Once upon a time, when thinking of marketing a business, your primary focus of reaching your audience revolved around ads in newspapers, magazines, television, billboards, and radio. With the accelerated evolution of the internet, social media, and search engines, marketing has to take more paths to ensure your customers see your message. Safari Digital says that 61% of marketers feel online success is attained from SEO. As a result, businesses are allotting an average of 41% of their marketing budget to target search engine optimization.
What is SEO?
You have heard the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization before, but what does it mean, and why is it important? According to Mail Chimp, “Search Engine Optimization is the process used to optimize a website’s technical configuration, content relevance and link popularity so its pages can become easily findable, more relevant and popular towards user search queries, and as a consequence, search engines rank them better.”
Keywords: The Fuel of SEO
What this means to you as a business owner is the incorporation of keywords (words or phrases commonly searched for on search engines) in headlines, descriptions, and page information on your website is echoed correctly when your customers search online. To a customer, it means you are directed to exactly what you are searching for quickly and easily. This is especially important because you want your company to be seen by prospects who are most likely to convert into customers, and that flow of traffic is directed to your website. SEO is about aligning your website with what your ideal customer is searching for, making it easier and quicker to find your website.
The main focus in SEO is optimization; this is achieved by structuring your website to rank highly on a SERP or search engine results page, confirming traffic is funneled to your page. The ultimate goal is to be the top result when someone enters keywords associated with your business. The volume of ads from the search engine results pages heavily depends on what users search for. This is not achieved overnight and takes maintenance to retain a high position.
Construct your Optimization
You might be asking how can I become the top search result?
- Write a lot of content. Using links, and having a vast diversity of specific keywords defining your goods and services will help your ranking over time. But these are not the only factors in the equation; persistence and trial and error play a significant role in figuring out what will work best.
- Lay the foundation. The longer your website has been active and accruing authority and links, the better off you will be. Follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to lay the groundwork for your website and prepare for your search engine optimization. A robust built-in network (i.e., blogs or social media accounts YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, for example) to share new content with or establish page traffic will help rank your keywords moving forward.
- Keyword targeting. A crucial aspect of SEO, use the precise amount of keywords in the exact place, and your site will ascend in the search results. Historically, the best strategy was to pack as many keywords as possible. However, data now shows that too much content is penalized by search engines algorithm. Keeping your site clean, organized, and focused is essential. Try creating resources relevant to each set of semantically related keywords.
Chose keywords with good search volumes that are related to what you do. For example, if you have a party planning business you might target “how to cook for a party,” but “how to cook rice” will not be relevant to your desired audience.
Be aware of the competition and how they incorporate similar keywords, do your research and pay attention to the competition’s domains and URLs, titles, content (i.e., blogs, social media pages), and types of businesses that rank highly in search results.
Do Not Be Scared to Be Unique
You are looking for ways to distinguish yourself from your competitors. For example, there might be two or three times as many searches for “cars with good gas mileage” vs. “Toyotas with good gas mileage.” This is good for traffic, however, if a keyword is too competitive, you will see a lower return on your investment. This is where persistence and patience are essential. There are many resources available online some are free but, most require a subscription fee that will research and check the competitiveness of the keywords.
If your business sells more than one thing, create a separate landing page optimized for each good or service. Search engines and users both desire content that is exclusive and helpful. Experiment with different configurations; don’t be scared to try different approaches to find what works best.
Know your Goals
Be aware of your intent. Intent is the best estimate of what a user is genuinely searching for. The easier it is to gauge the searcher’s goal, the easier it is to populate the results users are searching for. The following keywords, for example, become more precise the further you progress through the list.
– Cheap cars
– Cheap cars with good gas mileage
– Cheap fuel-efficient cars for sale
From this example, you can see what the user was genuinely searching for is inexpensive fuel-efficient cars to purchase from their last search term. The previous search terms are not clear what their intent is if they are looking for cars, cheap cars, or cheap cars with good gas mileage. It isn’t until the final term you can see what they are searching for.
When you finally get your keywords to an optimal status, now it’s time to promote. Share your content on all social media accounts from your personal and business accounts. Stimulate your page by directing traffic to it from as many roads as possible. This is where the help of a marketing and advertising employee or agency may be helpful.
There are a few crucial areas where your keywords need to appear to assist your ranking for relevant searches. These critical areas are the URL, first paragraph and first sentence, subheads, image file names, meta descriptions, and related content links.
Metadata: Your Virtual Shop Window
Metadata is best described as your “virtual shop window.” Users first see your meta title and meta description on the search engine results page. Both of these combined is your metadata. What meta title and meta description is populated at your “virtual shop window” will be the deciding factor if users click on your link.
SEO, like any other form of marketing, takes regular maintenance and attention to perfect. It is not cut and dry and takes a lot of practice to improve. Like everything else, practice makes progress.
It is often difficult to focus on search engine optimization because feedback and results are not as apparent and upfront as in other forms of marketing. So it can be easy to ignore or believe it is not as critical in your marketing budget. However, with the world evolving toward a more digital presence, it is easy to see its importance into the future.
Still fuzzy on how to make SEO work for your business? The experts and digital marketing doyens at Code & Color are here to help make the most out of your website and to make your digital presence seen and heard. The expertise doesn’t stop there; reach out if you need assistance with logos, websites, apps, social media, and print. Code & Color is here to help.
Blog by Jimmy Cooper, Marketing Coordinator