You’ve heard about SEO for years. For some reason, everyone into marketing and design keeps talking about it, but nobody can really say what it is.
Why? What is it?
Don’t go anywhere! I can explain exactly what it is THEN you can become an SEO expert and get paid absurd amounts of money just for writing.
Why do I need SEO? What the heck is it?
Search engine optimization has been many things throughout the years. Google, Bing and other search engines have an algorithm that sends out computer visitors to websites around the world. These little spiders constantly search the web, traveling through the pages by ‘clicking” on the links and following where that goes. Doing this the massive quantity of virtual spiders have effectively mapped the internet.
Over the years the rules change as the technicians realize different ways people can abuse the system. Why would anyone abuse it?
Google ranks websites depending on this algorithm and sorts those websites that have good rankings first in the search engine list. Anytime somebody goes to Bing or Google and searches for something, say “electrician,” google gives the user those websites it’s been constantly ranking with the best ones first. This is called natural or organic traffic because you don’t have to pay for this. These people naturally find your website by using search engines.
Most people stop within the first few pages of search results, so you can see why ranking high is very important for constant free traffic. Please note we are not discussing paid advertisements at all yet.
Google’s current ranking appreciates quality content
Turns out the very best method of keeping people on your website is to give them something they want. Weird, huh?
Crafting quality copy-wright and designing images appropriate to what you’re talking about is very important today.
It’s always been important, but now Google specifically grades on end user session duration — meaning the longer visitors stay on your website the higher ranking your page can receive. Note I say ‘can’ and not ‘will.’ There are many traits that go into your page rank.
Make your content engaging and informative and you may find your page rank start to rise. Just remember it takes time!
Keep visitors on your site for longer!
Do whatever it takes to make your customers happy. That’s what business tells us to do (but never for free), except online you often have to get people through the door. It’s very common for even elite organizations to offer free services or limited functionality of their website for free.
Keeping your guests on your website for a longer duration than your competitors signals the search empires that you may have something people are actually looking for. This raises your ranking.
It should be said that confusing your audience, or tricking them into staying through deceit will get your page penalized. Huge screen covering pop-ups can hurt your ranking, as can making people search through your whole site for the information they desire. If people become frustrated Google can pick up on that through bounce rates (how often people leave your site) and session duration (how long they stick around.)
Again it comes down to paying for or designing properly crafted quality content. Know what your audience is looking for and double-down on that. Find those special niches that the market hasn’t touched much of, because I know through experience that most businesses still aren’t online!
Use a few short keywords together!
When you begin in SEO work you may find it pretty difficult in landing your new website in the top ranks for your field. Everyone discovers this at some point, but where you go from then on is important. There are workarounds that can get your page the ranking you’ve been fighting for.
Top level searches are very difficult to break into (though not impossible, and the rewards are amazing…) because there’s so much competition. Instead of trying to rank your website with keywords like “electrician” use fewer, very descriptive keywords that tell a story of sorts. If you design your sites with longtail keywords like “24/7 cheap electrician” you will find it doesn’t take quite as much work to begin topping the ranks.
The more descriptive the better it is, but try to stick to two or three words — any more and you may not get enough traffic to be worth it. Remember it’s important to do your homework to find what people are actually searching for. There are a few websites that can help you with this, more on that later.
Just stick to Local SEO
Localizing your search engine optimizations can be another quick and efficient way to make your work load a little lighter.
Let’s say you have a client who is a dentist. Her website is doing okay, but she tells you she just isn’t getting as many clients as she feels she can handle. There are a few hours she has no physical traffic at her office. She thinks she needs a website to get more people through the door, and she has an idea on what it should look like.
This dentist is a prime candidate for local optimization. Include keyword tags like “Dentist Phoenix, AZ” and “85001 teeth cleaning” as this is likely to have less competition than global SEM (but not always.) Adding content to her website like blog posts about dentistry, information people might be looking for if their teeth are broken or hurting, pictures to help convince people they need to see a dentist, etc. Title a blog post on “Quick, Efficient Teeth Cleaning” and detail some procedures people could do from home.
This is hard! How do I pick Keywords?
There are tools out there which can help you figure out this very question: how do I know what people are looking for?
SEMRush is one such tool. It’s a very detailed website able to pick apart visitor traffic, search terms, keyword viability, and much more. I’ve used it myself and it can really help you understand the underlying mechanics of how your website is doing, and more importantly other websites.
Pick a competitor or two and use SEMRush on their webpages to determine what keywords they are using and how well those keywords are doing, both globally, locally and using longtail keywords.
The downside is it’s not free, but that’s how all the good services are these days.
That’s not all! There’s more!
Well, there’s always more, because this industry will continue to change. Come back in a week when I go over even more details on digital marketing and ensuring your website gets the notice it deserves!