What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of enhancing your website's organic traffic and ranking on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
The better visibility your pages have in search results, the more likely you are to garner attention and attract prospective and existing customers to your business.
For inbound marketing to be successful, its inbound channels need to be in place and functioning optimally. Inbound marketing channels are the different ways in which people can find or get in touch with a company through inbound marketing initiatives, including SEO.
Benefits of SEO
1. Brings in more customers through organic search
Ranking on Google's first page is critical for customers to notice you. Achieving the top spot can almost double your click-through rate over second place. And claiming a Featured Snippet (first page component) may allow you to jump over the number one ranking while also providing a second entry point for visitors to your website.
The volume is there, and ranking for certain keywords will bring you the appropriate consumers. And by having your site on the front page, you make your brand extremely visible while also demonstrating that you're a trustworthy source.
2. Creates a creditable web experience for users
The popularity of your post relies on the authority you've established. You may have the greatest answer or resource available, but without a good experience for visitors once they click on to your website, it will be difficult for you to get them there at all.
That's why technical elements of SEO, such as page speed, backlinks, and other authority-building factors, are so important to your company's online success. Playing with search engine guidelines forces you to keep your site in great shape and makes keeping its health a regular priority.
The advantage for you is that it will not only help you rank higher and gain more exposure, but it will also make it simpler for consumers to trust you based on the functionality of your website. There are a few methods to achieve this like having fast-loading pages, security measures, and automated customer service portals.
3. Encourages you to focus on user experience
Speaking of your web experience, a core element of SEO that continues to grow in necessity is optimizing user experience. Google is prioritizing user experience as a ranking factor in 2021 and will leverage their new Core Web Vitals alongside previous factors like page speed to help determine if you are providing a valuable interaction or not. Featured Snippets and other in-search elements also leverage this idea, by pulling answers, images, and other valuable information onto the search page itself.
This is all about focusing on the wants and needs of your consumers. What are they looking for? What would they want to accomplish next? What more information, resources, or services can you provide them?
You have a better chance of ranking higher, keeping potential customers on your site, and converting them into sales if you make the needs of your customers your first priority. The more frequently this happens, the more authoritative your website will be and the more people you'll attract.
4. Enhances brand awareness
One indirect but positive consequence of increasing your search ranking is overall brand awareness. By climbing closer and closer to the top spot, the more touchpoints you'll create. Even if they don't click into your site, simply being there may help potential consumers associate your brand with those specific goods or services.
This is particularly critical if you're in a competitive market for certain keywords with other companies. When users use searches or type the product or service you provide into a browser, you want to be at the top of their minds. Plus, if your rivals take control of those searches, organic sales are likely to go to them.
The greatest thing you can do if you're just getting started with SEO for your company is to target more extended forms of a certain query. Rather than attempting to rank for "online marketing services," try terms like "best online marketing services for small businesses" or "online marketing services in the southeast."
Yes, these don't receive as much traffic from search engines. However, they are far simpler to rank for than the shorter, more competitive phrases. The more of these longer variants you rank for, the greater your chances of moving up. And while you're at it, you're increasing brand recognition amongst your target market.
5. It helps keep you informed and up to date
SEO is a fickle beast. Everything about running a business, from the ground up, changes on a daily basis. Search engines get updated; new elements gain importance while others fall by the wayside. This implies that in order to achieve SEO effectively, you must be up to date on best practices, solutions, and modifications.
While this may appear to be more effort, it actually serves to benefit your company by keeping you up to speed on online procedures. Because SEO is closely linked with digital technology, much of what happens with it can assist you in understanding internet trends and proactively addressing any major adjustments. You learn even more about your clients, competitors, and overall online experience.
Now, let's face it, you won't be able to keep up with everything, and there's no need to go crazy trying. Simply keep your eyes and ears open for any significant changes, and stay laser-focused on your vertical industry. Just doing that much is enough to help you stay on track.
6. It's possible on a budget
One of the most appealing aspects of SEO is that it may be done relatively inexpensively. Sure, you can engage a professional or establish an SEO-related position within your company, but you can also learn and execute much of it yourself in the meantime. Outside of the cost of hiring someone, purchasing some subscriptions, or spending your own time, there is no cost to actually implement it into your marketing strategy.
