One common pitfall that causes self-published websites to fold is their failure to reach their target audience. Once a site goes online, it has to compete with millions of other websites offering similar content for end users.
This is where SEO comes in. It is a way to build and manage websites and ensure that they reach the right corner of the online market. Some online businesses opt to hire SEO companies that are geared exactly towards marketing websites and improving their ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, if you cannot afford hiring a professional to do this for you, there are alternative ways you can do to make sure your target audience reads your published online content. Here is a quick step-by-step guide on using SEO tools to market and sell your website without paying a single cent.
- Research your market. You can do this by including a simple exit survey form on your website for your visitors. It will give you an idea of the kind of people who visit your website.
- Research your competition. When you have an idea of what kind of online business you want to establish, you can begin researching just how tough the competition is. The search engines can help you here — simply type out competitor site names or keywords related to your business.
- Research keywords. When you have chosen your website’s target audience, it’s time to choose keywords you will use for your content. You may already have some words and phrases in your mind, but you can improve your choices with a keyword research tool.
These tools will allow you to find popular keywords and related terms easily. Google Adwords has a built-in keyword tool.
- Search specific locations. If you have a brick-and-mortar establishment, geographic location is an important aspect of research that you need to cover. You will want to utilize localized search engines for your market research.
- Write targeted content. Now that you know just who you’re talking to, you should write audience-specific and relevant content. Make sure that your web content is well-written and fun to read — this will increase your site traffic regardless of your SERP ranking.
- Link to related websites. To make sure that your target market sees your website, you need to make it more visible to them. You can do this by asking well-established related sites to add your URL to their link resources.
- Blog. Blogs are an excellent online marketing tool because every new post is indexed separately in search engines. You can hire bloggers or ask your blogger friends to promote your website in their posts.
- Go social. Social networking is an excellent way to reach not only your target audience, but also other people who might be interested in your website. It also helps increase your site popularity through word-of-mouth.
Creating an account in social media networks like Facebook is free, and you can also use their built-in ads function to promote your site if you have the money to pay for sponsorship.
- Pay for sponsored results. If you want your website to always come on top of web searches, you can pay search engines to feature your site in sponsored search results. These are listed separately from organic search results, often on top of SERPs.