SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. I want to share with you all about how SEO can help your online business show up when someone’s searching for you.
Search engine optimization is essentially making your website on fleek for Google. You get yourself tidied up, squared away, and looking super-fly, so more people searching for what you’re selling will find you more often than your competitors. More eyes on your prize means driving more organic traffic to your website and harnessing your true potential.
There are lots of business owners who feel like they don’t need to spend time on SEO because most of their business is through word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing is an effective way to bring in business and build up your reputation, but it’s not a scalable way to grow your business. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, is a proven way to effectively scale your business online (it’s scientifically based on data and not black magic).
Searching Google is a Process
Search engines like Google do a few different activities in order to deliver your search results.
- Crawling – The process of fetching all the web pages linked to a website. This task is performed by software, called a crawler or a spider.
- Indexing – The process of creating an index for all the fetched web pages and keeping them in a giant database from where it can be retrieved later. Indexing is identifying the words and expressions that best describe the page and assigning that page to particular keywords.
- Processing – After receiving a search request, the search engine compares the search string in the search request with the database indexed pages.
- Retrieving Results – At last, the best-matched results will be retrieved, which is nothing but simply displaying them in the browser.
Old School Gray Hat SEO is New School Black Hat SEO
There was a time when standing out to search engine robots was the way to rank higher in search results for your most important keywords. That time has come and gone.
User Optimized Websites Are Better Than Search Optimized Websites
User optimized websites are better than search optimized websites, but it’s a double-edged sword.
If you don’t optimize your website for search engines then your website won’t rank or display in many search result sets. But, it might be 10x more user-friendly and your stats like pages per visit, time spent on page, etc. will increase.
If users don’t like your site… it doesn’t matter how optimized for search you are. Eventually, the search engine algorithms are going to flag you as a site lacking in value and any good rankings you had will start to drop.
Search Relevancy Is the New SEO Best Practice
The healthy mix of user optimization and search engine optimization is being optimized for search relevancy.
Search relevancy translates to how closely your website’s on-site SEO – meaning your META tags, header tags, copy, and statistically interpreted value to the user – appears to match the keywords someone typed into Google.
Increase SEO by Matching User Search Phrases
For example, if a user searches for “how to make the best purple moo cow ice cream” and your page META title, META description, H1 header, and first paragraph of body copy all talk about “how to make the best purple moo cow ice cream” then you can immediately see how your page is relevant to that specific search. For that search, you win.
Almost Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
In comparison, if a user searches for “how to make the best green moo cow ice cubes”…. and your page is about “how to make the best purple moo cow ice cream,” you might show up in search still, but you’ll be gone before long. You’re half-way there on relevancy between your page’s content and the user’s search keyword phrase, but as soon as a few other websites publish content that more closely matches the user’s search then you’ll be booted off the page one search rankings — because you’re not relevant.
Avoid Bad Blackhat SEO Techniques
What you want to avoid doing is all the shady blackhat SEO practices that used to work.
Don’t keyword stuff your META tags. Don’t write keyword robot jibberish headlines and copy. Don’t hide keyword heavy text in your site’s footer by making the font color match the background color. Are you getting the drift?
Basically, don’t look like you’re trying to cheat the system. Or they’ll find you. They’ll penalize you. And they’ll blacklist you from search results. They being the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.)
Keyword Density and Placement Are Important for SEO
Keyword Density and Keyword Placement are both important for SEO.
Keyword density is how many times (and how many variations of) your keyword is written on your page.
Keyword placement is where you’ve placed your keyword and variations. Keywords in header tags (H1 through H6) are more important — as far as search engine spiders are concerned — than keywords in body copy.
Even though you shouldn’t stuff a bunch of keywords together to make it look like your page about pizza is MORE about pizza than someone else’s page about pizza, you still need to put your most valuable SEO keyword phrases into the proper places on your web page. META tags do matter. Header tags matter. Your body copy matters.
Not only do you need to write for search engine discoverability, but you need to make your words readable to a human being, too. I know, it’s absolutely crazy that your website ought to add value to someone’s life by providing them with the information they searched for instead of acting as a giant spammy money magnet for you, but that’s kind of the long and the short of it. If you want to win at search ranking, you’ve got to play the game by trying not to game the players.
Website Analytics Are Star Maps in a Stormy Sea of SEO
Analytic data provides a ridiculously good roadmap for optimizing your website for both search engines and real human visitors (i.e. your customers, who you want to have like you, so they buy things from you, right?).
