So you’ve heard a lot of people talk about SEO. That’s not surprising. There are articles published every day telling you that every single bit of content you publish online needs it. But do you really understand it or do you still find yourself asking, “What is SEO and how does it work?”
In this blog, we’ll walk you through basics. We’ll also give you a few tips on how you can improve your SEO in 2021.
What is SEO?
SEO – or Search Engine Optimization – is all about ranking high in the unpaid search engine results or building up organic traffic.
Search engines like Google are the gateway to your business.
Think about your average day. How often have you searched Google for answers?
If you’re a business owner, then you want people with problems and questions to be able to find you — instead of your competitors.
That’s where SEO comes in.
You’ve probably heard this referred to as organic rankings or organic search results.
What Goes Into SEO?
Here’s how SEO blog Moz.com breaks down the three components of SEO:
Quality of Traffic
Getting 5,000 site visitors doesn’t do you any good if 4,998 of them aren’t interested in your product or service. SEO qualifies people coming to your site. It sends people who are already searching for what you have to offer.
Quantity of Traffic
As you continue to build authority and improve your rankings, you bring more and more people to your site.
Organic results are site visitors you didn’t have to pay for. This lets you know how your site is performing without the artificial boost of ad spend.
Does SEO Really Matter?
One of the most common uses of the internet is searching (you’ve probably conducted a few searches yourself just today). Some 70% of all internet searches are on Google. Consider too that the first five organic search results gobble up 67% of all the clicks. That means virtually no one ever makes it to page 6, 7 or 8 of their search results.
Think of it like this: someone types “A-5 Wagyu Beef Brisket” into Google. Your website with its delicious A-5 Wagyu Beef Brisket selection is one of the top search results. The good news is you didn’t pay to be there. That free advertising is pushing traffic to your website. So, yes, SEO really matters.
How SEO Can Help Your Business
The best way SEO can help your business is by sending more qualified traffic to your website. People are searching online for the problem you solve. That means when they land on your website they’re already interested in what you have to offer. It’s as if Google is handing you customers on a silver platter.
A good SEO strategy improves the credibility of your business. Your quality content and optimized website are credible in the eyes of Google. And what Google deems credible lands on page one of the search results.
Remember we learned that the sites on the first page of the search results get pretty much all the clicks. That’s because people are trusting Google to give them the best results. They assume those first few choices have exactly what they need so there’s no reason to move past page one. With good SEO you can be on page one.
If you have a crystal clear marketing message and a rock-solid website, there’s a great chance the people who visit your website will become customers. But even if they aren’t ready to buy today, you can still capture their contact information.
Make sure your website has an appealing lead generator — a free piece of valuable content people can access in exchange for giving up their email address. Once you have their email address, you can nurture the relationship via email and move them along the journey toward becoming a paying customer.
Easy Ways to Improve Your SEO
Now that you understand what SEO is, how it works and why it matters to your business, it’s time to look at some simple ways to improve your SEO.
Pay Attention to Your Google My Business Profile
Create your Google My Business Profile in just a few minutes. Fill out your business details, add a photo and encourage client reviews. And don’t forget to post updates to your profile regularly. Set a reminder to check on your profile weekly and post an update (an upcoming event, new service, seasonal information/hours). As we established earlier, most people are using Google as their primary search engine. Having a Google My Business profile makes it easier for people to find your business — especially if you have a physical location.
Have a Website that Works
Getting more traffic to your website is awesome, but if your website is clunky, outdated or unclear, those site visitors won’t stick around for long. Your website should load quickly and be easy to navigate. Here’s a great resource on Backlinko about how to build a SEO-friendly website.
It’s also critical that the copy on your website is clear and simple. You want potential customers to know exactly what you offer, how it will benefit them and how they can get what you have to sell. If people can’t figure that out in the first 3 seconds, they certainly aren’t going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out.
Use the Right Keywords
You want the content on your website to incorporate the words people are typing into the search engine (keywords). You don’t need to stuff those keywords into every sentence. Focus on one specific keyword for every page and work it in a few times — in your headline, the first paragraph and maybe the conclusion as well.
Don’t Forget About Mobile
More than half of Google searches are done on a mobile device. That means Google is paying close attention to how your website performs on phones and tablets. As you make improvements to your website or if you’re planning a website overhaul, start with mobile in mind.
Free Resources for SEO
It’s easy to get into the weeds of SEO but don’t feel you have to tackle everything at once. Start with the changes we’ve already outlined and then take advantage of free resources to build your SEO efforts.
Drop your website link into this free SEO Browser and it will show you how the search engines read your website.
Take advantage of Google’s free tools, including Google Analytics. This allows you to see what kind of traffic your website is getting, what pages people are visiting and, most importantly, how long they are staying on your website.
Google’s Search Console also provides tools and reports for measuring your website’s traffic and performance. You can identify key problems and work on fixing those issues first.
Add a Blog to Your Website
Putting out fresh relevant content is a great way to stand out in the search results and boost your credibility with search engines. Most website platforms like WordPress and Squarespace have blog functionality built in so you can add that to your website without any additional cost.
Remember SEO is a long-term strategy. You can’t make a couple tweaks to your website and expect to see triple the traffic overnight. Once you understand what SEO is and how it works, you should be working on improving your rankings regularly.
Keep investing in quality content. Revisit your messaging to ensure it’s crystal clear. And refine your website design so visitors get the best experience possible.
By making SEO a part of your overall marketing strategy, you will continue to build the authority that lands you on page one of the search results.