Investing in SEO also has long-term advantages for your company. Yes, circumstances are always changing, but the fundamental procedures and strategies linked with SEO should endure for years to come, and may only require minor modifications. It can be one of the most effective long-term marketing plans for your company when done correctly.
7. It can be tracked
Traditional marketing can be frustrating in that the ROI of your efforts is vague. Billboards have an average amount of views based on traffic patterns. Overall views are calculated using rating systems for commercials. However, SEO is very measurable and may easily integrate into any commercial digital strategy.
Now, in order to truly understand how your organic traffic is resulting to sales, you'll need to connect some dots on the backend of your site. But with a little Google Analytics knowledge, you can simply set up different trackable conversions based on page views, order completions, click-to-call outputs, and so forth.
In terms of improving your SEO efforts, you may use tools like Google Search Console to understand how people find you, what you're ranking for, and where there's room for improvement. You'll also be able to delve into the health of your site in great depth here, which is an important element of user engagement.
8. It's useful for other marketing activities
It's important to note that almost every website has some level of SEO research. Whether it's paid, inbound (content on our website), outbound (content delivered to clients) or product-related, our SEO-related tools and efforts are utilized by teams on both sides to help assist in making informed decisions.
Every team's findings and insights provide a natural incentive to look into a possible search query or switch a keyword on an ad. In many ways, attempting what has worked organically through different marketing channels may show whether something is actually working or not in your SEO approach.
It may reveal what trends are developing in your sector, which users are more likely to click on and what pieces of a product or service are most useful. Once again, you're striving to optimize your website by learning about what matters to your customers. This can only aid in the development of your other marketing efforts.
How Search Engines Work
Search engines use bots, programs that crawl the web, moving from site to site, gathering information about those sites, to put them into an index. Consider the index to be a vast library with a librarian capable of pulling up whatever you're searching for at the time.
The algorithm then examines pages in the index, taking into account hundreds of ranking criteria or signals, to determine the order in which they should appear in search results for a given query. Then, our "theoretical librarian" has read every book in the library and can tell you exactly which one will have the answers you're looking for.
The factors that influence SEO success are proxies for elements of the user experience. It's how search bots evaluate a website or web page's ability to deliver the searcher with what they're looking for.
The Importance of Keywords
If you're just getting started, consider keywords in the broader context of their environment. For example, if you run a health club, you might want to rank for "new clubs," but if you don't pay attention, people looking for a new place to dance after dark may find your site instead.
Keywords are as much about your target audience as they are about the material you're creating, since you may convey what you provide in a variety of ways. To develop high-quality content that ranks organically and attracts people to your site, you must first understand the demands of your consumers — the language they use and the sort of information they search. Do this by engaging with your customers, reading forums, and using keyword search tools like Keyword Explorer.
Using Keywords on Your Page
It's useless to just throw keywords on your page. Creating useful material isn't only for Googlebots; it's about offering genuine value to real people, not just telling them anything.
To get you started, there are some basic keyword phrase usage guidelines to follow. Each page of your website should contain unique keywords in the areas that bots and people typically search to assure them that you have what they're looking for. Both the title tag and the content of your page are affected by keyword placement, which is why it's important to be cautious. The dangers of clickbait are twofold: first, you may believe that enticingly vague titles increase the number of clicks on your material, but you're giving up some of the power of keywords by hiding what the material is actually about.
You should also consider including your primary keyword in your URL, the H1 tag on the page, the meta description, and alt attributes of pictures on the page; all of these locations will aid search engines in determining what your material is about.
The most basic approach to target your material to searches is to use your keywords in these locations. It won't instantly propel you to the top of the results page, but it is important SEO; without taking these fundamental measures, you may miss out on ranking through other means.
SEO Best Practices
There are a variety of methods to improve your Google ranking, but if you don't have the fundamentals down, your chances of showing up on Google's first page are slim.
Following SEO best practices will ensure that your site gets more exposure in search. Once you've established the foundation, you may progress to more advanced keyword research and link building methods.
