Listen up! If you want to grow your business through digital marketing, you need to understand how search engine optimization (SEO) works. If you are not familiar, here is an analogy that might help: think of the Internet as a great big dark nighttime sky full of stars. Search engine optimization is like a light that makes individual stars appear much brighter, so that people’s eyes are drawn to them.
Make sense? It does if you compare this to trying to make your company or service stand out from all the other ones up (out) there. Search engine optimization can make your website visible, leading to more traffic that can turn prospects into clients.
Search Engine Optimization for Beginners
Search engines are software systems created to search the Internet after queries are entered into search boxes. The most popular search engine – by far – is Google, others you might not think of include; Amazon, Facebook, Bing, Pinterest, and YouTube. If you have a company that sells astronaut suits, you want your website to come up towards the top after a consumer enters “safest astronaut suits” into the search bar and hits the magnifying glass button.
Moz explains that effective SEO can increase the quality and quantity of your website traffic via organic search engine results. It also builds brand awareness, cements relationships with prospects, and positions you as a trusted expert in your industry.
Search Engine Optimization for Beginners: Keywords and Content
According to The Digital Marketing Institute, keywords were the original SEO technique, and in order to be effective, they have to be well-chosen, well-researched, and wisely placed. These words and phrases are used by prospects when they are searching for something online (astronaut, suit, safest astronaut suit), and can be put within the content, URLs (website addresses), and headlines.
Keyword research provides insight on the types of shorter and longer keywords that will work best, and it involves finding out what people search for, as well as the different ways they query (what are the best spacesuits). This research also helps companies find ideas for social media and blog posts, and it can familiarize them with their target audiences.
Once a prospect reaches a webpage, the content should be much more than just keywords, though. The written words, video, and media should be informative, original and interesting enough to engage the readers. An educational series with content about the latest developments in interstellar travel could be found and read by someone who is in a position to purchase astronaut suits for their agency. If he or she sees a perfectly positioned keyword that links to those products, it could drive your sales.
Search Engine Optimization for Beginners: Working With Google
Google is fully automated, so once you prepare your website for SEO, things should fall neatly into place. Google’s web crawlers are always working to find sites to add to their indexes, so websites do not have to be submitted manually. They do have webmaster guidelines that provide free assistance with building Google-friendly website pages. There is also a Google Search Console that has tools to help you monitor your Google Search results.
Your page titles should be accurate and unique, and written in a <title> tag that is in between the <head> element of the HTML document. To help Google find your content, you will also need to create a sitemap. This is a file that is on the website; it alerts search engines about page updates. You can also increase traffic by putting links on other website pages.
Google has many more SEO optimization instructions, including do’s and don’ts for writing titles, page description meta tags, site hierarchy, and more. They point out, though, that the most important feature of a website is “compelling and useful content.” Today’s consumers are smarter than ever, and they recognize good content when they see it. They will also be more inclined to share it through emails, social media, blog posts, and word-of-mouth if it is truly of value.
Does it Sound Too Complicated?
Optimizing a website can be a technical undertaking, and it is not for everyone. Should it seem too complicated, you can reach out to an SEO expert. These pros are trained on ways to improve your website’s visibility, and can take over the coding and more tedious aspects of the work.
If you have followed Google’s instructions but haven’t gotten increased website traffic or sales, you might benefit from hiring an SEO expert to perform a website audit. These consultants can provide technical advice, review site structure and content and assist with keywords. Search engine optimization experts also aid with content development, writing and can manage your online business development strategies.
Whether you choose to hire a professional or develop your own SEO strategy, you should have some goals in mind before you get started. Do you want to promote sales for one specific product, or across an entire brand? What geographic area do you want to target? This will point you in the right direction. Remember, if you want to be competitive in the world of digital marketing, SEO is the only way to shoot for the sky.