, but for most, following these steps can go a long way to getting your website listed on the first page of search engine results. If you are in a more competitive field,  you might need the help of an SEO expert to compete. If it comes to that, find an agency that's a good fit for your organization's needs. There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” SEO strategy.