Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has been around for a long time. With the rate technology accelerates and makes old practices obsolete, is SEO still relevant these days?
Whether you have an existing website or are planning to create one, you’ll be glad to know that SEO is still very much considered a necessity these days. That means your potential to rank high on search engines is still within your reach just as long as you have the proper keywords and marketing strategy.
Whatever industry you’re in, there is an audience out there waiting for you. All you have to do is know how to tap into that organic resource and turn potential into profitable traffic.
So, what do you need and how can you use SEO to make your small business an online success?
First, let’s understand what SEO is:
What is SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving the quality and quantity of web traffic to a website or page using non-paid, search engine results.
Because you’re not relying on paid traffic, you will have to understand people’s online behavior and deliver the content that they need. While doing this, you will also have to consider the search engine algorithm to ensure that you will be featured on the first page of the search results.
Using SEO properly will make your brand stand out from the rest of the crowd.
Reasons Why You Need Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the new traditional marketing strategy
Marketing is a very dynamic industry. However, at the end of the day, marketing only has one purpose: to generate income. This is achieved through a variety of different ways.
In traditional marketing, there were limited venues where marketers could put their products out to generate interest. And with the limited resources, they had to pick areas where they could get the most attention. This meant they had to jockey for position against their competitors which ultimately jacked up the advertising prices, billboard prices, and other areas where they could get their brand prominently featured.
And even after all of that, traffic and sales isn’t guaranteed.
With SEO, people are the one looking for your product (or something similar to it) and all you have to do is take advantage of their search behavior.
This means everyone starts off on a level playing ground based on what the customer is looking for. The balance is tipped in favor of the one who employs SEO the best to their brand.
Knowing who your audience is and what they need gives you a better fighting chance to grab your customers’ attention and make a sale.
Success with SEO doesn’t happen overnight
SEO sounds like a guarantee for success, right? Let’s get started now so we can reap the rewards immediately!
Not so fast.
Proper SEO isn’t something that happens overnight. In fact, you might need at least three months to see any results from the efforts you put in. Sometimes, it takes longer.
You will need a lot of patience and a lot of hard work put into developing your site.
First, you’ll need content. Lots of it. But don’t dump it all in in one go. You need to space it out and make a schedule of content releases.
And the content you release can’t just be the regular run-of-the-mill types of content you see online. It has to answer a need. That’s why your customers are coming to you in the first place. This will help generate interest and hopefully encourage them to share your content or website to other people as well.
Another thing you’ll also have to think about is how to encourage other sites to link to yours as well. The more websites linking to you, the better you come off as an authority site.
This is very time-consuming but the pay-off is well worth the hours you put into building your site properly. Of course, there are those websites that just seem to have all the luck and generate tons of traffic overnight. Just prepare yourself for a lot of time grinding to get to the first page of the search results.
Build it and traffic will come
Although the primary goal of SEO is to improve your site’s ranking in the search results, it is also meant to attract more traffic to your site. When people search for something on Google, they’re more likely to click on the top sites featured in the search results and pay a visit.
Each visit counts as traffic.
The next thing you want is for them to stay on your site and check out the other things that you have to offer. These can be in the form of products, solutions, articles, news, and other things of interest.
Optimizing your website is a sure way to increase that traffic count from zero to a hundred and then a thousand or more. Again, this will take time and continuous improvement on your part to make sure you always have fresh content for your customers to enjoy.
How much does it cost?
Unlike traditional marketing, SEO doesn’t necessarily cost a thing. With traditional marketing, you have to compete with other companies to get the “premium” slots on TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers. You won’t have to think about the size of your ad or how long your ad runs.
With SEO, you don’t need to pay for ad spaces as much as traditional marketing.
Especially if you do it yourself.
If you focus on building your business in an organic way, you’ll have the chance to be featured on top search results and take advantage of the traffic that generates without having to pay a cent.
But, if you employ the services of an SEO company, that’s when the costs start to pile up.
Your Target Audience Will Eventually Find You
Since you’re directing all of your efforts to create content that serves a purpose or answers the questions of people you are hoping to become your customers, you’ll find that eventually your audience becomes the type of people who are loyal to your brand.
At the start, you might notice that you only have minimal traffic or the traffic you do generate isn’t the one that leads to sales and conversions.
As you increase your search engine optimization tactics, your site pinpoints with laser accuracy the people who need your products and services.
Having 1,000 loyal customers is far better than having 10,000 casual visitors.
