You are a small business owner. You have a website, and you want to get more visitors to it so that you can convert them into customers.
You’ve looked online to learn how to get more traffic to your business website, and you came across something called SEO that is supposed to help you. So now here you are trying to figure out how to do SEO, right? This article will give you a good overview of what SEO is, how it works and how you can begin implementing it yourself.
What Is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website to achieve higher rankings in the search results of Google and other search engines.
Okay, but what does that even mean?
It means that there are things you can do to make the content on your website stick out from the billions of other websites out there on the Internet. There are things you can do on your website (on-page SEO), and there are things that can be done on other people’s websites (off-page SEO) that will impact your site’s rankings and web traffic.
On-Page SEO: Content
Let’s begin with your own website. It all starts with your content, with your blog articles, videos, images, podcasts and more. Your content is what brings new people to your website, so make it good, make it helpful and make it relevant to your customer base. Keywords are a great starting point when determining what kind of content to create for your site.
What Are Keywords?
Keywords are the terms that people type into search engines when they’re looking for something on the Internet. If you came to this article from Google, you might have discovered it by searching for “SEO for beginners” or something like that. That phrase is a keyword.
To attract a lot of traffic to your website, you’ll want to have a lot of valuable, informative content on your site that contains a rich diversity of keywords that are relevant to the products and services your company offers. You should choose your keywords by researching the topics that your business covers.
How to Research Keywords
Keyword research can get complicated and fill entire volumes all by itself, but here are the basics.
First, you’ll need to use a keyword tool to analyze the information. The Google Keyword Planner is a great one to start out with. It’s free if you sign up for an AdWords account, which is also free. You don’t need to purchase any ads through the AdWords program though, just sign up so you can use the free Keyword Planner tool.
You’ll start by entering some basic keywords that are related to your products, and the tool will spit out hundreds of keyword phrases related to those main keywords. Pick out the ones that are relevant to your business, and then create multiple posts on your blog that target these keywords.
Be sure to create content around these keywords that you think your potential customers will find helpful and interesting, but don’t make every article into a lengthy sales pitch. Use your keywords as naturally as possible. Use your blog to create value for others and perhaps even begin to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them. That’s how you create lifelong customers, and it should be your website’s primary goal.
In each article you put on your blog, you’ll sprinkle these keywords here and there – in the article title, perhaps in a subheading and somewhere in the body of the post. But don’t overdo it – that’s known as “keyword stuffing”, and it’s more likely to hurt your rankings than help them. Google tends to penalize keyword stuffing and that is not what you want.
The keyword density should probably only be in the 1-2% range. If your keyword phrase is five words long, and your post is 500 words long, the exact keyword phrase you’re targeting should only show up once or twice in the body of the article. That might not seem like much, but again, you need to avoid keyword stuffing, especially with long phrases that might sound unnatural when stuffed in there too many times.
Keyword Variations & LSI
Rather than using a single keyword multiple times throughout the article, use your chosen keyword sparingly and then sprinkle in some variations of it where appropriate.
Also, be sure to include some other industry-specific terms and phrases related to the keyword as well. This is known as latent semantic indexing (LSI), and it just gives search engines more context and more meat to sink their teeth into.
And yes, that’s a good thing.
On-Page SEO: Design, Page Load Time & Linking Structure
Beside your written content, search engines also look at the design of your site. This includes visual and audio elements, page loading speed and internal linking.
Nobody wants to see a big wall of text when they first visit your website, so be sure to include plenty of photos, charts, and videos to break up the written content.
You’ll want to make sure your websites load quickly. This is something that can difficult to figure out, so it may be worth your money to talk to an experienced SEO company about ways to increase the speed of your page loading.
You’ll also want to make sure that there are lots of ways for visitors to easily navigate deeper into your site to find more information, so include links in your header and footer areas, in your sidebars and in each blog post too. These links should be obvious and clearly labeled. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find something on a website and not finding the link.
Off-Page SEO: Promotion & Outreach
Some of the most powerful SEO benefits are achieved through the help of other websites, including social media platforms, backlinks in industry blogs and major media outlets.
Is Social Media Necessary For SEO?
Activity on social media is one of the ranking factors that search engines consider when ranking your content. Your social media accounts should be regularly active, without spamming your followers. You can share your best content, other people’s content that your readers would find valuable, and interact with your followers.
The Importance of Backlinks
Backlinks are links on other websites that point back to your own, and they’re one of the most important factors that search engines look at to determine where to rank your content in their search results. A backlink from some other site is basically a vote of confidence in your content. It’s like they’re saying to the whole world – or at least to their readers – “Hey, this is worth looking at.”
You want those backlinks.
When you search for any competitive keyword, those posts you see on the front page of the search results likely have a lot of backlinks pointing at them. But some of those links are more powerful than others.
When you reach out to other websites to try to get links from them, you’ll primarily want to get links from sites that are relevant to the content being linked to, and the more authoritative those other websites are, the more benefit your site will receive from those links.
One of the best ways to get backlinks is by creating great content and giving it away to authoritative sites in your industry or even to major news and media websites. To make this work, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and not only create amazing content that others want to feature on their sites, but you’ll also have to work hard to establish relationships with those other publishers. This is hard work, and it will take some time, but the results will be totally worth it. When creating this content, it can be helpful to include other links besides your own to make your posts seem less like spam.
So, that’s a lot to cover on the topic of SEO, but hopefully it gives you a good idea about the kinds of things you’re going to need to do to get your company website to rank well and start bringing in lots of targeted traffic. It won’t happen overnight, but if you consistently put in the work, all that effort will pay huge dividends for your business down the road.