1. Align your content with search intent
The goal of any search query is to find information. Google's main objective when it comes to search intent (also known as "user intent") is to understand and fulfill the requirements of every search request. Google has a stringent litmus test for sites that rank on its first page in order to ensure that they satisfy search intent.
There are four common types of search intent:
- Informational: A search is considered informational intent when the user is looking for specific information. It can be a simple search like “how tall is the Eiffel Tower?” that provides instant results or something more complex like “how to start an engineering firm” that requires a more in-depth explanation.
- Navigational: In this case, the searcher is looking for a specific website or app. Common examples of navigational searches include “Facebook login,” "Neuromend", or "Amazon"
- Commercial: When a user is looking for a specific product but has not yet made the final decision, the search intent is considered commercial. Searches such as "best IT support company" and "best centrifuge manufacturer" are all commercial searches.
- Transactional: The intention is to purchase in this scenario. The searcher has already decided to acquire a specific product or tool. Searches would be things like “buy Dell Inspiron 24 5000,” “buy iPhone XR,” and “book hotel online.”
When it comes to producing website content, always keep the search intent in mind.
2. Write a compelling title tag and meta description
Two of the most crucial meta tags on your page are your page title and meta description.
Here are some more excellent guidelines to bear in mind while writing title tags:
- Include your target keywords.
- Make a title that reflects the search intent.
- Avoid making duplicate title tags.
- Avoid keyword overuse.
- Keep it simple, yet descriptive.
The meta description is the second most important meta tag on a page. In SERPs, a meta description is a short explanation of a page that appears below the title tag. While meta descriptions have no direct influence on search rankings, they may affect click-through rates. Google usually cuts meta descriptions down to 155–160 characters, so make sure you keep it simple yet informative.
3. Optimize your images
The use of images on your site has a significant impact on the user experience. You've spent a lot of time picking the perfect pictures for your blog articles, product pages, and other crucial sites. But, do you spend the same amount of time optimizing all of the pictures on your website? Images may help your site's SEO and increase organic traffic if properly employed.
Here are a couple things you can do to improve the appearance of your images.
Compress your images
Images with larger file sizes take longer to load on the web, so be sure to compress them using tools like tinyPNG, ImageOptim, or ShortPixel before uploading them to your cite.
Add alt text to your images
Adding alternative text to images is still critical, although Google's image understanding has improved. Adding alt text to photographs improves website accessibility and aids browsers in comprehending the photos on your site. Keep your descriptions simple and avoid trying to over-stuff keywords.
4. Use Internal Linking
Internal links are important for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they help Google comprehend your page's content better. Internal connections can significantly improve your rankings if done correctly. When you add internal links from high-ranking sites on your site to pages that need improving, you're following an SEO best practice.
5. Improve the user experience on your website
Google monitors how people use your content to help you improve your search rankings. As a result, improved user experience is one of the most important elements in increasing your search position.
Here are a few more methods for ensuring that visitors to your site have a pleasant experience:
- Use subheadings: Proper use of subheadings (H1, H2, H3) helps Google understand your content clearer and makes your text more digestible to readers.
- Make your content visually appealing: Use appropriate images, videos, and screenshots to illustrate your points.
- Use white space: White space is an essential component of attractive design. According to research, white space between paragraphs and in the left and right margins improves comprehension by 20%. As a result, make use of white space to make your material easier to read and gain user attention.
6. Prioritize getting more authoritative backlinks
Despite numerous modifications to Google's search algorithm and ranking system, backlinks are still considered a significant ranking signal. Backlinks are seen by Google as indications of confidence.
If your web pages have a lot of backlinks, you will have a better chance of placing higher in search engine results. As a result, it's critical that you concentrate on obtaining backlinks for your website.
Not all backlinks are the same, however. Certain types of backlinks may dramatically improve your ranking for particular search queries, while others may cause your rankings to plummet, which is why you should focus on authoritative links rather than other sorts of links.
7. Publish long-form content
In a nutshell, there is a substantial connection between content length and search performance.
