More accurately, no upfront or out-of-pocket money investment is needed. Have you got time to invest in your business? Then that is the investment we outline in these 3 straight-forward tips.

One of the most intimidating aspects of becoming a successful website owner is the fear of having to invest money in a process that you are unfamiliar with. Understandably, most small business owners are not confident in their ability to make money with their websites by ranking highly in the search engines, or to manage them easily. And as a result, they often resort to investing gulping amounts of money into search engine optimization campaigns that are managed and executed by professionals. Unfortunately, a number of these campaigns do not offer true success, and the owner is left to handle their SEO campaign independently using their own minimally qualified skills. This is not a good position to be in and is one that is completely avoidable. Read on.

Many of the tasks involved with SEO are repetitive and can become “second nature” as you grow more familiar with the processes. A key ingrediant, aside from the technical aspects of how-to, is simply being in-tune with your market; knowing your target audience and knowing what your competition is doing are required pieces of knowledge. Remember “Current Events” in school? This is that. By the way, here is a funny and useful read on the importance of staying relevant in your profession; transpose profession to marketplace, as necessary: The gorilla in the forest, through the trees by Joel Bancroft-Connors, PMP.

Time, as a commodity in short supply, can be a factor that leads you to the decision to hire somebody to handle SEO tasks for you. If this is the case, keep in mind that the basics of SEO are simple and the art of SEO is complex. Make sure you understand the basics and you will be a few big steps closer to not getting shortchanged by one of the aforementioned SEO campaign outfits. Once you have become comfortable with what the basics are, start looking for a good artist; your budget will likely determine whether you hire Picaso or Pete-the-stick-figure-man, but make certain you do not leave the task unattended.

Here is the information on 3 things you can do yourself to help rank higher in the search engines without spending money on outsourcing and professional SEO specialists.

High Quality Backlinks

Building backlinks is a huge part of raising your website’s authority and being able to rank higher in the eyes of the search engines. Of course, this is directly related to the keywords for your target audience, and the keyword competition has an equally huge factor on your ranking and and budget. A backlink is any link on the Internet that points to your site, or a page or post on your site. The more backlinks your site has, the more popular and authoritative it appears to be from the perspective of the search engine bots.

Many businesses focus on building hundreds, or even thousands, of backlinks in a short amount of time. Using automated software often seems to be an easy out, but many have found that their site has been sandboxed and is no longer even ranked for their desired keywords. Google is actually penalizing websites who use ethically questionable methods of building backlinks, and their alogorythms now also cause a downgrade in your site’s ranking if you have a bunch of links from link farms. The big point here: stay legit and do not take shortcuts.

Build Niche Partnerships

Another free way to enhance your SEO and boost the amount of daily traffic your site receives is to begin building partnerships with other small business owners in your respective niche. Doing this will not only give you additional backlinking opportunities from related websites, it will also bring an influx of traffic from these sites to yours on a daily basis. Ultimately, this will result in increased conversions & sales. One good way to begin building these kinds of relationships is to begin participating in an associated forum or blog, or to use the contact forms commonly found on today’s modern websites; use the form to start a dialogue and then see what happens!

On-Page Optimization

Work to recognize the importance of on-page optimization. It consists of keeping the site updated with quality content and ensuring keywords and keyword phrases are used strategically. Always remember that keyword stuffing is a big no-no for on and off-page optimization. Learn more about this in out short post To Stuff Or Not To Stuff: Keyword No-No. Good site navigation is also a very important component of on-page optimization. Every page should contain links that point to another part of your web site; this will not only help search engines index your site more effectively, it will also simplify the browsing experience for your visitors.