SEO for Beginners
If one thing is clear, it’s that the future of marketing is digital. Whether its social media, search engine or private website searches, customers are now consuming more online data than ever before. As a business, this is the prime time to appeal to these audiences, but it must be done so correctly. To effectively market online, you must first understand the computers and processes that deliver the desired information from the cloud to a phone.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of using keywords and formatting to most effectively appear in online searches. Using SEO, your website can appear at the top of the search results and can increase traffic. This is essential to growing an online presence and preparing for the future of shopping - online and delivery services.
How to SEO
Even if you’ve never conducted SEO practices, you’ve likely heard the rules before. However, it can be much deeper than keywords and website design. SEO is meant to drive organic attention - eyes that were not paid for, like in advertising - so, it is as much dependant on people as is the content. For the purposes of this reading, I will explain the most simple edits that will make the largest difference when getting started with SEO.
Keywords are Key
Before you can help a business grow through search engine optimization, you first have to understand who they are, who their customers are, and their goals. Corners are often cut here as businesses desire fast results, but research is essential to getting an accurate assessment of the situation. The best research questions to start with are the 5 W’s and H: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How.
For example, we researched SparkIt Creative to see:
Who is looking for creative help in Gainesville?
Where are concentrations of local businesses located?
When are peak times for advertising?
How are businesses searching for assistance?
What services are businesses look for?
You may have a way of describing your business, but SEO pays attention to what customers are searching. So, what common phrases are people using to find your or your competitor’s pages? To discover keywords, you’ll need the help of a keyword research tool - and there are an abundance out there at a range of prices. Here, you can look at search volume, viewer backgrounds, common phrases and popular pages. When researching, you’ll likely find words that have a high search volume. Though these are good, also note the popularity of other sites using these words - SEO is a careful balancing act of search volume and page usage. If too many pages use the same words or phrases, you’re simply lost in an ocean of competitors - that is not effective marketing.
Of course, high volume words are more desirable as there is a seemingly guarantee of attention, however, low volume (long-tail) traffic is also very powerful. By appearing in these niche markets, your business appears to suit the more individual needs of the researcher. This is more likely to increase the chance of getting business and gaining customers.
Creating Your Content
Now that you’ve conducted research, you can implement your researched words and attract your audience.
Your website content is going to contribute the most to bringing the eyeballs necessary to grow a business. Content should not be made purely to gain a high ranking, as the system reads this as falsifying content and manipulation of the system. Instead, be genuine in the content you are creating, whether its sales, blogging, descriptions or more.
It’s also important to avoid stuffing pages of keywords. Google searches for the closest relationships between queries and content, not the most mentions in a single search. Therefore, filling a page with a keyword actually does more harm than good.
Google has confirmed that links and quality content are two of the three most important ranking factors for SEO. Trustworthy sites tend to link to other trustworthy sites, and spam sites tend to link to other spammy sites. Now, it is important to mention that links should remain on your website, as you want customers to stay with you for as long as possible. This is why content creation is important! Connecting with outside sources is good as it increases trustworthiness and reliability, though a healthy balance of creation and curation is critical.
If you’d like to learn more about SEO practices, Moz Creative also has a blog, which goes much deeper into this subject. Click here to read more.
There is no “secret sauce” to dominating SEO. Google ranks pages highly because it believes it provides the best answer to a question. It’s not enough for your page to be unbroken, non-duplicated or non-spammy, your content must also show a community benefit. Rather than seeking to cheat the system, be better than everyone else. Google tends to reward sites that provide better quality information, though it certainly requires more thought and work. Just remember, there is no magic word to accomplishing full SEO, it boils down to hard work, research and a deep understanding of your business.