When searching for a product or service online, users seldom venture past the first page of search engine results, often clicking on one of the first five listed. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in because it can significantly help websites rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), improving the online visibility and driving traffic (online users) to click on a website.
What Is Search Engine Optimization?
Marketing software company MOZ best describes SEO as “the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (organic) search engine results.” With specialized software, marketers can determine what people are searching for online, the types of answers they seek, specific words used, and the types of content they consume.
On the simplest level, when a brand knows the answers to these questions, it can better connect to its target audience, i.e., consumers searching online for solutions offered by a product or service. Even though paid advertising and social media generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic still comes from major search engines like Bing and Google.
Search engines make massive profits from advertising. Their primary goal is to solve users’ queries as accurately as possible and keep consumers coming back. Therefore, they will consistently rank the most relevant, authoritative websites at the top. By integrating SEO in digital marketing strategies, businesses can improve their search engine rankings, gaining an advantage over their competitors.
What Are the Benefits of SEO?
To stay competitive, brands constantly adjust their online presence to reach value, visibility, and availability goals. By far, the most efficient tool to help accomplish this remains search engine optimization.
When a web page reaches high visibility on the internet, the content helps more people and therefore continues to rank higher. With SEO, businesses gain greater notoriety while strengthening their position for search engine algorithms to improve their position in search results.
An excellent technical SEO strategy properly executed delivers high-performance websites. Fast websites leave a better impression on search engines, improving visibility, generating more leads, and driving conversions. Plus, a technically sound website is easy to navigate and load quickly, keeping more visitors on for longer.
SEO results take time yet deliver impressive ROI. The longer SEO websites and content are left online, the more they improve over time. Once web pages gain traction in search results, it becomes easier to rank for higher traffic and higher-value keywords. The average ROI of eCommerce SEO services is roughly $2.75 for every $1 spent.
Increased Leads and Sales
Together with keyword research, SEO targets specific audiences based on the search terms they’re using, which increases the chances of making a sale. By attracting the right consumers to your website with relevant keywords, you can increase your conversion rate, selling more products and services. A sound SEO strategy will continue to boost sales for months and years to come.
By now, you have probably gathered just how much the practice of SEO is intertwined with search engine ranking factors, increased traffic, and thus visibility. On-page, off-page, and technical SEO all work together to bring organic search traffic from Google and other search engines to help businesses thrive online.
What Makes SEO?
Many fresh and old businesses wonder: “how can I make my website SEO friendly?” The whole SEO package can be divided into three types of search engine optimization every business needs for a results-driven organic search strategy: on-page SEO, technical SEO, and off-page SEO. Developing an SEO strategy with these different categories in mind provides optimal results.
On-page SEO relates to the content on your website and advertisements. It helps search engines understand what a web page is about, and when done well, ensures search engines rate the website as a valuable source of information users want to find.
This SEO technique includes:
- Keyword research: Determining what your target audience is searching for so you know what phrases and words to include in website and content marketing copy.
- Keyword optimization: Using the most suitable keywords in the right places, like website and blog headings, for example.
Off-page SEO strengthens a business’s relationship with other websites to build a brand’s online reputation and authority. This is important because if two different websites rank equally on keywords, Google and other search engines will assess how reputable, reliable, and trusted the competing website are.
High-quality backlinks are crucial to off-page SEO. These are external links from a page of one website to another. For instance, if another website links to yours, you have a backlink from them. While all SEO strategies are long-term, off-page SEO is a degree more challenging to achieve, given that it requires cooperation from others. Most companies build these search engine trust signals through guest posting tactics and smart PR strategies.
Technical SEO falls into the realm of improving a site’s backend architecture, which is the structure and logic that makes a website work. This type of SEO improves a website’s technical readability, focussing on elements like site speed, security, mobile-friendliness, a search engine’s ability to crawl (read a website), and so forth, which all affect overall traffic and engagement rates.
A technically strong website prevents confusion caused by duplicate content. It won’t send users or search engines to non-working links and ensures a website’s code is optimized to help search engines crawl and interpret the content. When done well, technical optimization rewards websites with higher Google and ssl ranking.
Differenced Between SEO and PPC
The largest difference between SEO and Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is that with PPC advertising, you pay for individuals to click on search engine ads designed to bring traffic to your website. In contrast, SEO entails creating content that attracts organic, non-paid traffic. Paid search engine ads appear at the top of Google search results pages, above organic web page listings influenced by SEO. Both SEO and PPC work best when strategically integrated into performance marketing digital strategy.
What Is The Role of SEO in Digital Marketing?
SEO is the cornerstone of every single digital marketing effort. It is almost pointless to commit to a digital marketing strategy if you’re not going to invest in a long-term SEO strategy. Let’s say, for instance; you’re a used-car sales company. A user wants to find a second car, so he types this into Google.
If your car company doesn’t appear on the first page of search results, he won’t find you and will likely click on other top-ranking car companies and do business with them. This is why it’s so important to take SEO seriously. The more customers find you and get in touch, the greater your sales. In fact, 70% of online marketers say SEO is better than PPC for generating sales.
SEO Tools to Use
Whether you have a law firm, retail, or SaaS company, you need website traffic. Thankfully, there are many digital marketing tools available to ensure you implement SEO best practices. Most marketers use a combination of the ones below for best results.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free platform for anyone to monitor how Google views its website on its search engine. Not only does it measure the results of search engine marketing services in terms of traffic and keyword research, but it also sends messages when web crawlers can’t index a web page properly or if there are security risks detected on a website.
