As we said in our previous post about digital marketing, having an online presence is very important in today’s world. Not using one major tactic can hurt a business's online presence. That tactic is Search Engine Marketing (SEO) and it's vital to digital marketing.
Why is SEO important?
Focusing on SEO as a tactic can help your business rank better organically on search engines like Google and drive traffic to your site. It determines so much of the traffic that websites get through the internet. It doesn’t matter if you have a local business or a global one; SEO is a must for every business that's online. There are a couple main reasons why you shouldn't be ignoring SEO:
- The majority of people will click on one of the first five listings when they search something. According to smartinsights.com, as much as 50 percent of people will click on the very first organic link. SEO is how those results get to the top of a page. Think about the last time you searched something, odds are you didn’t even consider going to the second page of the search engine.
- SEO helps the user experience. This is overlooked way too often. In the end, you are trying to please a user, but so many people only focus on the technical side of SEO. It's true, one main goal is to get better rankings by trying to optimize your site according to algorithms. It turns out these algorithms like a lot of the same things people like. It’s one thing to get a user to your website, but you also want to keep them there. A clean design, good copy and an easy to navigate site are good things to focus on.
To put it simply, you want your business to reach the maximum amount of your target audience. The best way to do that online is through Search Engine Optimization because that’s how most people find a product or service they need. Then when they get to your site, they won’t leave right away because they don’t like it or it isn’t relevant. There are a number of things that can hurt your SEO efforts if you aren't doing them.
What's hurting your SEO efforts?
Last month I explained what SEO was on a very broad and basic level. SEO focuses on the organic listings. An organic listing is anything on a search engine that doesn’t say “Ad” next to it in green letters or a product listing that has an image. So how does a listing get there and what can limit your chances of being seen by potential customers?
- Neglecting technical factors. Technical factors are factors that web developers have to focus on. They are things like meta data, headers, alt tags, URLs and page speed among many others. Meta data includes all the titles and descriptions on the search engine.
In the example above, if you search “Twin State team” you see the words appear multiple times in the title and meta description. Not only do potential customers see the description, but the search engine reads it also. All of these attributes should have the keywords you want to rank for. It’s important to have everything optimized for algorithms, but with all of these factors, never forget about the user experience.
- Bad page copy. The page your search engine results link to should have the same keywords as the URL and metadata. The title is the most important, but the whole page copy should be a point of focus. You have a lot more room to work with so you can have a really good format with keyword variations. Overusing keywords can actually hurt SEO efforts and should be avoided. You aren’t just writing for Google’s algorithms. Don’t forget about the people that want to read an easy web page that they can understand. And don’t be afraid to use plenty of synonyms because search engines pay attention to that as well.
- Shady social media and link building tactics. You should be active on social media to help drive traffic to your site and to provide links to your pages and blogs. It also helps to have links to your social efforts from your website. Traffic and links are two factors Google takes into account. Links can also come from other companies and websites. The more relevant the business is to your company and to your potential customers, will result in a better link. It is usually a bad practice to pay for links and stuff links into pages just to say you have links. This is part of the dark side of SEO called "black hat SEO".
- Ignoring a mobile-first web design. Since more searches occur on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer having a mobile-first design should be a main focus. Sometime in the new future, Google will be indexing mobile devices first which will make this even more important. It's a good idea to have a nice mobile site already to get a head start on a major change and because users like it. If your website is only optimized for a desktop, people may struggle to view it and that has been known to hurt rankings. A good web developer should be able to help you get your website optimized for a mobile device.
This all may look pretty complicated. The truth is, it’s complicated for everyone so don’t feel bad. There are a ton of strategies and factors you can use in addition to the five major ones I explained. Some of them you may already be doing well and some you may have never heard of. There is a reason and a science for everything in SEO. Experts read and research strategies every day because things are constantly changing.
It also takes a lot of time and effort to manage every single thing that falls under the broad realm of SEO, especially if you’ve never done it before. It’s a coordinated effort that takes a team of SEO strategists, web designers and developers. We understand you might not have the time or resources for all this which is why we have a full-time staff that focuses on SEO strategies and they are always ready to help with any questions or strategies.
Want to find out steps for you to utilize SEO for your business? Give us a call at 563-441-1504, or: