It’s the art of getting your company or business to the top of search engines organically.
It’s the actual keywords/phrases people type into a search engine which will ideally lead them to your site. That is, if your site has been optimized correctly for the specific keywords you wish to target for your products or services.
Why SEO matters:
Organic traffic remains the primary driver of customer acquisition (and you want web traffic). So without SEO, it’s unlikely people will find that “stunning” website you just had built (or built yourself) at all!
To clarify: Organic traffic is what comes to your site after someone has typed a query into a search engine such as Google and clicks on your listing which has shown up in the search results. Or search engine relevancy pages (SERPs). This is organic traffic.
Paid vs. Organic Traffic:
Paid traffic such as Adwords/PPC (Pay Per Click) campaigns can be utilized to drive traffic to your website and promote your business or offer.
It can be great in providing quick initial results. However, it can be costly if your campaigns are not monitored closely. And you won’t get any more visitors as soon as you stop paying for your ads and they are no longer visible.
Good SEO takes time. It’s not an overnight or one time set-it and forget-it thing. Thus, investing in Organic search traffic can be a great way to utilize your marketing dollars. Long term, Organic SEO provides far better results – which is built-up over time, are longer lasting – and is actually a much wiser investment.
Google is NOT always the enemy…
What Google is trying to do is deliver the most relevant results based on people’s search queries. And it’s up to your SEO and supporting on-page content (among other factors) so that you ultimately come up at the top of the page.
Here’s a Little Video: SEO Explained
Need an SEO visual? Start with this quick and easy to understand video about search engine optimization by Common Craft in collaboration with Search Engine Land. It’ll quickly give you an overview of the basics:
No One Can Find You Online – Why?
1.) Not all web designers are very well versed with the intricacies of good SEO.
The fact is, SEO should be implemented during the initial design and development stages of a website. NOT as an afterthought (which is all too often the case).
2.) There are now countless tools you can use to build a website yourself. And with “drag” and “drop” features with no coding required, nothing is stopping you from doing so.
However, time and time again I’ve sat with clients who have done this only to find that a lack of SEO has bitten them in the butt every time!
In both cases, all too often clients have not even considered which keyword phrases they want to target for their business website. As keywords drive customer’s searches, business owners should have an idea of relevant keywords and phrases they wish to target and the relevant on-page content to support them.
Knowing which keyword phrases to target for your business is incredibly important as part of your search engine optimization strategy. However, keyword phrases consumers now utilize in their searches have become more complex.
Modern search engines are now focusing more on topics, rather than single keywords in search results. Relevancy works in support of your search rankings. Thus your page text content needs to be high-quality and offer value to address consumers topics with answers or solutions to their questions.
Ensuring your web pages will be found for your target keywords and supporting on-page content:
On-page SEO is specifically search optimizing ALL of the appropriate elements on EACH of your web pages and or blog posts. This includes your text content, images, headings, Title tags, link text, meta descriptions and more. Yes, it should be different from page to page. Otherwise it can be considered redundant content which search engines do not like.
Here’s a little “to do” list – especially if you’re doing SEO yourself:
- First and foremost, compile a list of keywords/phrases relevant to your business, products or services.
- Keywords must appear in the right elements on your web pages.
- Your main keywords should appear in the Title tag of your web pages.
They should be unique and relevant to EACH page.
- Use the keywords/phrase in a heading tag (H1, H2 etc) on your web page.
- Image alt tags should contain keywords (don’t forget these).
- Create content which contains the keywords you wish to be found in search engines. Write useful content for your site visitors – not just for search engines.
- Claim and optimize your Free Google My Business listing. If your target audience is local customers, then this will be crucial for your local SEO.
And yes, off-page factors such as backlinks and social aspects are important, but you should focus on ensuring the on-page SEO factors of your site are in place. Also consider different configurations of your keyword phrases as this can further extend your reach and maximize your search visibility.
SEO in the know: what this means for your biz
Regardless of the size of your business, having an optimized website really does matter. While you should have a certain level of involvement with your website, SEO does not have to be a daunting task. If you’re doing it yourself, there are countless resources available online to implement the basics. See the list above as a reference, and in the “Want more” section” at the bottom of this post.
Some FYIs: Many things can affect how appealing or unappealing your site may be to search engines or customers. Poor site structure, navigation, usability, long page load times, no new content, not targeting the correct keywords/phrases are to name a few. And now with “Mobile First” indexing, if your website is not mobile-friendly, this could affect your search rankings as well.
Google’s algorithms are constantly changing which can and do affect Organic Search results. It’s just the nature of things and why SEO is ongoing. It’s not a one time set-it and forget-it thing.
SEO is part of a strategy – It’s a “marathon NOT a sprint”
SEO is part of a strategy and “a function of the rest of your Online Marketing efforts”. And good SEO takes time. Getting to the top of page one on Google is one thing. Staying there in another one entirely!!
Monitoring your site’s performance via Google Analytics is advised. And keeping tabs on your site’s “heartbeat” via Google Webmaster Tools can provide invaluable data for what’s going on “under-the-hood”.
DON’T TRY TO GAME THE SYSTEM! There are SEO Black Hat practices (the bad kind that can get you in trouble) and White Hat Best Practices which is what you want to adhere to. Don’t try to game the system!! Yes you can get banned from Google!
SEO may have a bad rap from the past. But when done and implemented correctly, is a huge asset to your business!
Want more? Check out some of this other SEO info:
Written by Barbara Rogers of Future Primitive Graphics. Graphic Designer and Nature Inspired Art photographer visually enhancing client’s print and digital media. Creatively collaborating with those who genuinely want to make the world a better place.