There is no doubt that SEO is here to stay, and that it needs to be part of your digital marketing strategy. In fact, 70% of digital marketers see SEO as more effective than online ads!
You may have a lot of questions about the new marketing phenomenon, but rest assured, it isn’t too complicated. In fact, it’s even pretty easy for beginners to get started.
Let’s talk about digital SEO, what it is, and what you need to know about the biggest marketing craze!
What Is Digital SEO?
Alright, you’ve probably been asking this question ever since you first heard it: what is SEO?
Search engine optimization, SEO, is the process of optimizing your web pages and other content to rank highly on specific Google searches. Google has a highly-advanced algorithm in place that ranks web pages based on a number of different factors, and how you are ranked could easily determine how your business performs.
Why do that? Well, organic traffic is simply better than ad traffic, and for many reasons.
Why You Should Care
The first is that you have to pay for every view or every interaction your ad gets. However, if you rock at SEO, you just show up at the top and get traffic organically.
Organic traffic also has higher conversion rates. Think about it. Are you more likely to buy sneakers from the 400th ad you’ve seen in the last hour, or are you more like to buy it when your shoe rips and you Google “new shoes”?
People are much more likely to interact with your site and make purchases when they find you organically. In fact, the top 3 results on Google get over 75% of the traffic on every page combined, so don’t underestimate it.
What If I Don’t Make It?
You may be thinking that if so much of the traffic goes to those top spots, and it’s such a competitive field, why even bother trying? Well, there’s plenty of reasons.
The truth is that showing up on the 3rd page or the 1st page on a Google search result could be the difference between a business that thrives and one that fails. It really is that important. Also, there are plenty of things you can do to get onto the first page. You just have to know what you’re doing.
How To Use General SEO
The first tip for SEO is to have a website. If you don’t have a website, then you’re not even in the game. Make a quality website that’s professional, displays your business, and is ready to compete in those search results! Here are some ways to get started with SEO for beginners.
Let’s say you own a clock repair shop. You have a homepage on your website, along with an “our services”, an “about us”, and a “contact us” page. Great, so does every other website.
If you only have 4 pages, then you only have 4 opportunities to rank highly on Google, and they’re basically the same as everyone else’s 4 primary pages. This is not going to wow the algorithm.
The more pages you add, the more professional your website will look, and the more chances you’ll have to rank. This does not mean you should sacrifice quality.
If you sell lighting, have a section for string lights, rope lights, LED bulbs, fluorescent lighting, stage lighting, and whatever other products you sell. Give product reviews for each of them, and keep all information relevant.
Build A Blog
If you want to know how to rank on a search engine, the blog is the one-stop shop. You could add a few dozen pages to your site, but it doesn’t compare to the thousands of blog posts you can add.
You can post all sorts of relevant content into your blog, and there’s never a ceiling on how much you can post! You can link these articles on your social media, ask other blogs to link to them, and create a much higher chance to rank up on Google. All it takes is one concrete post to give you the momentum to keep making more.
If you run a rehab center, you have millions of topics you could cover to reach your desired audience. Write articles about how to intervene with a loved one, different types of substance abuse disorder, how to tell if someone is addicted to alcohol, and so much more. The possibilities go as high as your imagination.
Also, look on competitor sites and see what they’re posting. Don’t plagiarize, but maybe spark some ideas on what you could be writing about.
Use The Right Keywords
Figure out what keywords work for your industry. Google will be able to give you some insights into this, and you can always do more research, but they can’t be overlooked. You want your content riddled with primary and secondary keywords.
Your primary keyword is the one you want to nail on the head. Put it in your intro, a header, your title, and your conclusion. You can also use it a couple more times throughout each article, but that should be enough.
From there, sprinkle in secondary keywords to really please the algorithm. Need an example?
If you’re selling makeup, you might write an article about the best makeup brands, in an attempt to drive traffic to your store. In this case, your primary keyword could be “best makeup brands” and you could use things like “best blush”, “the right concealer”, and “anti-clumping mascara”.
Don’t just do this in your blog, do it on product-review pages and any other relevant parts of your site.
