Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been on the rise in recent years, but its importance has certainly skyrocketed since online competition increased during the pandemic. Throughout all the recent changes in our world, there are some things we can be certain of: it is important now more than ever to create a strong brand presence for your business online, and website rankings are now crucial to the success of businesses.
SEO is defined by Google as, “The process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.” It can be broken down into 3 simple aspects: quality, quantity, and organic.
- Quality refers to getting viewers who are genuinely interested in your product or service.
- Quantity refers to achieving more of the right traffic.
- Organic means traffic that is not paid for. Believe it or not, those paid advertisements that pop up when you enter a search query only receive 18% of clicks, while organic results receive 82%. Ironically, 80% of budgeting by companies goes to paid search advertising, and only 20% to SEO and organic search results. This means opportunity. This is great news for you.
Search is a huge deal. While other aspects of branding, exposure, and outside influence may increase demand for a product or service, search is how that demand is fulfilled. When done effectively, SEO can drive your website traffic up significantly by helping your website rank higher in searches, ultimately growing your business. The subject can seem intimidating at first, so this blog is here to help you with the basics.
Here are the ‘ABCs of SEO’, and the must-knows for getting started:
Always Consider Business Objectives
When beginning to explore Search Engine Optimization, it’s always important to consider your business’ objectives. A great way to do this is to start by asking yourself, “How can an increase in search traffic actually help us accomplish our business goals?”
Remember, the quality portion of SEO indicates that it is only effective if those viewing your website are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It is immensely important to consider your audience’s needs when practicing SEO. When you place yourself in your audience’s shoes, it is easier to see where you might be lacking.
Ask yourself, “What is my audience seeking today that they can’t successfully find?” - a great way to do this, is to actually enter search queries into search engines and see what ranks high in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Pay close attention to the top organic results, and try to figure out how you can offer something 10 times better than any of these options. Remember, in website rankings, even just moving up one level significantly increases your site traffic according to click through rate statistics from SimilarWeb.
Brand Driven Metrics Are on the Rise
The next thing to consider when implementing effective SEO to your business is your brand as a whole. Ultimately, how you brand your business is what’s going to stick with your clients after they leave your website.
While it may seem easier to think about quick-fixes to achieve a higher SERP ranking, it is more important to think long-term and focus on building or growing your brand altogether. Successfully building a brand takes a lot of trial and error, but it is well worth it in the long run. Finding the intersection of what you are good at, where your audience is, and where you can provide unique value is a winning combination for developing your brand and growing your business.
Effectively developing your brand will also assist you with exposure to your website and other content you share as you build relationships. Before you publish any content or launch something new to your website, have an answer to the question, “Who will help amplify this and why?” This could be a co-worker, social influencer, blogger, partner or journalist. Having solid connections you can rely on before releasing content can help that initial boost to what you are releasing online.
Brand identity is what holds a business together, and with patience and determination it will help get your business onto the screens of the right audience, and bring you to the SEO sweet spot.
Complexity is Increasing
If there is anything you MUST takeaway from this blog, it is this: SEO is complex, and it is ever-changing. Just a few years ago, keyword-based domain names worked for achieving high rankings - today, they are considered untrustworthy or seen as spam due to the advancement and complexity of Google’s algorithms.
While keyword-based strategies continue to shrink, links are still a big deal. Circling back to branding, finding an effective link name is key for establishing authority and for your website’s success. Page-level link features also weigh heavily when it comes to ranking in Google. This relates to both the number of links within your website’s pages, and the credibility of the external links you have on your site.
Having relevant, recent content continuously updated on your site also plays a large role for ranking well in search engines. While these factors may seem obvious, others come as a surprise. Like, even though having a strong social media presence is crucial for branding, it is perceived to have a minor impact on SERPs. Confusing? Just a little. Clearly, there is a lot to play around with, and this is only the surface.
The golden advice? Think of the beginning as a learning experience rather than an improvement process, and you will never fail. When only learning is expected, finding that sweet spot that advances your site and enhances your audience is a true victory. Investing in SEO is well worth the effort. Play around with it - don’t be afraid to explore - you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!