Some “experts” would have you believe that search engine optimization (SEO) is a complicated concept that requires years to master. They’re wrong.
The fundamentals of SEO are simple and easy to understand — even for beginners.
SEO is a marketing tool to help entrepreneurs and business owners accomplish a number of goals:
- Increase traffic to their website. SEO increases a website’s search ranking for relevant keywords in search engines like Google.
- Generate leads. Like other marketing tools, SEO helps potential customers find you by matching your website’s content to what they’re searching for.
- Boost sales. As more and more people visit your site, you’ll be able to refine your sales process and increase your conversion rate.
Search engines enable you to generate leads through one of two methods:
- Organic search results: Links to relevant websites based on the search term or keyword. These results are determined by the search engine’s algorithm (every search engine has a different method of prioritizing websites based on content).
- Paid advertising: Links that appear at the very top and to the right of organic search results in Google and other search engines. This is also referred to as CPC (cost per click) advertising.
SEO saves you money by generating more leads through organic search results.
SEO and Keywords
If you want to get the most from SEO, you need to match your goals with the goals of your customers. To do that, you must research and select the most relevant keywords for your business.
Websites who make it to the first page of Google invest time into researching keywords. Why is it so important? Keywords are the building blocks of SEO. If you focus on the wrong keywords, you could miss out on a huge number of potential customers.
Here’s how to select the best keywords and generate leads for your website:
- Look for keywords with high search volume. You want to choose keywords that a lot of people search for.
- Opt for keywords with low competition. Ensure your market isn’t saturated with information so your website can climb to the top of search results in a shorter amount of time.
- Select keywords that are relevant to your business.
Websites who successfully use SEO put their customers first. Blog articles that are filled with keywords but lack substantial content won’t help you accomplish your long-term goals.
Search engine bots “read” your website’s content and then prioritize your site in search rankings based on the relevance and authority of your site. Content written specifically with SEO in mind is often boring and may even lower your conversion rate.
Instead, write with your target audience in mind. What are they interested in? What do they need? If you do, your website will rank at the top of search results because it’s the most relevant and helpful website, not because you temporarily manipulated the system.
Spammers use “black hat” techniques to temporarily boost their search rankings and undermine competitors through negative SEO.
Never use negative SEO tactics. If you do, you could permanently ruin your website’s reputation with search engines. Negative SEO includes:
- Creating spammy links to your website.
- Posting identical content on multiple sites.
- Hacking a competitor’s website.
- Creating fake profiles on social networks.
6 Ways to Improve Your Website’s SEO Right Now
- Get to know your customers. Develop 3-4 audience personas to help you create better content for your audience.
- Research and identify keywords. Sometimes a dozen keywords with low search volume can generate leads more effectively than one keyword with a high search volume.
- Put your customer first. When you create content, do so with the goals and interests of your customers in mind. Keywords are important, but lead generation through SEO is most effective when you stay true to your brand and value your customers.
- Use links strategically. Only link to websites that are useful to your customers and complement your business.
- Post new content frequently. The quality of your content is critical, but so is the freshness. Add new content to your website on a regular basis — every week is a good place to start — to ensure your site continues to rank high for specific keywords.
- Give it time. Search engine bots crawl billions of websites. It may take a few months to see results, but your hard work will eventually pay off.