It’s worth mentioning Google has 92.47% of the search engine market share; therefore, investing and using Google software is a must, as most of your website’s organic traffic will come from it. Also, important to note is the difference between Google Search Console and Google Analytics. The former only suggests measures to improve organic SEO traffic coming from web searches, while the latter provides a complete picture of all traffic that comes through paid marketing campaigns, social media, search engines, and other online platforms.
Google Analytics is an industry-defining tool that tracks all your content that receives views and shares, including paid ads. It helps businesses identify trends in how desktop and mobile visitors engage with websites and content. Features include data collection, analysis, monitoring, visualization, reporting, and integration with other online marketing applications.
With Google Analytics, you can see what devices your target audience uses and where they come from, which channels drive the most web traffic, keep track of marketing trends, and learn how users navigate your website. The valuable data provided by this software, from keywords to a website’s top referrals, help refine SEO.
Ahrefs, SEMrush, and AWR
These feature-rich software suites contain tools for competitor analysis, link building, site audits, campaign management, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, and keyword ranking analysis. All three tools are used by leading digital marketing agencies, so when it comes to choosing which is best for you, it really depends on a marketing team’s preferences.
Just be sure that whichever app you use, its SEO capabilities include keyword targeting, competition, and website analysis, as these will help you stay ahead of the completion. The software should also provide visualizations to assess success and failures clearly.
Moz is a reputable digital marketing tool that monitors and analyzes organic traffic performance and SEO health. It assesses inbound links, linking domains, domain authority, web page authority, and spam scores on search engines and social media sites.
Available for free with limited capabilities and a comprehensive paid version, Moz allows marketers to quickly analyze the performance and potential of a web page in search results, which it presents on a scale from 0 to 100. Using Moz with Ahrefs provides several valuable metrics for marketers to boost SEO results.
6 SEO Tips to Tackle the Giant
As a small business, it can seem almost impossible to compete with big businesses online. They have seemingly endless money and resources to devote to SEO and online marketing. How is a small operation like yours supposed to complete? Believe it or not, the fight is far from over. You, as a smaller business, have many advantages over business giants. All you have to do is identify and use these advantages to propel yourself as a contender on the larger stage. Here are six tips to get you started.
1. Take SEO Risks Large Competitors Won’t Gamble On
Large companies are going to stick with shorter, broader keywords because they can reach further. However, people are still searching longer phrases like “what’s the best vegan restaurant in Denver?” and “How long does it take to get a transmission repaired?” Using long-tail keywords means that you’ll be the one fielding those longer searches.
Larger companies can’t go after their competitors’ specific brand names, and they certainly wouldn’t choose to compare themselves to another brand on their own site. You, however, can. You can compare those things to each other and outline how you’re a superior choice. So keywords like (My company) vs. (my big competitor) or even (big competitor) vs. (another big competitor) may get you some traction that the big companies don’t want to gamble with.
Editorial keywords are when you add your opinions as a business owner into the content. For example, a large scale used car company isn’t going to rate the best companies to buy used cars because they have relationships with each company that they don’t want to jeopardize. However, that’s the type of content people want – you, as a small business without large ties can provide that content and win the search.
2. Act Quickly to Beat Competitors’ SEO
Being small allows you the nimbleness to listen to your customers and your search results and make changes quickly and effectively. What may be trending last week is no longer getting people to your site. While changing your SEO strategy often may seem annoying and time consuming – you are able to take advantage of the publics ever changing persuasions while your big box brother cannot. Put in the time and effort and you’ll see the results.
3. Use Blogs to Highlight Your Authenticity
People like to see companies being real and relatable — which is easier to pull off as a smaller company than it is for larger corporations and brands. Take advantage of your size and write passionate blogs about what you do, why you do it, give shout outs to your employees and announce exciting news! People are much more likely to keep coming back if they feel like they are a part of your companies culture.
4. Blogging With Purpose Helps in SEO Ranking
Write out a list of five or six reasons of writing a blog. Reasons could include, to inform, to educate, to entertain, to persuade, etc. Every blog and piece of content on your site should then fall into one of these categories. If you are writing blogs just because “it’s time” and you “always post a blog on Thursdays” — search engines are likely to overlook your content. Giving each blog a clear intent will increase your chances of being seen by search engines and online users.
5. Find Your Niche
Find your company’s niche and fall into it. You, as a small company and startup, have the ability to really focus your energy to find, understand, and cater to a small demographic online. Learn their language and use it to identify keywords that larger companies wouldn’t know to include because they have their hands in twelve other places trying to get results.
6. Work on Mobile SEO of Your Site
This is non-negotiable. Your entire website must be mobile-compatible including any place that customers go to contact or buy from you. According to a study conducted by Moz Inc., mobile friendliness is the #1 ranking factor for SEO search engines. Lucky for you, making your site mobile compatible is becoming easier than ever with sites like Wix and Squarespace having a mobile option and web design companies including mobile design in their initial proposals.
All businesses benefit from SEO. While a brand can use many tactics to improve discoverability online, an excellent SEO strategy is number one! If you want to improve the search engine marketing results of your website or learn how to use the right keywords, then why not chat with SEO experts from an SEO digital marketing agency? Click here for a free consultation with our SEO digital agency professionals.