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SEO is a complicated beast. Google is constantly changing their parameters in order to weed out people who take shortcuts to rank higher. This means that the requirements for good SEO are always changing. However, there are a few basic things you can do to give you the best possible chance of ranking.

Have a high-quality site

Google’s definition of exactly what defines a ‘high quality site’ changes a lot. However at the very least they want to know that the people visiting your site will be satisfied with what they find. That might involve lots of additional content, or just straightforward information displayed simply. It depends on each individual business. You’ll be penalised for not making sure everything is mobile friendly. You should definitely avoid naughty things like hidden backlinks and too many forced third-party ads.

Use keywords

So you want your post to stand a chance of ranking when a user searches for a certain topic. You need to be using keywords associated with that topic (shock, horror). For example, if you were writing about baking, you need to make sure you actually use the word a lo. It’s not something that should cause much panic, since you’ll mention what you’re writing about when you write about it. Google’s bots tend to scrape the first few lines of each piece of content, so make sure you make a few references to your subject matter in the first few lines. However, you also remember to keep it sounding natural.

 Have your keyword in your URL

In much the same vein as the previous point, make sure that your keyword appears in the URL of the page. Whichever CMS you’re using, you should be able to edit your URL to make it say what you want it to. It also helps to bear in mind that once you’ve settled on a URL, it’s best not to change it, because it goes without saying that you’ll be sharing it across your thriving social media channels. Don’t have those yet? No biggie. Check out how to get started here.

Use Plugins to help you

If you’re using WordPress there are plugins that can help guide you through the process of implementing great SEO. For each post you write, plugins like Jetpack will keep track of how many times you’ve mentioned your keyword. They’ll also remind you to add in anything you’ve forgotten, like those pesky pictures. You’ll be able to update your meta description so that you can make it something attractive to your demographic, rather than simply the 160 characters that just happen to get picked up by Google’s bots.

Keep your site active

We’ve mentioned that you could benefit from having a good level of extra content on your site, and that’s one way to keep it active. If that’s not something you’re going for, you at least need to be keeping all of your information up-to-date. This allows the the powers-that-be (Google) to see that you’re still maintaining the site. If they don’t see any signs of activity they’ll question the quality of the UX, and if you’re not careful you might see your account slipping down the rankings.

seo

Like we mentioned at the beginning of this, the rules for SEO are constantly changing, which makes it difficult to stay on top of everything. The thing to bear in mind, though, is that Google are ultimately looking for high-quality sites with good information. As long as you have one of those, you’ve got off to a great start with SEO. If you’re looking for a more in-depth insight, check out HowNow to find experts who can teach you.

Google Adwords is a great tool for marketing your business. It’s a good leveller, because newer businesses can compete for exactly the same space with huge and established companies. But is it always worth it? It very much depends upon your specific business, your ultimate goals, and how much work you’re willing to put in. We made a list of pros and cons, because we’re nice and we want to help you make the right decision.

Pros of Google Adwords:

  • You set your own budget with Adwords. It can be relatively cheap to get started, which is a bonus if you don’t know yet if it’s worth doing and you’re just trying to experiment. You only pay when people are clicking on your ads, so if something’s proving unsuccessful the only effect will be a lack of traffic to your site rather than a big financial outlay.
  • It’s very possible for anybody to learn how to use Google Adwords. The fact that you can set your own budget allows for fairly low-cost trial-and-error, but Google also provide lots of helpful materials and guidance, since it’s in their interest for you to be able to use their system. In addition, the internet is full of blogs that detail tips and tricks for getting ahead with adwords and there are even online classes to help you.
  • If you’ve just launched a site, it can be difficult to get people to visit by SEO alone. Google adwords allows you to put your site front-and-centre, at the top of the most popular websites in the world. There’s no other way to achieve that kind of exposure when your business has only just launched, making adwords a great option for new companies.
  • You can target your adwords campaign so that you only reach people who are specifically interest in the thing you are specifically marketing. Adwords gives you the ability to narrow down exactly the demographics you’re aiming to hit and make sure your ad isn’t being clicked by people who are never going to convert.

Cons of Google Adwords

  • Clicks to your Google ads can be expensive if you don’t keep an eye on your campaigns. You need to keep an eye on your account to make sure you’re not spending more money than you intended to. Adwords isn’t something you can just leave ticking over in the background without paying at least a little bit of attention to it on a regular basis.
  • As we’ve mentioned before, Google is one of the most popular websites in the world. That means it’s a very popular place to advertise. You’ll be up against people who work with adwords for a living. They’ll be able to spend day after day honing their campaigns, while you might have a thousand other things to be doing. You might come against companies with higher budgets, who can afford to pay more money for the same clicks you’d otherwise get.
  • You’ve got a 25 character title, and two 35 character sentences to attract visits to your website. If you’re a wordsmith that’s no problem, but if crafting perfect lines doesn’t come naturally to you, or if your concept is complicated, it may be hard to attract traffic.
  • As in the Pros, adwords is a great way to attract traffic to your site quickly. The thing is, without also paying attention to SEO, it won’t work forever. You need a site with lots of content and good SEO in order to keep the momentum you build up with short-term spikes in traffic coming from adwords.

In conclusion…

What we’re trying to say is that Google Adwords is always worth trying out. It might be incredibly successful for you. However, if it’s not, there’s no point flogging a dead horse. If you’re not having much luck with adwords but you’re getting lots of engagement on, say, Facebook, or in-person, then focus on that. Don’t forget to check out HowNow for more tips and tricks.