Post Quality Content
Google’s algorithm does everything it can to detect useful and informative content, and it’s pretty sophisticated. Make sure your links are good and the anchor text is natural, and make sure you don’t add too much “fluff”.
Fluff is sentences that you add to an article to get up to a specific word count. Google will like a 1500 word article more than a 500 word, but only if the 1500 words have useful information that is relevant to the topic.
Keep using primary and secondary keywords, but keep the information informative. If you’re selling window tinting services and you write an article about the benefits of tinting your windows, avoid lines that say: “Window tintings are also nice because the tint looks cool on your windows.”
Keep everything informative, concise, and structured appropriately. Make sure your format is easy to read, and make avoid to many long paragraphs and big walls of text.
Make It Mobile-Friendly
Another important aspect to Google’s rankings is mobile-friendliness. By now, over 56% of all traffic is on mobile devices, so being phone-friendly is a must.
You can always use analytics tools to check this out, but you can also just go on your phone and look at your site to see what you can make improvements on. On your blog, make sure you don’t have to zoom in and scroll left and right to read the content.
Also, check out your page speed and make sure it’s going fast enough. That’s another important ranking factor that’s also associated with mobile-friendliness because your computer is likely faster than your iPhone.
If you don’t know about backlinks, the time to learn about them is yesterday. Backlinks are the primary way that Google ranks your site off of your pages. That’s right, you need to build off-page links to your site.
Think about how many times Forbes Magazine must be linked to by other sites. They’re always posting business and marketing data and statistics that other blogs and outlets are constantly crediting them with. The Wall Street Journal and CNN, which are two backlink goliaths on their own, will constantly link over to Forbes when mentioning stories or articles of theirs. That sets a huge foundation for the trustworthiness that Google’s algorithm will place onto the Forbes website, giving them a huge upper hand.
Because of this, Forbes could easily write the worst article in the world about the increasing costs of tacos and what it means for the economy. Your neighbor could then start a brand new blog and write the absolute best article about the subject, and give extensive details and research about the taco crisis, and they still won’t appear as highly as Forbes’ article. It stinks, but it’s the name of the game.
To build backlinks, you could try some affiliate marketing, paying quality blogs to link to your site. You could also try to reach agreements with other blogs to link to each others’ sites. Either way, if you keep posting useful, quality content, people will ultimately link to it for information. Other companies will have an advantage with their backlink chains, so quality is the one thing you can control.
Don’t give up though. It isn’t a pointless battle. There are plenty of other backlink strategies to try out if you need them, but this will get you started!
How To Use Local SEO
The great part about local SEO is that there’s less competition. If your business relies solely on blog traffic or eCommerce sales, then you have a lot of competition, even from just 3 of the biggest giants in the industries. However, if you’re a local hairdresser, you only have to compete with other hairdressers in town!
When people search “hairdressers near me” or “hairdressers in Worcester, Massachusetts”, Google gives them results from that area only, giving you a much easier path toward the top spot, which is still where the most traffic is.
Basically, you can put all the tools you learned about general SEO to use for local SEO, but have a much better chance of scoring a top rank. Do not skip out on the blog, whether or not the competition has one.
If they do, you need to keep up. If they don’t, they just handed you a free pass to surpass them on Google. Write articles about “the best hairstyles of the new decade” or “where to get a haircut in Worcester”. You’ll get a lot more traffic than any local business that isn’t already doing this.
Also, small businesses are less likely to take some of the opportunities to optimize, so making your site mobile-friendly or getting some backlinks could easily secure your spot on the top. From there, anybody coming into your town will be able to see you at the top when they search.
You’ll also have the opportunity to utilize local events to your advantage. If you own a bar, create a post titled “Best place to grab drinks after the (insert sports team) game” or something to that effect.
We know this is a lot of information to take in, but small steps will go a long way over time. However, if you’re not up to the challenge, you can always hire the professionals to get the job done right and blow the competition away!
Start Ranking Today
The world of digital SEO is getting more and more competitive, even at the local level, so it’s important that you start improving on it today. It’s arguably the most important digital marketing tool available, and you can get started today! If you don’t feel like it’s up your alley, you can always call in the professionals.
No matter what, be sure to keep up to date with our latest marketing news and find out the difference between SEO and SEM!