The landscape of the Internet is constantly changing. In order for your business to keep up, it’s essential to understand SEO and marketing. A good SEO strategy improves search engine positions, draws customers to your site and gives you an edge over the competition.
What Is SEO?
Wikipedia defines search engine optimisation, or SEO, as “the process of improving the visibility of a website…in a search engine’s “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results.” Since most of your customers are likely to come across your site via search rather than visiting directly, you should have a solid SEO strategy in place as part of your marketing plan. When potential customers search for particular keywords, you want your site to be the first thing that they see.
Read: What is Local SEO
Know Your Keywords
In order to optimize your site for search, you need to anticipate what people are going to search for. What terms are likely to lead them to your site? For example, if your business sells red widgets, potential customer searches may include “red widget prices” or “buy cheap red widgets.” Make a list of the most likely keywords and use that as the starting point for your SEO efforts.
Read: Basic Keyword Research
Analyse the Competition
Take your list of keywords and run them through Google. Visit the sites that rank the highest and see what they did to get there. Understanding the strategies that your competition is using will help you to improve your own website.
Catch your Customer’s Attention
Traditional marketing aims to bring customers to a business through ad campaigns and incentives. By contrast, SEO marketing makes use of keyword-rich content to drive traffic. This can be a series of articles on topics related to your business, blog posts that incorporate keywords in the content or even social media posts. Use whatever is most relevant to your target market to grab people’s attention and encourage them to visit your site.
Create Content that Satisfies User Intent
Whether it’s your home page, a product description or a keyword-rich blog post, the content that you post should be of the highest quality. Putting as many keywords as possible on a page isn’t good SEO; in fact, search engines consider this to be a poor practice and may pass you by entirely, thereby hurting your rankings. Instead, the content you create should be informative, relevant and to the point with keywords incorporated naturally into the text.
Read: Satisfy Consumer Intent
Turn Clicks into Sales
Simply getting people to click through to your site from outside content doesn’t make them into new customers. In order to keep visitors engaged, the content of your site has to be of the same high quality as your articles or blog posts. Layout and navigation matter as well. If your site is cluttered, difficult to read or lacks clear links, potential customers will leave without making a purchase.
Build Brand Loyalty
Once you get people coming to your site, you want to keep them coming back in the future. Use your blog and other content to establish your company as an authority on subjects relating to your products and services. Be personable in all of your customer interactions and prompt when replying complaints. People will remember a good experience and be more likely to return to your company when they need more of what you sell.
Focus on Local
As a small business, you probably already have some sort of local presence. Translate this to the Internet by listing your location on Google Places, Facebook Places, Yelp, Foursquare and other location-based services. Local listings such as Yahoo Local and CitySearch can also help to drive traffic to your site simply by letting local customers know you’re there. Customers can also leave comments and reviews on these sites. This modern version of word-of-mouth advertising is free and helps give your business credibility among local consumers.
Expand Social Media Presence
Part of your SEO marketing effort should focus on generating quality links to your content. Organic backlinks from reliable sources tell search engines that your content is worth listing, and one of the easiest ways to get those links is through social media. Staying active on Facebook, Twitter and other popular sites keeps your business visible to a wide group of potential customers. When friends and followers share links to your blog, SEO articles and other relevant content, they generate positive buzz for your business.
When you put an SEO marketing plan in place, you have to be prepared to modify it over time. Using an analytics tool such as Google Analytics, keep an eye on your site traffic. Are the keywords you chose at the beginning driving the most traffic, or are customers finding you with other terms? You may be surprised what brings people to your site. Incorporate high-performing keywords into new content as they emerge to ensure that your search engine rankings remain high.
Keywords, content and a solid brand presence are all part of SEO and online marketing. If you keep an eye on relevant keywords and integrate them into all facets of your online business presence, you should begin to see improved search engine rankings and more visitors.
Maintain a high-quality website, and these visitors will become customers in no time.
Online Ownership offers a bespoke local SEO consulting service aimed at helping you improve visibility and grow your business in the real world.