Do you know when you meet someone for the first time and are well into the conversation before you realize you can’t remember their name? You meet at gatherings again and again, and now it feels way too late to ask them. You’re in too deep, and just accept that you’ll continue to have conversations with this person every once and a while, and hope that you never have to admit you don’t know what to call them.
This is how many people feel about SEO.
It feels too late in the game to cover the basics of what SEO is, so many people just nod and smile when it comes up.
But I’m here to tell you, it’s not too late! Whether you’re trying to figure it out yourself, or want a good understanding before delegating it to someone else, here is your crash course in SEO and what some starter steps into the practice would look like.
The first place to start…
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization: which is the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of your presence on search engines. This involved reaching the right people (people searching terms your company embodies) with the right info (the page that best answers their question or solves their problem) at the top of the page. Or at least, that’s the goal. With billions of web pages out there, there is a lot of competition to make it to the first search result.
There are ways to improve your search engine presence through your website, called on-page SEO, and on other websites, called off-page SEO. Both efforts can increase the value of your presence across search engines.
Where do you go to research a new potential purchase? Many people answer that question with Google, Bing, or another search engine. Good Search Engine Optimization gets you information above all other options when a person searches a term directly or indirectly related to your business.
Did you know that more than 90% of people never look past the first search engine results page? If your content isn’t in the top 10 results on important key google searches, most people will never see it. On the flip side, if you move from the second page to the first page for key results, it can have a direct impact on your website traffic, leads, and conversions.
Simply put, as a business owner, you want to reach the right people with the right content. A thoughtful SEO strategy can propel you above your competitors and help you make that connection.
Some SEO tactics can be a little technical – but a lot of it is very doable with just a little knowledge of the backend of your website! Here are some places to start:
On what search phrases do you want to show up as a top result? One good strategy is to find terms where you’re already ranking on the second page of search results, and make a goal to move up the ranks to the first page. There are tons of strategies for creating these keyword ranking goals, and once you establish yours, your next steps forward will become much clearer.
When writing new or updated existing web pages, each one should have a focus key phrase or topic that will help guide your SEO strategy. Choosing a custom SEO goal per page will help you guide your page contents, SEO strategy, and maximize your opportunities for improving your search engine rank.
Whenever making a new page or updating existing ones, don’t skip this step! Writing custom metadata per page is a great way to include your new focus phrase front and center for Search Engines to find. Metadata consists of an SEO title and Meta description. This is a simple way to prioritize and include your focus keyword or phrase.
If your website only has 5 pages, you only have those 5 pages to optimize. A blog page or quality secondary pages are a great way to maximize your ranking opportunities and offer new information to your website visitors. Content is still a crucial aspect of SEO – so focusing on a blog strategy is a great way to elevate your ranking in the long term!
Keeping every aspect of your website healthy can seem daunting, but consistently checking common issues is a great way to optimize your website without falling down a rabbit hole. Here is a starter list:
Now, the previous section may have left you saying: “Great – but how do I DO that?”
Using handy and simple-to-understand tools that do the hard stuff for you! We broke down our favorite SEO tools here:
Yoast SEO Tool: If you have a WordPress website, the Yoast plugin will be your best friend. It allows you to easily act on SEO strategy without needing to touch any confusing code. This includes an easy way to add metadata (pictured above)!
Google Search console: This free platform is offered by Google and offers information on on-site health, how Google sees your website, and what search terms your audience is finding you through. It also gives you a way to “remind” Google to take a look at new or updated content for quicker indexing.
Moz Local: Moz local is a free aspect of a paid platform that helps you check how you are presented on third-party local listings.
SEO results can seem like selling snake oil – because you can’t say exactly when you’ll start seeing results from optimizing efforts. Sometimes, it can take several months to see an impact on your bottom line from enacting SEO best practices. But, once you do, you’ll start seeing an improvement in Key places.
Your organic traffic will most likely see a boost. Since your content is being shown to more people on search engines, more people will be visiting your website.
You may see traffic increase to secondary pages. This could be product pages, blog posts, or any other valuable information your potential customers seek out. If you set up a great customized SEO strategy per page, many of your pages will be visible on search engines – not just your home page.
Your engagement rates will see an improvement. Because your content is reaching the right people at the right search, they may spend more time on your website, increasing time on the page and decreasing your number of bounces.
And lastly, your bottom line! Over time, more valuable traffic equals more conversions. Being the first result on Google for key phrases can be a crucial revenue stream.
SEO shouldn’t be a big mystery. With just a little background, new good habits, and some simple SEO wins, you can be well on your way to improving your long-term website presence on search engines. Ready to jumpstart your SEO strategy? Reach out to our team!