It’s the era of online marketing and we’re just living in it. So much so that 68% of all online activity starts with a search engine and 75% of searchers will never click past the first page of search results. These statistics may sound daunting but they’re actually great news because they all have one thing in common: SEO. When a customer searches for something online, they usually have an intention to either get more information or buy something.
To make your products and services more visible and available to your customers, you need to optimize your website for search engines properly.
Keep reading to learn all about SEO, what it is, and why you should use it to grow your business and build brand awareness online.
What Is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, which means optimizing your website and content for search engines. In other words, it helps websites rank on search engine pages using different techniques based on algorithm recommendations.
SEO is not an overnight success tactic and it can take time to start ranking on Google and similar search engines. But with perseverance and determination, as well as following SEO best practices, you can achieve great rankings.
There are many factors that help search engines determine which websites and content are rank-worthy. Stuffing keywords just to make Google think your content is relevant for the topic is a thing of the past. Moreso, you can be penalized for using outdated tactics.
Below we’ll talk about the best ways to optimize your website, the types of SEO you need to use, and the SEO tools that’ll make your job easier.
Why Is SEO Important?
Ranking high on the first search engine results page is the ultimate goal but there’s a good reason for that. The higher you rank, the more clicks and traffic you’ll get, which translates to more sales.
SEO should be an essential part of your digital marketing strategy because it can bring valuable leads and customers without you paying a dime. With so much competition online, any organic traffic is extremely valuable and SEO can help you boost this type of traffic and reach the best target market for your niche.
Types of SEO
SEO has changed fundamentally over the years. Nowadays, the algorithm rules change within weeks. The Google Developers blog publishes each change and it’s on you as the website owner to implement these changes.
Some SEO rules are lightweight which means you can follow them or not but they won’t affect your overall ranking much. Other rules are mandatory and if you don’t follow them, your website can be penalized, de-ranked, or even blacklisted. Of course, this is the worst-case scenario that happens if a website repeatedly uses old, forbidden, outdated, or black-hat SEO tactics.
SEO can be divided into two main categories: on-site SEO (also called on-page SEO) and off-site SEO (also called off-page SEO).
Let’s break down each type below.
On-site SEO is all the optimization you do to your website pages and content. This includes:
- Keywords – to use in your web copy, blog posts, and image alt text;
- Image alt tags – the text and tags that tell search engines what’s in the photo;
- Internal links – links to other content on your website;
- External links – links to quality content outside your website;
- Meta titles and descriptions – the text that shows up on search engine results pages;
- HTML tags (H1, H2, H3…) – the tags within your content that tell search engines what the content is about;
- HTTPS encryption (SSL certificate) – to ensure your website is safe to browse and buy from;
- Page/website speed – aim for 3 seconds or below of loading time;
- Mobile responsiveness – website should be fully responsive on all mobile devices;
- Bounce rate – the percentage of users that leave your website and how soon they leave;
- Content length and quality – are both among the top major ranking factors for Google.
There are other minor on-site SEO factors as well but those listed above are the most important ones. You don’t have to do them all at once. Make a strategy and start tackling each SEO factor one by one.
Start with the easiest ones and work your way through the more challenging ones. If you’re not sure what to do next, feel free to reach out to us to learn more about our SEO services and we’ll take it from there.
Off-site SEO is all the SEO that happens outside your website that impacts your ranking. In other words, SEO comes indirectly. This includes:
- Guest posting – when you write blog posts for another website and you get a link back to yours in return;
- Backlinks – all the links from external websites that point back to your website;
- Influencer outreach – influencers that mention your brand and send traffic to your website;
- Posting on forums and Q&A sites – to build authority and credibility for your business;
- Brand mentions – these can boost traffic and build backlinks;
- Online reviews (outside your website) – they help Google understand what your business and content are about;
- Business directory listings (like Google My Business) – this is essential for local SEO ranking.
Note: Social media channels are not considered a ranking factor at the moment of writing this. They can bring you tons of traffic, which is great for your business. However, Google won’t consider traffic coming from social media a valuable ranking factor.
How To Use SEO To Grow Your Business
SEO should be a priority in your digital marketing strategy because it’s one of the most effective and budget-friendly ways to boost your online presence and attract your target market. Though progress may seem slow, its impact is so great it can transform your business.
The reason it works are because it focuses more on the user rather than the algorithm. When you create quality content for your target audience and post it on a super-fast, clean, and streamlined website, you’re serving the user. Google recognizes this and gives you a boost in ranking.
The more users stay or return to your website, the more they’re likely to buy from you. This tells search engines your content is worth ranking, which is how you gain authority in your field.
Since most SEO tactics are free or low-cost, this is one of the best business and marketing investments you can make, especially if you’re just starting out. You can always invest in SEO tools or hire a digital marketing agency to do the heavy lifting for you.
Patience is the name of the game here. If you’re still wondering if you should invest time and effort in SEO, we explain why it’s worth it in this blog post.
Best SEO Practices For 2022
For 2022, the main SEO trends and practices are all about your content strategy. Since content is still king, businesses should focus on creating long-form in-depth content that matches the search intent. In other words, your content should deliver the answer to the search intent question.
Quality is of utmost importance when it comes to the content of any kind, especially blog posts. Mobile-friendliness is still an essential ranking factor with more and more traffic coming from mobile devices. User experience for all websites and website accessibility remain strong ranking factors for 2022.
You can only go so far with manually adjusting your SEO settings. Luckily, there are some extraordinary SEO tools you can use to help automate and take care of the more complex SEO tasks.
Depending on the task, your level of expertise, and the results you want to achieve, there’s an SEO tool for almost everything. For example, MOZ Pro is a full-service SEO tool that’ll help you keep track of all the search engine algorithm updates. It’ll also help you track website crawls, see your website metrics, and give you keyword recommendations.
Another great tool is SEMrush which specializes in boosting your website’s conversion rates. You can also use it for keyword research, page auditing, keyword strategies, and a host of other SEO features and trends.
If you want to do keyword research, Google Keyword Planner is the foundation of SEO, especially if you want to advertise on Google. Once you find your niche keywords, you can see the search volume as well as the approximate CPC for each keyword.
Grow Your Business Online With These Essential SEO Tips
Whether you’re a new business owner learning the ropes of online marketing or know your way around the internet space, optimizing your website and content for SEO is a must for a strong online presence.
From learning the different types of SEO to knowing what tips to prioritize, ranking high on search engine results pages is possible and attainable.
Ready to start implementing SEO on your website and business but don’t know how? Elite Digital can help! Contact us today to learn more about the best SEO strategies and tactics we use for businesses like yours and let’s improve your digital marketing strategy today!