You’ve likely heard of SEO, and if you haven’t already, you could obtain a quick Wikipedia definition of the term, but understanding that SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine's unpaid results” doesn’t really help you answer important questions for your business and your website, such as:
• How do you, for your site or your company’s site, “optimize” for search engines?
• How do you know how much time to spend on SEO?
• How can you differentiate “good” SEO advice from “bad” or harmful SEO advice?
What’s likely interesting to you as a business owner or employee is how you can actually leverage SEO to help drive more relevant traffic, leads, sales, and ultimately revenue and profit for your business. That’s what we’ll focus on in this guide.
Why Should You Care About SEO?
Lots and lots of people search for things. That traffic can be extremely powerful for a business not only because there is a lot of traffic, but because there is a lot of very specific, high-intent traffic.
Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices:
The first step in search engine optimization is really to determine what it is you’re actually optimizing for. This means identifying the terms people are searching for (also known as “keywords”) that you want your website to rank for in search engines like Google.
Sounds simple enough, right? I want my widget company to show up when people look for “widgets,” and maybe when they type in things like “buy widgets.” Onto step three!
Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. There are a few key factors to take into account when determining the keywords you want to target on your site:
a. Search Volume – The first factor to consider is how many people (if any) are actually searching for a given keyword. The more people there are searching for a keyword, the bigger the audience you stand to reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for a keyword, there is no audience available to find your content through search.
b. Relevance – If a term is frequently searched for that’s great: but what if it’s not completely relevant to your prospects? Relevance seems straight-forward at first: if you’re selling enterprise email marketing automation software you don’t want to show up for searches that don’t have anything to do with your business, like “pet supplies.” But what about terms like “email marketing software”? This might intuitively seem like a great description of what you do, but if you’re selling to Fortune 100 companies, most of the traffic for this very competitive term will be searchers who don’t have any interest in buying your software (and the folks you do want to reach might never buy your expensive, complex solution based on a simple Google search). Conversely, you might think a tangential keyword like “best enterprise PPC marketing solutions” is totally irrelevant to your business since you don’t sell PPC marketing software. But if your prospect is a CMO or marketing director, getting in front of them with a helpful resource on evaluating pay-per-click tools could be a great “first touch” and an excellent way to start a relationship with a prospective buyer.
c. Competition – As with any business opportunity, in SEO you want to consider the potential costs and likelihood of success. For SEO, this means understanding the relative competition (and likelihood to rank) for specific terms.
Title Tags -
While Google is working to better understand the actual meaning of a page and de-emphasizing (and even punishing) aggressive and manipulative use of keywords, including the term (and related terms) that you want to rank for in your pages is still valuable. And the single most impactful place you can put your keyword is your page’s title tag.
Meta Descriptions - While the title tag is effectively your search listing’s headline, the meta description (another meta HTML element that can be updated in your site’s code, but isn’t seen on your actual page) is effectively your site’s additional ad copy.
Body Content - The actual content of your page itself is, of course, very important. Different types of pages will have different “jobs” – your cornerstone content asset that you want lots of folks to link to needs to be very different than your support content that you want to make sure your users find and get an answer from quickly.
Alt Attributes - How you mark up your images can impact not only the way that search engines perceive your page, but also how much search traffic from image search your site generates. An alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you to provide alternative information for an image if a user can’t view it.
URL Structure - Your site’s URL structure can be important both from a tracking perspective (you can more easily segment data in reports using a segmented, logical URL structure), and a shareability standpoint (shorter, descriptive URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly cut off less frequently).
Content Marketing & Link Building
Since Google’s algorithm is still largely based on links, having a number of high-quality links to your site is obviously incredibly important in driving search traffic: you can do all the work you want on on-page and technical SEO, if you don’t have links to your site, you won’t show up in search results listings.
There are a number of ways to get links to your site, but as Google and other search engines become more and more sophisticated, many of them have become extremely risky (even if they may still work in the short-term). If you are new to SEO and are looking to leverage the channel, these riskier and more aggressive means of trying to get links likely aren’t a good fit for your business, as you won’t know how to properly navigate the pitfalls and evaluate the risks.
Apart from the above to-dos, there are more than an additional 50 pointers that affect a website's SEO performance. You can get in touch with our team at CretMark to know the best SEO solutions.