Secrets, mistakes to SEO strategies

Many companies worldwide are looking to increase traffic to their websites as they build a stronger online presence and expand their consumer base virtually. The most common way to enhance an online offering is to develop and deploy a local SEO strategy, which drives website traffic and sales while growing into new markets.

In a blog piece for Search Engine Watch, SEO expert Adam Stetzer identified some small business SEO campaigns secrets that are reporting high return on investment and helping smaller firms compete with large enterprises. One important component to a successful online campaign is to ensure all website activity is being monitored and reported in the form of analytics.

These figures will help marketers and business owners identify which SEO strategies are attracting new customers and increasing sales, and which campaigns are falling short and must be adjusted or eliminated. Website analytics include traffic sources, how many visitors are from search engines or referrals, keyword performance, time-on-site, bounce rates and overall sales over a period of time, Stetzer said.

In addition, it is important for companies to focus on non-branded traffic, rather than branded, when developing an SEO strategy. Branded traffic is visitors that type in the domain name or use a search engine to find a business they are already familiar with. These visitors have been exposed to the business, most know its name and are likely the result of a public relations, reputation management, advertising or branding campaign, Stetzer said.

Non-branded traffic, on the other hand, comes from visitors who are searching keywords and locations to find a type of business, product or service. These visitors are the direct result of strong SEO strategies that identify what keywords shoppers will be looking for online, and plant this content throughout the website, Stetzer said.

A 2011 State of Digital Marketing Report found small businesses are generating more traffic to their website and creating more leads with SEO strategies than businesses opting for social media-only campaigns or pay-per-click advertising.

The successful small businesses have avoided major pitfalls by only using the appropriate keywords in the development of their SEO strategy, and taking advantage of all title tags to define content on each page and improve SEO rankings. The companies are also ensuring they create consistent messaging and branding across all website pages, and take care of maintenance throughout the website so no content is inaccessible.

Further, successful SEO strategies should involve displaying images throughout the website and creating keyword-specific content to describe products or services to drive SEO results.