As the driven business owner that you are, you’re likely to have heard the term SEO thrown around in relation to marketing, but if you’re anything like me when I first heard it, you’re probably wondering: what is it in the first place, why is it important, and how can you get started? Well, let me clear those things up for you and help you get started with your own SEO strategy!
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, is “the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.” Essentially, it helps your website move higher up on the list of search results on Google, YouTube, Amazon or other search engines. Since 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines, SEO helps you to work towards that first page and increase your views, clicks, sales and more.
SEO is based on the quality of your website and it’s content, its relevance to what was searched for, how much traffic it receives, how regularly it is updated, and more, but why should you even worry about all of that stuff?
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine, so in order to make the most of these experiences and take advantage of the leads that search engine results provide, SEO should always be a priority in your business’ marketing strategy.
Okay, so now you should have a basic understanding of what SEO is and why it’s important, and hopefully you’re convinced that it’s time to do something about it, but what should you do? I’ve got you covered with 8 tips to get your brand out there with SEO.
Google My Business is a Google product that allows you to manage the information that is presented when your business is searched on Google. 86% of people look up the location of a business on Google Maps and 72% of consumers who perform a local search visit a store within 5 miles of their current location, so making sure this is completed is a vital step towards improving your SEO, especially if you are a local business.
A large percentage of SEO is about making sure your website provides high-quality, accurate and helpful solutions to your customers’ problems as much as possible. To do this, you can find out what your audience is searching for and create relevant content that answers their questions or provides a solution to their problem.
For example, if you own a business that sells coffee beans, your customers might be looking for which type of beans they should use, so you could write a well-researched, informative article on which coffee beans are the best for your customer.
This is only one example for one specific business; there are a million ideas for things to create content about that your customers will find helpful. Just start looking on Google, YouTube, Amazon or Pinterest for popular and related searches around your topic and you’ll have a list of ideas in no time!
72% of online marketers describe content marketing as their most effective SEO tactic, so I promise that this works!
The thing is, creating content is one thing, but what really takes things to the next level is creating regular and consistent content. Not only does creating blog posts, videos or other content on a regular basis help search engines identify you as active and relevant, but 47% of consumers view 3-5 pieces of content created by a company before talking to a salesman from that company. It often takes multiple encounters with your brand and your content for a customer or client to make a purchasing decision, so unfortunately you can’t just post one blog post and be done with it. You need to create content regularly that is consistent with your brand and what your audience is looking for.
Behind your website is a whole bunch of code, and when Google looks at your website, it reads through all of that code to determine how relevant you are to certain search topics. Each of your pages will have meta descriptions that explain what the page is about, and all of your images will contain alt text that explains what is in the image so that if it can’t load the image for some reason, the alt tag will be shown as an alternative.
If you don’t set this metadata and alt tag information yourself, your website will likely select random text from the page, or use whatever the image filename is, and you’ll miss out on the opportunity to boost your SEO.
The metadata for your page should explain what the page is about, and include relevant keywords that you are trying to rank higher in search results for. The alt tags should do the same for your images, explaining what they include and using relevant keywords.
Alt tags and metadata are also used for people who are visually impaired and may use technology to read aloud the alt tags to describe an image, so by paying attention to these details, you’re also helping to create a better experience with your website.
Bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes 2 seconds extra to load and conversion rates fall by 12% for every extra second that it takes your website to load. People are impatient, and these days expect websites to be fast, so if yours isn’t, you’ll suffer the consequences. Search engines look at the bounce rate of your website (how quickly and how often people leave your website) and reward or punish you depending on the results. Load quickly without issues and you’ll move up, but load slowly with things breaking or not working and you’ll be moved down.
Some things that can slow down your website include large images, unnecessary or cumbersome code, high server response times, and a lack of browser caching. You can read more about these things and how to fix them here.
In order to make your article or page seem more relevant to a particular search topic, it's helpful to include links to other high-quality sites that make sense in the context and are also relevant to the topic.
Search engines will look at these sites to see how relevant they are and if everything seems linked to the same topic and provides good content that answers the question or provides a solution, your page will seem more helpful and therefore worth being higher in the results for that topic.
Similarly to including links to other sites on your page, securing links back to your site from other websites is an extremely beneficial strategy for SEO. Whether you write guest articles for other websites, get your own content mentioned or shared on other pages, or get featured in other ways online, the goal is to get a wide range of links back to your site.
The trick is that having multiple links from the same site is not as effective for SEO as getting one referral on many different sites, so try to widen your scope when it comes to acquiring those backlinks.
Moz has a great resource for learning more about backlinks here if you’d like to learn more.
Utilising all of the tips mentioned above will mean nothing if you don’t know the difference it’s making. Whether you use your website-builder’s analytics, Google Analytics or another form of measuring tool, it’s important to take note of how your website is performing now, and how it improves over time to track your SEO efforts.
Analytics can help you to understand who your audience is, how they find your content, how they interact with it and more. You’ll be able to see your customers’ demographics, what they search for to find your website, which content they engage with the most, which pages convert the most leads or sales, how your website’s speed can be improved, and so many more super informative metrics.
To learn more about analytics and how to install Google Analytics if you haven’t already, please check out the beginners guide to Google Analytics from Moz, it’s super helpful and will take you through step-by-step how to get started.
SEO can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Just take these tips one by one and start implementing them slowly to make improvements over time. There are a lot more ways to increase your SEO, but these are easy ways to get started and begin creating a strategy for your business that works for you. I hope that it helps, and I’d love to hear how you get on so please let me know in the comments below, and ask any questions that come up along the way!