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An Ounce of Prevention - 16 SEO Tips

We all know the expression "An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure." What this means to your standard small to medium business is that having your web designers and developers use SEO principles when designing your site in the first place can often get you the search engine rankings your business needs to survive without having to resort to the "pound of cure" of expensive SEO Companies.

Below find 16 SEO tips. One tip for every ounce in a pound.

1. Identify your niche. What makes you different from the other companies out there doing similar things to you? For instance, if you are a landscaping company, do you engage in design⁄build projects and really excel at water installations? If so, focus on this! It's the root of your future success. There will be something that differentiates you from the others. Find it, know it and embrace it. You can be the 40th copy center in town but if say you're the one closest to downtown then there's your competitive edge.

2. Analyze the competition. Chances are high that not only do you have competitors but also that those competitors are doing the web thing right. Even if they are NOT doing the web thing right, take a good long look at their sites. Figure out what their strategy is. Try to see what they are doing right. Analyze too what they are doing wrong. And then see if you or your design and marketing team can come up with any ideas on how to do it all better.

3. Make juicy content. Provide content that is engaging and worth reading. If the written content of your site - the copy - is interesting then the visitor will actually spend time reading them. They will remember your site and quite possibly even return. If you are a small to medium business and have no one on staff who can write well then it is important to find someone who can. Ask friends and colleagues if they know a copy writer. Check your network. If you need to, hire out for that content: having good content is an essential part of your SEO strategy.

4. Make the site feel user friendly. People coming to your site will make up their minds like that (snapping fingers sound) about whether your site is worth the time to look at. If your site is cluttered, confusing, difficult to navigate or (ahem) ugly, then it is going to do a wonderful job of alienating potential site visitors.

Make your site nicely designed, usable and well organized. If you don't have your own designers, then find a local web design firm that can do the job for you. You will want to use a company that knows SEO. Try a search string like "web design location" with your town or city's name in the location string. Look through the results on the first page and see if there is a firm that looks: a) within budget b) professional c) savvy with SEO site building (they will already know many of the steps listed in this article).

A hint: don't take them at their word. Ask them for examples of sites they have worked on that will back up their claims of being good at designing sites with SEO in mind. If they say for instance that they are responsible for number 1 results for search strings like "pool restoration Calgary" or "well diggers Adelaide" substantiate those claims. See if the number 1 site has a "designed by ____" tag at the bottom. The proof will be in the pudding.

5. Identify your key search strings. How are people going to be using Bing or Google to find you? What are people going to write in that search bar? It will sometimes not be what you suspect it's going to be.

Tie this in with point number 1, above: think of your niche specialization when identifying your key search phrases because that can be what gives you the competitive edge with your SEO strategy.

There's some valuable help for you provided by Google. Look at Google Insights. There is a lot of help here not only to understand how saturated your key search string may be but also what some alternatives there are out there that you can target. For instance if you are focusing on "cabin rental Ontario" the Insights result shows you not only similar terms but also "Rising Searches:" dramatically shifting trends in related search strings.

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Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies

Social media continues to evolve at breakneck speed, and the savvy marketer needs to keep up. This bestselling guide to social media marketing covers the newest vehicles, including Groupon and Rue La La, location-based services like Foursquare, and new social networking sites like Google+ and Pinterest.

Checklists, case studies, and examples will help you decide the best places to spend your marketing dollars, and you'll learn about valuable social media tools and analytics methods that can help you assess the success of your efforts. It is the perfect guidebook for the social media strategist, website manager, marketer, publicist, or anyone in charge of implementing and managing an organization's social media strategy.

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