As a business owner, you're bound to encounter the topic of search engine optimization, better known as SEO. Whether you have some background in SEO or are new to the concept, reading about the latest SEO trends and SEO workflow process ideas can help you make smarter, more profitable marketing, advertising, and branding decisions.
Before jumping into SEO too broadly, it's worth noting that it's a different solution for getting your brand noticed digitally than search engine marketing, or SEM.
What sets these two techniques apart? SEO involves attracting people to your website based on the keywords they type into search engines. Consequently, if a keyword is trending and one of your blog posts ranks highly for that keyword, your blog post URL might appear on the first page of search results. When the searcher clicks through to your page, the click is considered "organic traffic." After all, you didn't pay directly for it or push anything toward the searcher to draw them to your site. Instead, the searcher came to you with a little help from your keyword-optimized content.
In contrast, SEM is a paid form of marketing. For example, when you set up paid advertisements on Google Ads, those advertisements are part of an SEM campaign. When someone clicks on an ad, the visitor is sent to a page on your website. Although SEM relies on keywords, too, it isn't an organic arrangement. Rather, the keywords you input are partially used to determine when, where, and how often your SEM ad is shown.
SEM tends to produce results more quickly than SEO for business owners. However, SEO often provides greater value over time. Why? When you stop running SEM ads, you will stop getting those visitors. But a website that is well-optimized continues to draw in traffic until you either take it down or its strongest keywords fall out of favor. (In that case, you have the opportunity to refresh it, as we'll get into below!) What's more, around 70% to 80% of people ignore paid ads.
So ensuring your website is ready for SEO is crucial for generating leads and boosting your business.
The Biggest Benefits of Optimizing Your Website for SEO
Once you understand the full scope of SEO, it's not difficult to imagine some of the chief advantages your business can enjoy if you have an expertly optimized website. The first benefit of optimizing your website for SEO is that you can increase your traffic without increasing your advertising spending.
Today, the average number of per-day Google searches is 3.5 billion. In other words, countless people are looking for answers every second. The more optimized your website is, the better your chances are of encouraging them to check out your company's pages when they ask a question related to your products or services.
What's more, you don't have to put much money toward SEO to see a high return on your investment. Once you create landing pages, blog posts, and calls to action that are optimized for SEO, that content lives on your website to produce yields month after month (at no additional cost).
How to Optimize Your Website for SEO
More than half of marketers cite SEO as their top lead-generating marketing initiative. How can you optimize your website for SEO as soon as possible to join their ranks? Below are some tips for bumping up your website's SEO ranking. Incorporate them into your marketing strategy, and you'll soon see a difference in your search engine results and digital traffic.
1. Remove the clutter from your website.
Unfortunately, webpages can start to get "junked up" by too many plug-ins and a wealth of unnecessary, outdated code. This annoys human visitors by slowing down the time it takes to load your webpages. It also annoys search engine crawlers, causing them to give your pages a worse ranking. If you're not sure how to declutter your code in-house, consider partnering with a search engine marketing agency that can take the guesswork out of the process and help you scrub your webpages so they're not dirtied by cyber gunk.
2. Ensure your webpages are mobile-responsive.
Have you ever noticed that some businesses' webpages take forever to load on a smartphone or tablet? Or that they look strange or are hard to navigate once they do finally load? This means they're not mobile-responsive. If your website is sluggish on mobile devices, fix the problem by testing all your webpages for mobile, especially the higher-ranking ones. Improving those pages' speed to load and ease of navigation can move up your pages in search results.
3. Maintain a consistently populated blog.
Maybe you already have a company blog on your site. Do you regularly post or just add an article once every six months? The more routinely you create and post keyword-rich blog posts, the more your website's SEO ranking will rise. Don't worry about blogging every day. However, do make sure to post a few times a week. An active blog is essential to make the most of SEO — and letting your blog go dark is like leaving money on the table.
How to Improve the SEO Ranking of Your Website With Blogging
What's so special about blogs? By their very nature, they give you the chance to position your company as a leader in your industry. Whether you sell cars, help people find the right insurance policies, or offer legal advice, your blog is your place to answer prospective customers' questions and expand your visibility. And it's the perfect venue for you to add keyword-rich, optimized content as part of your SEO strategy.
Two of the primary ways that businesses use their blogs for SEO include refreshing existing content and creating new content.
Reviewing your older blog content can boost your website's SEO ranking. So check to see whether there are pieces that consistently drive a lot of traffic. Adding more keywords to those posts in a strategic way could make them even stronger lead generators. If you have content that's stopped performing over time or never performed well, you might want to make major edits or revisions to help with SEO. Be sure to swap dated links for newer ones and update any language that might be outdated or inaccurate.
After analyzing the blog posts that are already on your website, you can start to fill in any content gaps by setting up a calendar to write and post new content that targets the keywords your customers are searching for. Again, an SEO agency can help if you're unable to free up the bandwidth to develop content in-house.
SEO Tips for Landing Pages to Boost Your Ranking
Your blog might be one of the larger sections of your website, but it's not the only place for SEO. All pages on your site can contribute to the big-picture SEO ranking for your website — especially landing pages.
What are landing pages? They're the pages constructed for each ad campaign you run. When visitors click on one of your ads on Facebook, Google, or YouTube or a link in an email, they "land" on a certain page. Once on the landing page, the visitor is led through a specific journey toward your preferred call to action, such as filling out a contact form.
Although landing pages have narrow focuses, they can still become a strong optimization tool if they are well-developed. If you're unsure how to optimize your landing pages for SEO, consider these tips:
- Add keywords to all titles, from the headline to the page title.
- Include keywords in meta descriptions.
- Stagger keywords throughout the landing page content.
- Incorporate relevant links to other content on your website.
- Add a keyword or part of a keyword to the page's URL.
Once you've incorporated SEO for landing pages and blogs, you're well on your way to an SEO-ready website. The next step is tracking your progress with proper Google Analytics management so you can course-correct if necessary.
Track SEO Ranking With Google Analytics
There are plenty of SEO analytics reporting programs to help you track key metrics that are related to SEO. However, the program that stands out time after time is Google Analytics for digital marketing.
Google Analytics is easy to set up and use. By using Google Analytics for SEO, you can gather quite a bit of information about how visitors are using your website. You'll be able to track where users are coming from, as well as how (and for how long) they're interacting with the different pages on your site.
When you have Google Analytics, you get an inside look at your website based on actual data and see valuable information related to SEO tasks, such as:
- Which pages seem to be losing visitors and, therefore, might be ripe for keyword-rich SEO updates.
- Which pages perform the highest for each keyword.
- Which keywords drive the most consistent traffic. (You might be surprised by which ones stand out!)
To get started using Google Analytics for SEO, you'll need to sign in from the Google account you use. From there, you can create your Google Analytics dashboard. Once you've added information about your website, Google Analytics will create a unique tracking ID that you (or your SEO agency) can install on your site's back end to track your SEO ranking with Google Analytics.
The Bottom Line: Optimizing Your Website for SEO Helps Customers Find Your Business
It can be frustrating when you feel like your website just isn't bringing in leads. Sometimes, the issue is a matter of making it more SEO-friendly so you can be found more easily. Google rewards high-quality sites that appear meaningful, relevant, and usable. But Google can't give your site a higher rank if the site's not optimized.
Want to jumpstart your website's SEO ranking but aren't sure how or just don't have the time? At CMG Local Solutions, our dedicated, experienced digital team uses cutting-edge technology to help companies like yours achieve their SEO goals. Get in touch with us today to talk about how our SEO workflow process can work for you.