(This is part 2 of a 2 part series on importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Read Part 1 here.)
Would you go through all the effort of opening up a new business and then forget to tell anyone you’re there? Let’s say you decide to open a storefront in downtown Calgary or Edmonton, and put all your blood, sweat and tears into making it a reality. You find a location, check out your competitors, source out equipment, hire the best staff and stock your new location with your amazing product.
Now, imagine how you would feel if the big day arrived and nobody walked in the door? SEO is a lot like that. You can use your website to sell the best-quality widget at the best price around, but you’re not going to gain any customers if nobody can find you or your widgets online.
Here are some of the very tangible things you can do to take SEO from a pie-in-the-sky concept to a revenue-generating and practical necessity for your business.
Keywords and keyword phrases are crucial to SEO, but many people are confused about how to best use them to drive traffic to your site.
To do some basic keyword research, use the following tools:
- Google Keyword Planner: https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner
- Bing Ads Intelligence: http://advertise.bingads.microsoft.com/en-us/bing-ads- intelligence
Both of the above tools will give you a good idea of what keywords and phrases to use across your website.
Note: While Google has the majority of search users, don’t skip Bing – 16% of all users use Bing, 85% of users are American, and users are mostly aged 35+ (so they are more likely to be established with disposable income).
Many people find it difficult to determine which keywords they should use where. Check out the research tools and always be sure to choose the keywords that best apply to your business.
NOTE: The most popular or searched for terms are not always the ones you want, as competition for them is also higher. We recommend using a mix of high and low search volume, just always make sure they are relevant to your site content.
Ever been to a website and couldn’t find what you were looking for? Or the page took too long to load, so you decided to leave? How your site is laid out and its calls to action are incredibly important. In fact, did you know a website that can’t keep visitors actually get bumped down in ranking?
Be sure to ask your SEO professional how they plan to use the following items to improve your website SEO:
- Site Navigation: This is how your website pages are actually organized.
- Page Titles: This is what your pages are called. They should be named in a keyword-optimized manner.
- Are your images optimized for web? How is your page load time? (Take this Page Speed Tool Test to see how your website is performing.)
- Are the calls to action clear on each page? What action do you want the visitor to take, and how are you going to lead them there?
There is little doubt about the importance of content on your website. High quality content that informs visitors, rather than sells to them, will be much more effective. Here are some tips to help you have optimized web content:
- SEO experts recommend web pages have a minimum of 300 words per page.
- Be sure to use you target keywords on each page.
- If you’re using WordPress, there’s a handy tool called Yoast that will help walk you through the basic of optimizing your content per page, it’s sort of like onsite SEO for Dummies.
- Don’t stop at static web pages. Always include a blog or other areas of your site that can be updated regularly. Search engines also rank based on how recently a site has been updated, so be sure to add new content regularly.
- Include calls to action: Clearly provide next steps for your website visitors on each page. For example, if you want them to contact you add a link or even a Contact Us button where it makes the most sense.
- . Link building is a crucial element of SEO. Link building is pretty much just what it sounds like – it’s getting other sites to link to yours. Think of it as Google building trust with you. Since there are so many websites out there, websites that have been around the longest and have in the process been linked to by other websites tend to have more domain authority, and will get higher rankings as a result. Here are some tactics to help you build the links to your site:
- Setup Google My Business Account
- View competitors’ Inbound Links
- Reach out to authoritative citations (these are websites with high domain authority)
- Find industry “influencers” with large existing followings, like popular bloggers or companies such as BBB.
- Use press releases and media coverage to drive traffic to your website by including links
- Get Links from Affiliations, community boards and industry associations
- Please note this article does not cover every single aspect of SEO, only some of the most important elements.
If you don’t currently have a website, it’s best to do your SEO WHILE YOU BUILD YOUR SITE. Many people want to save money and build the site, then do the SEO, but it will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to build your SEO into your site initially, rather than to have someone go back into your site afterwards to complete the task.
If you have any questions about SEO or website building, Contact Us.
Owner & Founder, Project Manager, MKT Communications