Through data, reports, and split-testing strategies you can figure out what works and what doesn’t. Then you can take a new idea and test it against the already working idea to see if you can improve on yourself. That’s continued optimization and a great way to control the chaos.
Engaging Sites Rank Higher
The engagement level between users and your website is a big deal to search ranking algorithms and can even make or break you when it comes to your ability to be discovered for valuable keyword search phrases.
Websites that encourage more user engagement tend to rank higher in natural search engine results pages (SERPS).
Your Website’s Engagement is Measurable SEO Data
Engagement can be measured in several ways and is useful to guage how optimized for search your website is.
Your website’s engagement level could be the total number of visitors coming to your website. It could be how many pages per visitor you’re recording, your bounce rate, the time spent on your site, the average amount of sessions per user, how many times your site’s been shared on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or more than likely your website’s engagement level is all these things, plus more.
More Website Traffic = Increased Social Media Engagement
When you drive more traffic to your website it’s inevitable that more people will share your content – assuming your content is worth sharing. If you’re not sure what makes good content you can scroll up and re-read the paragraph about search relevancy. Give the user’s what they want.
Social Websites Can “Go Viral”
Organic traffic and social sharing is a funny beast. You’ve likely heard of content “going viral,” right? Well, driving more traffic to your website, offering more potential for more visitors to share your content, and then watching the people they share it to share it, and so on and so forth, is one way viral content can happen. Think of social media sharing like a giant free pyramid scheme that you’re always welcome to be a part of.
Website Traffic Growth is Exponential
It doesn’t even matter if exponential website traffic growth sounds ludacris to you. It’s how the internet works.
Website traffic growth happens exponentially, as long as your content is optimized to show up and relevant enough to stand tall. If you build it, they will come. It’s not just a field of dreams — it’s an Internet of things. Do you know where you’re being found on it?
SEO is a Long-Game. Stick With SEO for Success.
The hardest part of growing your business online is putting in the effort to be dedicated to getting to the point of growth. SEO doesn’t happen overnight. SEO happens over time because the whole process of writing content, having that content indexed by a search engine, getting someone to come to your page and share it, then having others rinse and repeat those steps is…. a process that takes time.
If you’re posting randomly long blog posts in hopes that SEO will happen you are wasting your time. Writing a lot of targeted keyword copy is good, but if you’re doing it for content marketing purposes then writing search engine optimized targeted keyword copy is a million times more efficient and at least twice as effective (just kidding, it’s a million times more effective).
Good things happen over time — like adding superior quality targeted content to your website day after day. Great things happen all at once — like one of your quality articles going viral because the right person shared it to the right crowd who shared it with their friends who posted it on their Facebook timelines, and so on and so forth.
Does SEO Ever Change?
The basic foundations of SEO will always be important. Lots of the cutting edge or test-run/fad/trendy SEO related things will and do change. That’s why it’s important to nail down and absolutely crush the basics of SEO for your website.
Google’s Ranking Algorithm is Vast and Volatile
It’s a known fact that Google regularly changes their search ranking algorithm — often without telling you. Regardless, they never ever tell you exactly what they’re looking for and sometimes the changes can have unforeseen consequences if your SEO strategy is “do some shady gray hat stuff.”
Search Engine Optimization is not a trick. It’s not a scam. It’s not a get ranked in the search results quick scheme. Learning SEO and doing it right is both a science and an art.
With each and every update to their search algorithm, Google and other search engines change the way they look at websites. Things that didn’t exist a few years ago, like social media indicators, are now given a relatively high importance in terms of their impact on your websites search rankings. Neglecting to build a thriving content profile spread out over months and years is potentially damaging to your business because it’s one of the factors search engine’s evaluate when ranking your site.
SEO Can Improve Your Online Business
SEO can improve your online businesses and position you for success.
Optimizing for search helps online business owners create fast, robust, and user-friendly websites that rank higher in search engines, which in turn helps bring more qualified potential customers to your website and presents the opportunity for you to increase your sales conversion rates.
SEO Builds Brand Awareness and Trust
SEO also helps build brand awareness for your business. Search users tend to stick to and trust the websites listed on page one of their search results. If your website is showing up on page one, guess who those users are going to visit?
If your website ranks on page one you’re going to get the lion’s share of organic search traffic and subsequently the social media street cred.
Good SEO Makes Your Website More User-Friendly
Good SEO will make your business website more user-friendly. Optimization helps with creating a faster, smoother, more intuitive user-interface, that offers a better user experience.