Because of this, you should strive to publish 1-2 well-researched, long-form articles that provide useful information to Google consumers. Google wants you to prioritize the user's needs over SEO, and it is the most effective method of retaining readers and converting them. However, we all know how essential SEO is.
When creating long-form content on your blog, choose keywords that have a suitable balance of search volume and keyword difficulty.
Long-tail keywords are often low in search traffic, but they might help you reach the clients you want. If the search volume is too low, aim for mid-tail terms with a keyword difficulty of 3 to 7.
Things to Avoid for SEO
1. Not Knowing Your Audience
Understanding your target audience is one of the most important elements of SEO. That implies knowing your audience at the most individual and granular level possible. The consumer's voice is heard in SEO.
Many marketers believe they understand their audience, yet they frequently fall into the error of misinterpreting how customers conduct in their market and on a granular level. At the same time, customers have come to expect immediate responses and results for their inquiries. They frequently desire this in real time as well.
Historical data still provides SEO with significant insights into seasonal trends, but marketers' approaches to understand their consumers must be somewhat traditional.
Neglecting the search engines' and customers' preference for long-tail keywords is one of the most common blunders when it comes to keyword selection. While you may describe your products and services in a certain manner, it's more significant to determine what words your potential consumers would use to identify them.
2. Creating the wrong type of content
Creating content that isn't really about your target audience is another frequent SEO blunder. The issue is that you want to rank for a certain term but fail to concentrate the text on that niche.
Search engines like Google want to provide their customers with the most relevant content possible. So, if your material does not satisfy user requirements, it will not rank highly.
Your main aim should be to produce material that genuinely answers your target audience's questions, as well as utilizing the appropriate search phrases. Then, when you optimize for a keyword, search engines will be able to identify how similar your content is.
3. Publishing Non-Original Content
Copying and plagiarizing material is considered a spam tactic and is strongly discouraged. It just simply doesn't work. Instead of stealing content or using a software that whips the information into a different form, it's better to invest in creating original, creative content. This is the only way to guarantee that your website doesn't get knocked down to the bottom of the search results.
4. Skipping title tags & meta descriptions and forgetting to provide context with schema
After you've added a target keywords to your content, there are still things you can do to make it more appealing. Title tags and meta descriptions, which are essential components of SEO, should not be neglected. It's possible that skipping them may result in a significant loss in potential for your material.
Search engines examine these factors while crawling your website, and if done correctly, they may boost the performance of your material. Some marketers forget to use schema markup to describe their site's content and tell search engines what it's about. This means you'll rank lower in standard searches and be less relevant in particular voice searches.
Including image tags in your content is another overlooked technical aspect that content marketers should keep in mind. The images you use in your material should have alternative text, as they are yet another indication of how you're targeting articles.
5. Missing quality links
Today's content marketers should understand that the quality of external links included in their work is more vital than the quantity. That's why it's important to utilize relevant, well-ranking websites with a good reputation rather than simply any website. It's also beneficial to link back to sites that have linked to you because this will bring future visitors.
Using bad anchor text is another harmful link-building practice. This loses valuable SEO possibilities since anchor text informs the reader and search engines what the link is about and how it may be beneficial to visitors. As a result, don't use "click here" as an anchor text, and make sure you choose from a wide range of anchors.
6. Not investing in a fast & mobile-friendly experience
A website's performance, particularly on mobile devices, is crucial for SEO. It's not only about content and keywords; it's also about the quality of your website, especially how well it performs on mobile devices, which are today's preferred choice.
Google and other search engines can identify when your website is not mobile-friendly, especially since Google is implementing mobile-first indexing. If you don't consider a good mobile experience for your visitors, you may suffer negative SEO repercussions.
The same holds true for load speed, which search engines value highly. You shouldn't be shocked if a sluggish website results in lower rankings on the SERPs.
7. Not utilizing analytics & using the wrong tools & technology
The only way to see whether your SEO and content efforts are working is to track their progress. Many marketers would brush off the statistics, but this is a significant mistake. Setting up and monitoring your analytics on a regular basis is critical for determining the effectiveness of your optimization efforts.
With their help, you may see how your optimization works for various kinds of content and applications.
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