Marketing: SEO Basics
By Ryan Russell
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and its success is the foundation and result of your digital marketing and advertising efforts equal to the visibility and traffic to your website. SEO is the culmination of your website, landing pages, listings (GMB, Yelp, Etc.), social media profiles, and advertising campaigns working together in a cohesive manner in order to provide your business a stronger online presence. Everything you create or is written about you online effectively helps or hurts your SEO.
The main, and sometimes only, goal of SEO is to drive more traffic and in turn bring more leads to your online properties. SEO can be a beast with a wealth of information and ways to tackle it.
The overall goal of SEO is generating a rise in visibility to your website. Most of the time, this is accomplished by the constant generation of content and upkeep of digital platforms and their association with your business, website, and domain name. Content is king and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Properly descriptive and tagged videos, images, and blogs provide web crawlers the information to “connect the dots” and associate quality content to your businesses name, services, and location. However, it isn’t as simple as creating things once and moving on, Google and other search engines like to see fresh content that is constantly providing visitors with quality information associated with you. Cross promoting and sharing the content that is on different platforms with one another will also allow these web crawlers to connect your various online accounts with one another, furthering your overall presence. This is where things move into upkeep and when making sure your businesses information is consistent across the board becomes vital. Having a misspelled name, incorrect address (even by the letter or number), or even a missing/different service can give a poor impression. These search engines are looking for information that proves one another by matching important details to various information found online. For example; Facebook states your address as “123 Street McStreet” while your Google listing and website say, “321 Road McRoad”. This causes a breakdown in information for search engines and when verifying your listings, backlinks, and additional online platforms, it will affect how positively or negatively the search engines will see you. In order to help raise visibility, it gets broken down like this; Create, share, and refresh content while keeping information about your business consistent. While this doesn’t provide the whole picture of generating visibility it gives a digestible and “anyone can do it” approach. Use a phone to record a video or take pictures related to your business, write blogs free on Medium, or hire companies to do it for you. You should always be creating something for your business. Either way, it is a simple approach that can equal massive successes for you and your work.
A more advanced look at SEO will bring you down the path of lite web development…almost. While search engines make sure to view and score your customer facing content and information, it is also looking at how the website is structured. Behind the scenes of a website is information that allows the web crawlers to determine how focused and trustworthy a site is. This is where Headers are labeled and built out to reflect page titles, schema tags are used to determine vital business information, and meta descriptions are there to provide insight into your page content. You will also look to implement “robot.txt” files that assist the web crawler in determining what pages are going to be seen in order, your website’s mobile experience, load times, and much more. Each of the methods used above work together to provide better ranking for your website. Jealous of websites at the top 3 positions in your standard search results or maps? There is a good chance that, by doing the work above, you will be among them. The differences in traffic between each position is worth the effort (See the image below. A study by searchenginewatch.com)!
Now, if a top position is not quite your goal just yet and you are simply looking to break onto the first page, it may be even more important to start executing SEO. The first page, on average, sees 90% of all traffic on Google. Less than 10% of the users on Google go to page 2. Best place to hide a body is on the second page of Google or so they say. Another claim that supports doing some form of SEO is Google organic search results receive 90% of the clicks on the first page compared to 10% for paid ads at the top. Now that’s not too say paid ads are not worth it, but when generating visibility and large numbers of traffic is your goal, a SEO focused approach is going to serve you best.
Now, with all of that said, SEO isn’t an overnight success, in fact it usually isn’t a success the first week to month. My experiences building out and implementing SEO strategies have seen most wins start between 30 and 90 days. This will change depending on competition, willingness to complete content (and continue to do so), and your geographical location. However, it is important to make the effort. Create content, optimize your website and social media pages, post about it and share. You never know, you may just enjoy it!