A small business or a new startup has to make tough decisions very often. Entrepreneurs are frequently short of funding, and they have to pick between the different forms of marketing now available. It is normal for any brand manager and CEO to consider print advertisements, TVCs and radio spots for their products since these platforms are time-tested. However, with the rise of PCs and smartphones, print and TV have taken a backseat. It is no longer alright for an entrepreneur to see SEO as an unnecessary or unwarranted expense. With the advent of online marketing as well as social media marketing, search engine optimization has rapidly replaced the demand for billboard ads, event sponsorship posters and jacket adverts in newspapers. Earlier, it was crucial for small businesses to remain visible on the conventional media platforms. Right now, that is the web, and there is nothing more important than SEO.

Apart from the expense, entrepreneurs shy away from SEO because they believe it to be complicated. Optimization for leading search engines is not impossible even for the first-timers. Contrary to popular belief, it levels the ground for the experts and the beginners. Once you get to know the glossary of it, the trending practices as well as the elements involved, you will realize how easy it is for anyone. Yes, it is true that even the veterans of e-commerce and blogging need expert help from time to time, but we can assure you that before you outsource all your SEO needs, you should take a look at what your site already has for the search engines.

Why do entrepreneurs deem SEO to be tough?

Taking the first step is the most challenging part for any novice webmaster and brand CEO. Knowing where to start is more difficult than maintaining a steady pace of optimization. Google considers over 200 factors as ranking signals for all types of websites. SEO masters have categorized these as on-page SEO and off-page SEO. No matter which kind of optimization factors you need to work on, you should remember that it is nothing more than your time. More importantly, it is more effective in drawing organic traffic and increasing conversion rates than the traditional marketing tactics. In fact, the inbound links cost 61% lesser than outbound links including the time-tested cold calling.

The more you delve into SEO, the more interesting it becomes. There are ways to improve the structure of your site and enhance its appeal to the search engine crawlers by updating its schema markup. In fact, there are uncountable aspects of search engine optimization you need to master before you can call yourself an SEO expert. Nonetheless, there are a few that every webmaster, CEO and digital marketing manager should know before stepping further into the domain of search engine optimization.

Now, the problem with small businesses and startups today is that they are always understaffed. They are always running on a tight budget, so even when they can afford an SEO budget, they cannot go all the way for the all-inclusive-premium SEO services. In several cases, their in-house teams do not have the talent, experience or the resources to handle their SEO requirements. When you face such a difficult situation, what should you do? Do you divide your resources equally? Do you cut corners on your SEO expenses? Do you get a new team? Or, do you work out the importance of each task before implementation?

What is the prioritization of SEO? How can you achieve it?

There is only so much you can invest in your SEO strategy. Whether it is a technical audit or an SEO copywriting campaign, you can just devote a few hours per day to the process. During such procedures, you will come across a mélange of jargons like canonical tags, header tags, redirect updates, URL optimization, image compression and keyword optimization. You cannot expect your in-house team to complete every task within 24-hour duration since it is humanly impossible. The only way to combat this problem is by prioritizing the SEO tasks at hand. For example – if you mostly have long-form articles on your blog, the image optimization may not be a top priority for you at the moment.

It is 2018, and HTTPs is something that is not an option for sites anymore. Google is already flagging the ones with the old HTTP tag as unsafe for all users. It is not a warning anymore. It is a full-fledged campaign to uphold user experience and security above everything else. It will make the web a safer and better place for the web users, but it is going to be an arduous process for the business site owners. Not only do they have to spend a few pretty bucks to keep the organic traffic flowing, but they will also have to procure enough resources to manage the process.

There is no way a website can perform well without a sound content game. If you are a new blog or site, you might want to invest in a copywriting SEO campaign because your competitor is doing so. However, is that going to be beneficial for you if you do not have much to edit? If you have older blog posts from a domain, you may have used previously. There is still a way SEO experts can help you optimize them for visitors in 2018. Without the content, content optimization is definitely not a priority, but content development is. You need to focus on creating genuine, value adding and diverse content types that your target audience would like to read.

Always consider the resources you have at hand, the talent pool and the time before you prioritize the tasks at hand. SEO depends on a plethora of factors and the minute interactions between them to return high profits. When you understand the resources, you have and the ones you need to acquire for the process, optimizing for search engines is going to become as easy as day.

If you have SEO, you must have a way to measure its effectiveness

Having an optimization strategy in place is never enough to drive profits. There might have been a change in the CSS code of your central theme recently or the update of redirects on your domain in the recent past, but how do you know if it is responsible for the rise in views? Sometimes, site admins implement multiple changes to the site structure, code, plugins and other factors. It becomes challenging to tell which changes are contributing to what percentage of traffic unless they have metrics monitoring tools and analysis tools in place.

Whether you are looking forward to implementing a new long-tailed keyword strategy or hoping to change the way your structured schema looks right now; you need to find out multiple methods that can help you track the changes after the implementations. In fact, you need real-time reporting to help you locate the touch points of a consumer’s journey on your site, the traffic diversion points, sources of organic views and the exact places the viewers bounce off your site. Learning about these key metrics will help you understand your site better. You will get a user’s perspective of your site if you can manage to work with a 2D heatmap tool. That will tell you what your visitors want to see and why they are leaving you high and dry right now.

Ignore all the “latest trends” except one

While setting up the list of your SEO priorities, you must remember to think logically. SEO and emotions do not go hand in hand. It is easy to feel hyper-competitive in today’s digital world, but you should not opt for a new strategy because your arch nemesis got it. What works for one business might not be remotely necessary or useful for another. In fact, there have been times when a particular strategy made an e-commerce site but destroyed another. For example – you want to reach your audience via How-to videos and infographics. You should be able to optimize these videos for easy viewing on multiple devices, compress them for easy loading and provide thumbnails for sorting. Now, if your competitor wants to use text blogs to reach their audience, similar optimization techniques will not work for them.

There is just one latest technique you must embrace irrespective of your content type and website type – responsive websites. Without responsive layouts, no sites can reach the ocean of mobile users, who are too busy to sit down in front of a PC. Your mobile traffic might be insignificant at the moment, but that can be an intense reflection of your site’s lack of a mobile-first attitude. Google has declared responsiveness to be one of the leading ranking signals for all websites, and when the king of search speaks, we all listen! To learn more about it, you may go through other resources on the web as well.

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