How SEO Works: What Every Business Owner Should Know
How SEO Works: What Every Business Owner Should Know
As a business owner, you’ve probably heard a lot of acronyms related to marketing. Pay Per Click (PPC), Social Media Marketing (SMM), and Content Management Systems (CMS) are just a few examples.
Another acronym that’s popular – and very important to understand – is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
People search for something on Google 40,000 times per second. Google search is the primary way consumers learn about products and services.
If someone is searching for your industry, you want to make sure you show up in the search results. In fact, you want to show up on the first page, if possible. SEO is what makes that happen.
Learn more about the types of SEO and how SEO works for your business below!
Choosing Keywords: The Long-Tail
One of the keys to successful SEO is having the right keywords. You want to focus your content and optimization around phrases that are specific and relevant to your industry.
Many times, the most general keywords – which are searched most often – are also the most targeted by your competitors. Instead of trying to fight for attention in that arena, focus on long-tail keywords instead.
What are long-tail keywords?
These keywords contain multiple words and phrases that help them be specific. For instance, “Mexican restaurant” is a keyword, but “Mexican restaurant in Bloomington” is a long-tail keyword.
You use long-tail terms to target specific niches and demographics. As a result, your content is more targeted, and you have less competition.
The right long-tail keywords are essential for SEO, as well as online and social media advertising.
How SEO Works: On-Page and Off-Page
When you start exploring how SEO works, you’ll discover there are two types of optimization.
First, you want to optimize your site and pages themselves, to maximize the chances that you’ll be found in search.
Second, you want to make sure you’re getting quality links from others that boost your credibility with Google.
Here’s how to approach each one.
When you start a blog, you need to determine a list of keywords that you want to target. These need to be phrases related to your products and services.
As discussed above, these keywords should have good search volume, but not too much competition. You’ll want to find great long-tail keywords to focus on.
For each page, you need the following SEO elements:
- A page title that’s three to five words long
- A meta description that’s 150-160 characters long
- A keyword in the title and meta description
You should also use headers and images, and include keywords when possible. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t overuse a keyword. Instead, just sprinkle it in naturally.
Finally, be sure you’re creating high-quality content that people will want to visit and read. Google hates web pages that have a high bounce rate.
Beyond what you do for your own website internally, Google prefers to rank sites that have external validation. This means that inbound links from other sites can make a big difference.
Of course, you can’t buy this attention. The sites need to be reputable and the internal links need to have a natural relation to your website. The days of purchasing inbound links from directories are basically over – that’s not how SEO works anymore.
Instead, build relationships and do guest-posts that can lead to an increase of positive mentions online. Off-page SEO is about building your reputation so that people will want to come visit you online.
Common off-page strategies include:
- Gaining positive reviews
- Building a social media following
- Getting mentions in news media online
- Guest-posting to get links to your site from reputable sources
As your online reputation grows, Google will take notice. That reputation is factored into your overall search engine score, which affects how you rank in search results.
Should You Invest in SEO?
To many businesses, these steps seem time-consuming and expensive. Why bother investing in SEO when you could do paid ads or other types of marketing?
The simple answer is that people are paying less and less attention to interruptive advertising. The average attention span is now eight seconds – and hooking someone in that time is very difficult.
Instead, businesses are turning to inbound marketing. They are drawing prospects and customers in, rather than interrupting them with unwanted information.
Drawing people in requires relationship building, great content, and an investment of time and money. However, it more than pays off in long-term success for your company.
The more you build that loyalty, the more you’re taking the steps that make your site relevant. And those steps help your SEO. It’s a win-win.
Don’t Try It Alone!
Search Engine Optimization is very difficult to figure out on your own. If done wrong you also run the risk of burning out your website and getting it blacklisted from the Google search results. Make sure you either practice on a test site, or consult with someone who knows what they are doing before trying SEO on your main website.
If you need help improving website traffic, let me know. I can answer any major questions you have with SEO and help to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Otherwise, if you have any quick questions that you would like to be answered, drop them in the comments below!
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