Thoughtful, well-structured, clean websites encourage visitors to spend more time on your site. That’s the best way to decrease your website’s bounce rate statistic — by getting users to spend more time on your website. Bounce rate is calculated using the number of visitors who visit your site and then leave without initiating an interaction, which is usually a click or visit to more than that first page.
When done properly, on-page SEO makes users happy. Happy users make search engines happy. Happy search engines show your website to more happy users when you make everyone happy, so SEO done right is a smart tool for your business to leverage.
Doing SEO Right Finds Your More Customers
One of the biggest reasons for even having a website is to stand out from your competitors and find more customers. Why else would major brands and companies invest thousands of dollars every month into online marketing? Good SEO plays a role in increasing your revenues by growing your customer base.
SEO is the most efficient and affordable marketing strategy in existence today. More importantly, the benefit of SEO is it will only attract pre-qualified customers. As in, only the people actively looking for you will find you — and those are exactly the people you want as customers.
Over time, if you’re willing to spend a few hours of time and a relatively small amount of money, SEO will bring “targeted traffic” to your website and eventually more customers to your business than any other marketing strategy or tactics you’ll ever use.
Proper SEO Increases Conversion Rates
Proper SEO increases conversion rates. Why? Because SEO-optimized websites load faster, are easier to scan while reading, and are aesthetically pleasing and responsive to all devices — from mobile smartphones and tablets to desktop computers, television screens, and projectors.
Websites that are easier to read and navigate catch and maintain more attention from your visitors. By providing a better user experience through on-site SEO-optimization, you’re positioning every new visitor with an increased chance of becoming your newest loyal customer, subscriber or a return visitor.
SEO Helps Build Brand Awareness
Building brand awareness is an amazing benefit that happens when you rank high in search results.
Consider this… how many times have you Google’d something and then click to the second page of search results? Yeah, not many times and no one else does either.
No one clicks to page 2 of Google.
The sites that appear on page one of search results pages get the most exposure, the most clicks, and the most traffic to their site. You want to be on page one for as many of your high-value keyword phrases as possible.
On top of that, people trust brands they see on page one of search engine result pages more. You get that extra trust factor by having a strong online presence, by optimizing your site for search, relevance, and users through strategically executed SEO. When a customer can’t find your business on the first page of Google, they often think there’s something wrong with you.
SEO Helps You Bypass Your Competition
Search engine optimization can help you bypass your competition.
Let’s say you were 1 of 2 burrito companies in Portland, Maine. You’re doing SEO and your competitor is not. Assuming everything else about your burrito businesses is equal — you sell similar burritos, at a similar price, to a similar customer base — who do you think is going to grow faster and end up being more successful?
Search engine optimization is a powerful tool that can give you the leverage you need to edge out your competitors in a crowded market. Stand out from the crowd by standing on top of your SEO.
SEO is Cost-Effective
Compared to the costs associated with other forms of online marketing such as PPC advertising, social media marketing, or purchasing leads for an email marketing program, SEO provides fairly good ROI.
PPC may drive more revenue and social media may be more important for your image, but your organic SEO in many ways remains the foundation of your online presence.
SEO Encourages Word of Mouth Marketing
Search engine optimization is an important part of word of mouth marketing. People who hear about your brand are going to want to look it up. Sometimes they won’t remember your name, though. That’s when it’s important for you to show up when they type in the type of business you’re operating along with the location they expect you to be in.
For example, if your business is “Ruth’s Smoothie Shack” in Manchester, New Hampshire, but that person doesn’t remember “Ruth” and searches for “smoothie shack in Manchester, NH” then you’re either showing up because you invested in your SEO marketing strategy or you’re losing a customer because you didn’t.
SEO Shows You Care About Your Business
Search engine optimization is even more important for businesses without a storefront. Optimizing your SEO shows that you care about your business and makes it easier for customers to see that.
SEO is a Never Ending Process
Remember, SEO is a never-ending process. If you’re not moving forward and improving your position then you’re falling behind to a competitor who is. That’s the simple truth about how competitive SEO works.
Investing in organic SEO is more important now than ever before. Finding untapped high-value keyword phrases is more important now than ever before. You can go bigger. You can go better. Or you can pack up and go home.
Lots of competition on keywords can be good because it means there’s a market for your niche. Having an SEO strategy in place is a must do if you plan on your online business succeeding in terms of digital marketing. In fact, it remains one of the single most important components of any organization’s branding efforts and online presence.
SEO Rewards Hard Work
Producing targeted content for your business takes a lot of hard work. SEO gets your content out there where it’s supposed to be and in front of who you want to see it. The better you SEO, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website and the more data you’ll have to analyze for further optimizing your online business marketing.