What is SEO?
SEO stands for "search engine optimization." It's the process of getting online traffic to your website via search engine results. The purpose is to create a seamless user experience and communicate to search engines your intentions so they can recommend your website for relevant searches.
Why Should I Care?
The whole purpose of a website is to get viewed by consumers. If your website is optimized for search engines, when consumers are surfing the web looking for what they need, they will find you.
Things Search Engines Look For:
Strong User Experience (UX) Design
One of the most important aspects of SEO is simply having a well-designed website. To achieve this, be sure you're investing in a strong user experience (UX) design. This means ensuring your website is up-to-date (not 5+years old), providing a pleasant navigation and a memorable impression for users. Your site should ideally be custom built by a professional web designer and developer. Attention to information architecture, website infrastructure and choice of content management system (CMS) play an important role in the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
Implementing website copy that is made for search engines is crucial for effective SEO. To ensure your website content is SEO-friendly, have a marketing copywriter create content for your website. A professional will understand how to perform the proper market research needed to create the right type of content for your target audience and for search engines. It's a very strategic process that involves formulating content solutions designed to drive certain behaviors at key times to achieve business goals.
Inbound and Outbound Links
Create authority by sharing expert-level content on a regular basis. In doing so, more people on the web will link to your information. This helps your SEO. Within your own website content, it's good to include inbound links that link to other places on your website. To do so, you must have a lot of quality content on your website. Also, including outbound links that lead to other places on the web is also helpful for improving SEO.
SEO is not only important to implement on-site, but should extend to other off-site platforms, which is why you should also be thinking about multi-channel optimization. These multi-channel platforms include:
- Offline, such as radio and TV ads
Right Keywords and Phrases
Having appropriate search terms in your copy is essential for strong SEO. In order to know, you have to perform market research. You can't just guess or assume you know what your consumers are typing in the search box. Fortunately, there are SEO research tools online that will help you find the best, most relevant keywords. Some helpful resources include:
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
- Google Trends
- Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
- Wordtracker's Free Basic Keyword Demand
For optimal results, it's best that all your pages be associated with your website's domain. Sometimes, businesses will use subdomains for certain entities, such as a blog. That does not help page rank results in search engines. I've also seen companies create a separate website for mobile using a whole different domain name instead of simply making their website responsive to adapt to all devices. Again, that is not good for SEO. So, to ensure your website is going to perform well in search engines, keep everything in your website consistent within its domain.
Page Titles + Meta Data
There are some small details that make a world of difference to search engine results. Your website's page titles have major effects on search results. You must be sure to name all page titles of your website, using your company name and a relevant bit of keyword information that describes what is on that page in the URL. If you fail to define page titles, each page will be labeled by default as "home." This is terrible for SEO because when bots are crawling your site looking for that pertinent information, and all they see is "home," your website won't stand a chance in coming up in search results. Also be sure to define alt tags for all images because bots don't read images, only words. For every image on your website, there should be an associated alt tag in HTML. Finally, be sure to use meta descriptions for each page, so when your website does come up in search results, there is a description to quickly learn about that page.
Don't Be Afraid of The Internet
SEO has only become "mainstream" business information since around 2010. As a relatively new concept in digital marketing, it is hard for some business owners to catch on as it has been quickly evolving over the last several years. Many business owners shy away from learning about SEO because it it seems too technical and confusing. However, having a baseline understanding about what SEO is and how it works is essential to running a business.