When you first start to think about dipping your toes into SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, in order to enhance your marketing strategy—the pool may seem deep and daunting. You may be asking yourself, “Where do I even start?” Generally speaking, you need to start by understanding how search engines work and why they are so important to growing your business.
Search engines like Google and Bing rank your site against competitors and various other sites, offering you a tremendous opportunity to improve your brand’s awareness and ability to be found for keywords that relate to your brand. Without a solid SEO strategy, it will be difficult for your ideal customer to find you when they’re looking for help with the solution to the problem your product or service solves for them.
We have put together a list of ways to improve your Google rankings with little effort. But first let’s start with the basics, like what is SEO?
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, stands for the process of optimizing your company’s website to improve rankings and awareness through search engine sites (most often Google). Due to a large market of people constantly searching for terms across the internet, SEO is essential for your brand to be uncovered by visitors through keyword searches that may or may not be directly related to your brand name.
Further, SEO is a low cost strategy that can produce amazing results for your business. By optimizing your content for search engines, you can ensure your target audience is always able to find you through an organic search. The higher you rank, the more traffic you’re likely to generate to your website. You can save lots of your marketing dollars by not having to pay Google to show your brand on the first page of Google in the search results for the terms that matter to your business.
Here’s How to Improve SEO
Ultimately, SEO optimization is neither a one-and-done activity nor a quick fix. In addition to the time it takes to manually update for SEO best practices, it also requires ongoing monitoring. Keep in mind that improvements take time to register with search engines. We typically instruct clients that it takes 8-12 weeks for SEO changes to come to fruition.
Step 1: Connect Your Site to Search Console
Search Console is a free, highly important tool provided by Google. Specifically, Search Console is your way of telling Google to index your site, thereby improving your search rankings as Google is able to verify the pages directly.
Within the Search Console dashboard, you can review site issues that may be affecting your company’s ability to rank higher on Google. We highly recommend that you review your Search Console Core Web Vitals report to see what URLs may be performing poorly and hampering your site’s rankings.
Further, you can tie back your SEO Results to Google Analytics in order to better understand how visitors are engaging with your site following an organic search click. In case of eCommerce or tracking form submissions through Google Goals, you are able to receive insight into what keywords and pages are driving the most conversions on your site.
Step 2: Add Keywords to Your Page Titles, Descriptions, URL, and On-Page Content
There are three important areas where you must incorporate the keyword you wish to target and rank better for in organic searches. In doing so, you are letting search engines know what your page is about and the answers you have to help address the visitor’s search.
- Page Title: The Page Title shows up in searches as the blue header text. Search Engines utilize this data to rank pages and it is often helpful to address top-related questions or create an actionable statement in the page title.
- Page Description: Similar to the page title, the page description appears in search results as the small text underneath the title. Search Engines display more content in the page description, giving you prime opportunity to write copy that catches the attention of internet users.
- URL: Every page on the internet (outside of the home page) has a URL slug following the domain name. This blog’s URL is “/what-is-seo”. It is highly recommended to make this URL contain the keyword as Search Engines will use the URL to determine rankings. Note: Do not change URL unless absolutely necessary or your page will take time to recover lost rankings from a switched URL.
Step 3: Research and Target Highly Searched Keywords for New Content
As mentioned, SEO is not a one and done strategy. New content is imperative to continue to rank well on search engines and indicates that your site is still relevant and maintained. Creating new content is the most time-intensive part of a good SEO strategy, and there are a lot of places to start.
Most often, SEO strategies recommend targeting highly searched keywords. Using free tools, like UberSuggest, you can research how often keywords are being searched and the types of sites that frequently appear in the top rankings for that keyword.
An easy way to get started is by choosing keywords related to your business and answering commonly asked questions about those keywords. For example, if you sell business consulting services, consider writing an article about what business consulting is. In doing so, you will begin to rank well for highly searched keywords and generate brand awareness.
Step 4: Utilize SERP Features, such as People Also Ask (PAA)
What are SERP Features? SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page and the features indicate the different types of results that Google displays. The most common SERP features include the map pack (i.e. when you are trying to find food near you), People Also Ask (a list of common questions and expandable answers), and the answer box (where search engines display a paragraph that may answer the search query).
SERP Features indicate opportunity in the market to rank well and “bypass” the competition to the first page of search results. In order to bypass, you must optimize your content for the search engine so that information is read and displayed correctly. For example, phrasing your blog to answer a question, like we have done above, tells the search engine that we have an answer for a frequently asked question.
Bonus Tip: Work with 3rd Party Sites, like Capterra or CIO.com, to Obtain Backlink Traffic
In some cases, ranking well for keywords may be very difficult. Big sites, like Wikipedia, Capterra or CIO.com, may own the top rankings in search results for keywords with a major market with little opportunity for brands to gain awareness through their own site. When this happens, consider the phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
A popular strategy for SEO is to partner with these sites and garner backlinks back to your site. For example, sites like Capterra, who review the competitive market, offer opportunities to display your company’s information and in some cases, advertise. By partnering with these sites, you are able to grab traffic through visitors utilizing 3rd party sites to learn more about the companies that offer services they are looking for.
Through site optimizations and strategic content marketing, you can optimize your site for SEO in order to improve your rankings on major search engines. Though it takes time for results to produce, it is a low cost and effective strategy in order to gain brand awareness. Good luck! If you need support starting out or improving your SEO strategy, reach out to us and an expert from our team can discuss specific business needs with you.
P.S. An effective content strategy is critical to strong SEO. Download our complimentary eBook to learn how to create content that will actually attract and convert new customers for your business.
We also recently held a webinar with an expert panel where we discuss how you can develop a marketing strategy that directly aligns with your business goals. You can watch the replay here
Want to talk to someone on our team about how you can put all of these ideas into practice? Just fill out the form below.
About the Author
Marketing Manager Dexter Burgess takes the lead on implementing new tactics and promoting change through data-driven strategies. Dex works hard at client relations through consistent communication and positive feedback, never settling until the customer is understood and happy.
&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.
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