What is SEO and why should I use it?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tactic that improves both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website by increasing your visibility in search results. By optimizing content, your website can rank higher within a search engine’s organic search (meaning a search of unpaid results).
Why is it important to think about your website’s ranking? Well, one study shows that the first five organic search results account for 67% of all search clicks. If you want customers to see your business, you have to rank high.
It can seem intimidating, but with careful implementation, SEO will begin to increase your brand visibility and drive new users to your website. It also shows your business as a trustworthy and credible powerhouse.
Don’t just take our word for it. By implementing a new SEO strategy, a B2B company called Sales Hacker grew from 19,000 monthly organic searches to over 100,000 monthly organic searches in about 14 months, which eventually led to the company being acquired by Outreach.io in 2018.
Before jumping in headfirst to your new SEO plan, you should understand the different types of SEO and the purpose they serve. Knowing the difference will make it easier to organize and execute an optimization plan that gives your business the best chance at showing up high in search results.
- On-page SEO
- On-page SEO focuses on optimizing the webpage itself. Each of the individual pages of your website should be reviewed and optimized – not just your home page. On-page SEO looks at keyword optimization (finding the best keywords to target on each page), meta tags (adding in hidden information to the code of a webpage to help search engines better recognize what the page is about), and content creation (publishing high-quality content focused on target keywords).
- Off-page SEO
- Off-page SEO uses techniques to promote your website around the Internet, including the relationship your website has with other websites. This type of SEO relates to creating high-quality backlinks to your content. This lets search engines know that your site is valuable, established, and authoritative around the web. You can build this sort of SEO through guest posting tactics, encouraging conversations on social media, and through building partnerships with other trusted companies.
- Technical SEO
- Technical SEO relates to the non-content elements of your website. It covers strategies that improve your website’s backend structure. Technical SEO strategies will improve overall readability, which makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand. Although a search engine cannot see a webpage like a user, they can understand how a page looks, like if it’s full of ads or popups, which can affect the ranking process. To improve this type of SEO, consider features like the site speed and load times, mobile-friendliness, indexing, site architecture, and security.
Setting up your SEO
Knowing where to even start with SEO feels tough. Should you look at keywords first or the website backend? Should you research extensively first, or dive right in? The good news is that if you’ve done the work of understanding the needs of your customers, you can begin thinking about SEO strategies now.
- Perform keyword research
- To start, keep a list of terms and phrases that come to mind with your product or service. You can use an SEO tool, like Google's Keyword Tool, to research a word or phrase’s search volume. Margo’s Keyword Research and Content Development page has plenty of resources to help you start your content creation process. At this stage, you’ll also want to think about long-tail keywords that provide more depth into the topics related to your company. Long-tail keywords are specific, tailored, and have a lower search volume, so the odds increase that your webpage will be more visible in those searches.
- Build webpages around keywords
- Your website should include a page that gives an overview of your company using the specific keywords and long-tail keywords you’ve generated. This page could be a landing page where you describe multiple features of your product or give an overview of your company and services provided. Creating this hub page makes it easier for customers to find you in search engines, no matter the keywords they use.
- Start blogging
- Blogging can be a great way to incorporate keywords while engaging and informing users. After all, every blog post is a new web page and another opportunity to rank. Your blog posts should center around the various long-tail keywords you’ve identified. Make sure to link back to your main page; this lets search engines know that there's a relationship between these pages. Remember, you are blogging for your customers, not for search engines, so make sure the content is of high value (search engines can actually demote pages for “keyword stuffing”).
- Optimize images and media files
- When setting up SEO, you can’t forget the technical side of things. Consider all of the various media you’ll be displaying on your page. Visuals help retain your viewer’s attention, but a high-quality video or image also comes with a high file size, which can be difficult to load. Since page speed is an important ranking factor, review the size of files. Sites like TinyPNG and Google's Squoosh can compress and shrink media files. In addition to file size, don’t forget optimizations such as file names and alternate text to make your media friendly to web crawlers.
How to implement SEO
After your SEO strategies are in place, you’ll want to make sure it’s working and tweak if needed. Implementing your SEO strategy is all about ensuring that the processes you set up and established are working.
- Monitor your strategy
- After setting up SEO across your webpages and around the Internet, you’ll want to see how well you’re performing. Tracking metrics can help you understand the success of your processes and identify areas of opportunity. Ongoing keyword research ensures you are incorporating the latest search trends of your customer base. Invest in an analytics tool to begin collecting data immediately for ongoing development.
- Make use of SEO resources
- There are plenty of tools online that help optimize content, make improvements, and monitor your site’s presence. Margo has rounded up the best of these resources to get you started. Tools like Yoast SEO allow you to refine and modify SEO settings, while Google Search Console monitors and maintains your site’s presence in search results, and SEO SiteCheckUp checks the SEO score of any website. Using the variety of resources the Internet offers can help you tweak and improve your ongoing SEO strategy.
- Continue to optimize your content
- As you implement your SEO, you’ll want to make adjustments to headings, subheadings, and copy to leverage new phrases or keywords. Devote some time each month to updating old posts and pages with new and up-to-date information to continue ranking. Continue conversations around the internet about your business to attract more inbound links. Consider guest posting for trusted or partnered businesses to increase your off-page SEO.
Expanding your SEO
Once you feel you’ve taken your SEO strategies as far as they can go, you may want to seek expert advice. SEO specialists can take over the time-consuming task of continually researching and analyzing search trends. A specialist also understands the changing landscapes of search engines and stays on top of developments that affect rankings.
Margo works with experienced marketing leaders, like SEO specialists, to create content and tools to support founders building their businesses. From graphic design to copywriting to video production, Margo can support a dynamic set of one-time or ongoing projects based on your business goals. Consider Margo’s network of experts to find the right specialist to fit your needs.