What is SEO?
Let’s take a moment to discuss the importance of SEO in your overall web marketing strategy. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of setting your website up for success in Google, Bing, Yahoo and every search engine out there today. Let’s cut straight to the chase here. When a person is using the internet and they type a phrase into the top of their address bar or into the search box in Google, they receive a list of websites that the search engine thinks best matches the information they are seeking. For instance, if I were to type the phrase “Dog houses for large dogs” into Google, I would receive a list that looks exactly like this:
As you can imagine, the websites that hit the first page of Google for any given search are sure to see a tremendous amount of traffic as they are the first sites to provide the information that the consumer is looking for in the first place. That’s the very basic and most obvious reason to care about where your website ranks for search terms related to your products. But, as with everything in life, it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Benefits of SEO
As we just observed, the closer a website is towards the top of the first page in Google the more traffic they will receive. Let’s break that down a little further. Believe it or not, the actual phrase “dog houses for large dogs”, those exact words, are entered into Google over 4,000 times every month in the United States alone! Take a look at this from a keyword tool that analyses searches for keyword phrases.
As you can see, every single month 4,471 people type “dog houses for large dogs” into Google. The next column over called ‘Traffic’ is just an estimate of how many people would click on your website, each month, if you ranked on the first page of Google for this phrase. The following column, ‘QSR’, is the number of other websites who are competing to rank for that exact phrase either through articles about large dog houses, products using that exact phrase, etc. The reason you see the word ‘Great’ and an SEO score of ’90’ is because that’s a tremendous amount of people searching Google using those exact words and not a lot of websites competing for them. (Generally, anything under 100 websites competing is a good keyword to go for)
Imagine in your niche with your products, if the brokers searching the internet for insurance related products, financial planning tools, annuity rate calculators, etc. were able to see your site first in Google. The potential for driving business to your company through SEO is profound. What’s even better is this beautiful fact: since we are all human, we don’t all type in the same words for the same information. This means that there are hundreds and thousands of search phrases that people type in that your website can try to rank highly for. The pie is large and there is enough for everyone!
What Else Affects My SEO Ranking?
While content that focuses on keywords and phrases is a dominant driver for SEO ranking, there are several other factors to consider as well. Google’s search algorithm also seriously considers technical aspects of a website when it is crawling the web. For instance, outbound links from your website to other websites are taken into view. Perhaps you have links to all of your business partners and product/vendor partners on your website. If any of these links are broken or lead the reader to a ‘Website Not Found -404″ error, Google’s crawling robots frown on this and it should be fixed immediately.
Google also frowns on unsecured sites (the little ‘https’ at the top of the address bar on this page tells you that the site is secure from hackers. If it was missing the ‘s’ and was simply ‘http’ that would designate a site without a security certificate). In fact there are dozens of small, technical items that can make Google’s robots frown but they are all fixable once discovered. So I suppose the next question should be:
How to Make Google’s Robots Smile 🙂
Making Google happy makes your bottom line happy too! Fortunately, there are a bunch of things we can do to make those little robot crawlers filled with glee and enthusiasm for your website. Here’s a barebones list:
- Perform a thorough SEO Audit to clear up potential technical drawbacks in your website
- Write keyword targeted, consumer focused, sparkling content in the form of articles and posts
- Add posts and articles to your website regularly so that the bots can see that your website is active
- Add comments to your articles and posts to get a conversation going. Robots love to see an active conversation
- Leverage your social media (Facebook, Twitter etc.) to announce your new website content and drive people towards it
- Make sure that all images on your site have descriptions for people who cannot see that use the internet (remember, the robots can’t see either and they will use these descriptions to understand the images as well)
- Have your vendors link back to your site on their websites (robots like to see that other people value your site, too!)
There are many tasks you can perform to improve your search rankings but perhaps the most important task is to have a strategy in the first place.
Create a Strategy, Follow it Flawlessly
I cannot stress this enough. Get your people together for an exciting meeting. All of your people. Together, define precisely who your target audience is. Not just if they are insurance brokers or dog owners or what have you, but be more specific if you can. What information do they need the most? What are their dreams? How can your products and your company help them achieve their dreams? Once you know the answers to these questions review your mission statement (or create one if you don’t have one) and apply it to your SEO strategy moving forward.
What Should We do Next?
An SEO Audit is the first step in a solid SEO Strategy but the good news is that besides the technical details of how to improve a website for search rankings, it will also give an in depth look at your users as well as an educated opinion about which specific steps to take moving forward. You will be provided with a list of keywords for your niche that your people can use to craft informative, user-intent driven articles and posts. All you need to do after that is what you are already excellent at…delegate.
If Anne from accounting is secretly an excellent writer who is passionate about End of Life Financial Planning, have her write an article about it. If John from sales wants to discuss his favorite product of yours, have him write about it. As you can see, SEO should be a company-wide effort. In my opinion, every aspiration within a business should be promoted company-wide. Once you adopt a sound SEO strategy your business will begin to benefit from the millions of people online looking for exactly what your company has to offer them. Over the months after you begin your SEO adventure, watching your rankings for certain keywords and phrases go higher and higher in the mighty Google algorithm will make the entire company proud. I wish you success in your efforts and happiness in your success!