It’s just common sense that if your business has a website, you want to put it in front of more potential customers. To do that, search engine optimization (SEO) is often a good way of bringing targeted traffic to your business since people are searching for exactly what you do. But, how do you make that happen?
First, run a simple, quick test on your site.
Open an incognito window in Chrome (you don’t want to be signed in to your Gmail account when you do this), and search for relevant search terms that your company should rank for. Think of what your ideal customer might search to find you and see if your site shows up on the first 3 pages.
If you’re not seeing relevant results for your site, then a little SEO could go a long way. A quick chat with an SEO firm like ours could add more of what you need to your digital marketing plans for the new year.
What Is SEO Exactly?
Search Engine Optimization is the process that business owners and digital marketing firms use to optimize their online content. SEO’s sole purpose is to rank your website higher than your competitors in search engine results. Since most people use Google to search, this is the 900-pound gorilla we mostly want to make happy.
SEO tactics target unpaid, organic traffic. When it comes to SEO, you’ll be looking for an uptick in traffic that doesn’t come from paid search engine or social media ads.
Think of it this way, your business provides a solution. Your customers are using Google to find the solutions you provide all the time. If your business website isn’t listed among the solutions, there’s no way you will get the clicks or calls.
The backbone of SEO is targeting the correct keywords for your site, as well as the beginnings of a thorough competitor and market research campaign. To show up in search engine results, you’ve got to know which search words and phrases your target audience is searching for. This is called keyword research and it’s fundamental to a good SEO strategy.
But, keyword research is only one aspect of SEO. There are hundreds of ranking factors that make up the Google algorithm which is what they use to rank websites. Those of us who’ve been optimizing websites for many years have learned to think more like Google to give the search giant what they want.
Why SEO Is Important
The resounding consensus for 2021 is that SEO is still critical for businesses that seek online success. The SEO essentials, when implemented correctly, will take your brand to the next level and bring hundreds if not thousands of visitors a month.
SEO will increase your online searchability, causing a significant boost in your organic traffic and build your trust and credibility among consumers. When potential buyers don’t have to dig up your website by clicking through numerous Google pages, you’ll immediately see an increase in conversions.
Google owns around 70-75% of the search market, and people trust what it suggests. If your website is user-friendly and offers relevant content, you can be sure that Google will recommend it over lower-quality sites when you keep on top of your SEO.
The importance of SEO doesn’t rest solely on the fact that it makes your website easier to find. Your competitors are using SEO, which means if you don’t, it won’t take long for your site to get lost in the shuffle. These days, it’s near impossible to reach your desired level of success without it.
The ROI of SEO
When done correctly, SEO is incredibly profitable. The initial investment and paying for a digital marketing team to keep your site updated is well worth the cost. The return on your investment you’ll see from organic traffic conversions is sure to solidify your trust in the SEO process.
There are many ways that businesses calculate ROI, primarily when they’re running various ad campaigns and have products and services for sale. When you look at your ROI concerning SEO, you should ensure that you set up analytics and conversion tracking as they pertain to your SEO strategy.
You’ll want to track your lead generation as well and how many of your organic leads turn into sales. You can keep your ROI for various channels separate as well, which will give you a better idea of which leads are coming from where.
One simple way to determine the ROI of SEO is this: consider what your average customer is worth. Measure that with your monthly SEO rate. For example, if your average customer is worth $1000 and you’re paying $1000/month for SEO then you only need one client per month from SEO to break even and two to be profitable, etc.
What You Need Before Considering SEO
Before you put your SEO plan into action, it’s essential that you have a really well-designed website. There’s simply no point in wasting money paying for SEO if you have an old or dated website. You’d simply be paying an SEO nerd to drive traffic to a website that wouldn’t convert clients to customers.
Not to mention, search engine bots fully comprehend the quality of a website, especially when it comes to content and layout. Web crawlers don’t lie, so if you have filler content and poor aesthetics on your website, you’ll fall quickly in the search result standings.
At Make It Loud, we won’t even accept clients for SEO if they don’t have a site we feel strongly that we can work with. It’s just bad business.
Not All SEO is Equal
For years now, people have said that they sell SEO services, but unfortunately, there is no standard for what that actually means. If two firms both say they do SEO, the difference may be night and day when it comes to results. One SEO firm may impress you with all the jargon about technical SEO, schema markup, H-tags, anchor text links, your XML sitemap, etc. while the other company may just tell you that they’ll do everything they can to get your site ranked effectively.
To us, the difference is that a good SEO company needs to write content for you. Whether this includes blogs or landing pages, a content strategy needs to be part of every site’s SEO strategy.
SEO requires in-depth analysis and the skilled implementation of white-hat tactics that help businesses rise above the competition and gain conversions. Don’t let someone baffle you with their knowledge of industry-related jargon.
Think of it this way, good SEO is like putting a 10,000 piece puzzle together. There are a lot of different pieces. Being able to label them all doesn’t get your site on page one. Putting as many together as possible gets you there.
Bare Essentials of SEO
For business owners who want to try and get their own website on the first page of Google, we’ve built a list of things that we consider the bare essentials. After you have a well-designed website, here’s where we think your DIY efforts should start:
Mobile-Friendly– this has been important for years now, but Google now prioritizes your mobile site more than your desktop version. If your site doesn’t look good on the phone, then your online presence will suffer.
Identify your main keywords– Again, think of what your customers search to find what you do. Think of the most general terms first then list out some more indirect or long-term keywords. For example, if you sell shoes, then “shoes” would be the most general keyword while “black and red Nikes” would be more indirect
Use These Keywords Strategically- Each page of your site needs a page title and a meta description (a little blurb that describes what your web page is about). This is the beginning of what’s called “on-page SEO”. You want to make sure each page of your site has a dedicated keyword used in both the page title and the description but on the page as well. Don’t repeat the keyword over and over. Use that main keyword and synonyms for it naturally.
Technical SEO- These days, this term falls more along the lines of page load speed. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load then you are losing visitors. Slow speeds can be a result of many different factors like the size of images on your site, coding issues, etc. It’s worth it to pay someone who knows how to improve your site speed to get your loading time down.
Well Written Content- Good business consultants will tell you to know your audience. Your website needs content that is written specifically for your ideal customers. Use your keywords, but only use them naturally. Using keywords over and over again and in weird places can put you in trouble with Google but worse, it can completely turn away your customers.
Google Analytics– Knowing how your website is doing is an essential part of SEO. Google provides tools to help you understand how people interact with your website, and this data can help you make more informed decisions.
Backlinks– Link building is one of the hardest parts of SEO, but if you belong to professional associations or networking groups, be sure to ask these organizations to list your business website. This helps Google see your site as a trusted authority.
SEO is complicated, but a reputable marketing team and a list of SEO’s bare essentials will get you started on the right foot. Don’t worry about trying to incorporate everything at once, and bring your focus to what your business needs at the moment.
At Make It Loud, we’re focused on helping our clients apply the best SEO practices based on individual assessments and requirements. We’ve been in the business for more than fifteen years, and we’ve seen everything that SEO has to offer and dedicate our teams to keeping up with changes and tactics.
Call us today to help you improve your search engine marketing!