What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is a collection of tools and best practices that help your website rank higher in search engine results, thereby driving more traffic to your site and potentially more business.
However, although SEO once involved adding keywords to your site for search engines to find, SEO in 2018 is far more complex and involves a much broader scope of considerations.
Nowadays SEO is a full-time job for small businesses and many are turning to website design and marketing experts such as Pronto for support.
How to Create an SEO strategy
Forget what you think you know about SEO and start thinking about it as an ever-evolving field. As users’ behaviors and search engines’ capabilities develop over time, standards come and go in the blink of an eye.
Assuming you can skip SEO and just ‘wing-it’ might keep you from reaching your full business potential.
It’s not just the online marketing industry that’s evolving; your business’s industry is also maturing. So when it comes to SEO, you really can’t “set it and forget it.” You need to be monitoring and tracking how well everything is working so you’re always one step ahead of the competition.
Here are a few points you need to consider when working out an SEO strategy:
- Who is in your target market? – SEO today is not about just grabbing as much traffic as possible, but instead attracting high-value visitors interested in what you offer. In terms of demographics, what is your market searching for? How are they performing web searches? Where are they located? The more specific your answers, the more valuable your investments in SEO become. Google Analytics is a good place to start your investigations!
- Most people search on mobile devices – You don’t need statistics to show you that in the past few years the online mobile market has exploded, overtaking desktops years ago. Optimizing websites for mobile browsers is critical if you want to rank well in search engine results pages. If you’re unsure how your website measures up, enter your site’s URL in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Search engines are expanding – When someone mentions search engines, do you automatically assume they’re talking about Google? The tech giant has such a big share of the market that ‘Googling’ has become a verb. However, a significant portion of searches take place on alternative sites, such as Microsoft’s Bing. Make a point to search for your site on Google alternatives to see where you rank. Just improving social media engagement and adding meta tags might be all it takes to boost you a couple ranks on Bing.
- What’s your audience searching for? – Just a few years ago, the average user didn’t trust search engines to understand conversational questions. They were searching with clunky phrases like “flower delivery new york.” Now people feel comfortable typing in things like “who delivers roses near me?” Changes in searcher habits are usually subtle, but will affect which keywords will be most valuable for your site. Instead of focusing on keywords that get you more traffic, focus on those that translate into conversions, revenue and profits.
Simple navigation reigns and quality content is king – A user-friendly website, with interesting and easy-to-find information is what will boost your traffic. Each page needs to be built around keyword themes, with unique content, so search engines can easily index yours and rank you higher. Positive behaviors from site visitors is your best bet for a better ranking, so keep the content natural and focused; avoid jargon and keyword stuffing to keep users from leaving the site unhappy and hurting its ranking.
- Links to your site are extremely valuable – When another website links to yours, search engines consider that an indicator that your site contains valuable content. Not so long ago, getting dozens of links from low-quality sites was all it took to boost your ranking. Today, the value of a link to your site depends on the quality of the site that linked to you. Just a few links to your business from high-traffic sites will do wonders for your ranking!
- Social media has a pivotal role – Last but not least, social media is an evolving platform that has changed from a basic communication platform to a highly profitable marketing channel. Many users start their searches on social media and make their way to a business’s site. Sharing up-to-date, engaging, and personalized content will attract more people to your profile, and eventually to your website.
- Analysis is the key to SEO – Monitoring your ranking on search engines is key to getting better results. Start by tracking the most important website metrics to set a baseline for your performance. Make small content changes and see if you notice a boost in your site traffic or rankings. Avoid making several unrelated changes simultaneously so you can always keep track of what was responsible for improved performance.
We’ve discussed some of the core components of a successful SEO campaign. Beyond that, there are a number of marketing strategies that can indirectly affect how your site ranks, such as Pay Per Click advertising and email marketing.
This means you really can’t afford to approach each campaign individually. The most successful brands integrate all their campaigns that ensures there’s always something pushing their leads one step closer to converting into a customer.