Search Engine Optimization Helps People Find You
There are two types of buyers. One who does their research and one who buys on impulse.
You want the ones who do their research first.
And it should be easy right? They’re already looking for the type of product you’re offering, so they should be at your doorstep automatically.
Not so much. Your competition is out there advertising aggressively. And you’re not just competing with one company. No business exists in a vacuum. If there’s one like you, there’s ten others out there with a similar service, product, or solution offering the same thing to the same customer base.
In effect, you are asking for a piece of the pie that everyone’s clamoring to get.
What SEO helps you do is make that piece of pie choose you over all the others.
Now here’s how to do SEO on your own:
Doing SEO on your own is guaranteed to be a great learning opportunity. Your success is dependent on the amount of work you put in. We actually recommend business owners learn SEO on their own just to have that skill under their belt.
Here’s what you can do:
- Develop unique, in-depth content
- You know your industry better than anyone therefore you should be able to talk about it in a way that no one else does. Your experience in the industry is also different from your competitors. Therefore, you have the opportunity to create content that no one else has seen or provide a reimagined view of what’s already out there. You don’t have to be the best writer because you can always hand that task over to someone who knows how to string words together. But in the interest of creating unique, in-depth content, you will really have to share your thoughts, feelings, proposals, solutions, and others to the one who is going to write it in order to come up with something new
- Choose quality over quantity
- This is still in line with unique, in-depth content but this focuses more on quality and not quantity. You see, it won’t matter if you’ve published a 10,000-word article out there about your industry. If it doesn’t hold any value to the customers, it’s just going to end up being ignored. What you want to do is produce content, no matter how long or short. This content should be well thought out, educational, and entertaining at the same time to grab your customers’ attention and hold it there. When you’ve done that, even if you only succeeded to do this to one page or one blog post, you’re guaranteed traffic. The next question is how to take advantage of that and create better quality posts or pages.
- Understand your buyers’ personas
- To answer the question posed above, you need to understand your audience. You need to know your buyers’ personas. What do they want? What do they need? How can you answer their questions? How can you solve their problems? Knowing your audience helps you create content specifically targeted to suit their needs. And if you manage to solve their problem, then you’ve won over one customer who is likely going to tell others about you.
- Don’t Add Content for the Sake of Adding Conten
- Some people are led to believe that successful websites have tons of content. That’s not necessarily so. There are thousands of websites out there who have a massive amount of content but no one’s going near them. And then there are those websites who only have a Home, About Us, and a Contact Us page who are inundated with traffic from all sides. If you take a closer look at the latter, you’ll find that the pages are well made, the content is structured and laid out properly and every word found in those sites have a purpose. This is what high-quality websites look like. Once again, quality trumps quantity, every time.
- Don’t Add Unnecessary Page
- At the bare minimum, your website should have a Home page, an About Us page, and a Contact Us page. As it grows, you might want to add a Store page. Anything more and your website might look cluttered and unappealing to your customers. Search Engine Optimization may have brought them to the front door but if what they see isn’t something they like, they just might turn on their heel and leave immediately.
- Build Links, Build Relationship
- We’ve mentioned that a business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. That statement is just as true online as it is in the real world. Your next step, to increase your reach, is to reach out to other websites in the same or related niche. Sometimes hooking up with your competition might make both your websites stronger. Build relationships by building links.
- Keywords are Key to Success
- How do you search for something on your favorite search engine? You put in some words and wait for the results to come back. That’s how people also look for you. So, you’ll need to determine what keywords your customers are using for the industry you’re in and use that to your advantage. You can actually do this on your own using a search engine but it might take you longer than if you had hired a search engine optimization specialist. An SEO specialist can find the right keywords for you and determine which one will lead you to success if implemented correctly.
- Don’t Just Optimize your Website for one Search Engine
- Admittedly, Google is the biggest and most popular search engine out there. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only search engine in existence. There’s Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, AOL, DuckDuckGo, and others that exist out there. Chances are, you’ll have customers who use different search engines so you should also cater to their needs by optimizing your website to launch correctly if they search for it in their preferred search engine.
- Learn WordPress
- It is in your best interest to learn how to use WordPress. It may seem intimidating at first, but give it some time and some serious research and you’ll find it’s a pretty easy tool to use for developing your website and optimizing your content to reach your audience.
- Lastly, get a Google+ Account and Network
- Success in business is all about networking properly. You need to find the right avenues where you can connect with the right people to get your business out there.
That’s it for today, here’s hoping you found the answers you were looking for. If you have any questions, send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!