Have you ever typed in a few keywords into the Google search bar, hoping your website will appear at or near the top of the results page?
When it doesn’t, you’re disappointed. But not as bummed as when you scroll down the entire first page and don’t see it.
And not nearly as frustrated and angry as you become when you don’t see your site listed on any of the first few pages of results. If you have to type in the name of your company for it to appear in the results, you know you’re going to get very little organic traffic from search engines.
But that doesn’t mean this is permanent. There are things you can do to improve your search engine optimization (SEO), and that’s what I want to address today.
Before I get into them, let’s look at the positive outcome you’ll experience by improving your website’s visibility and its ranking on results pages.
The higher up your website appears on search engine pages, the more traffic your site will receive. And most likely, the more time a visitor will spend on your site.
Achieving this goal will also provide your brand with increased credibility. It will be perceived as an authority over competitors because it will literally be “above” them on the page.
Appearing “above the fold” on a search engine first page will also improve both awareness of your brand and brand recognition that will be recalled. You will obviously want to do more marketing for your company than merely helping it appear in a prominent spot during searches. But improved SEO is actually a marketing strategy in and
of itself. And a cost-effective one.
The short-term benefit of improved SEO is obvious. But by sticking with it and optimizing your website’s content on a regular basis, you can count on long-term benefits as well.
And speaking of content, that’s what it’s all about. Both on your site and in your communications to customers and potential customers.
As far as your website is concerned, it’s important to organize your content by topic. This will improve the chances that your site will appear more prominently in search results.
Regarding your communications – emails in particular – stop focusing on what you think customers and potential customers are searching for (or what you want them to look for) and start concentrating on what you know they’re searching for. This brings us to keywords.
A crucial early step in developing an SEO plan is figuring out which keywords and phrases your target market uses when they search for the types of products or services your company offers.
Merely starting to type in a few words pertaining to your product or industry in the Google search bar can bring up some interesting possibilities. Once you get a grip on what those keywords and phrases are, make sure every page on your site includes them in relevant places.
If you need assistance in determining what those keywords and phrases are, there are some tools you can access, including Google Keyword Planner.
Those keywords and phrases should also be included in your communications. Including emails, SMS, social media posts, and advertisements designed to steer customers and potential
customers to your website and/or landing pages.
A number of years ago, our company was surprised to learn how many of our customers accessed our emails and website through their mobile devices. We understood that a majority of Google search queries occurred on mobile devices, but because our target audience skews older (50+), we assumed most would use desktop computers and laptops to read our communications and place orders.
This new knowledge resulted in us making our website home page, landing pages, email communications, and social media posts more mobile friendly.
In addition to making sure our webpages adapted their layout and content to a variety of screen sizes and resolutions, we focused on making written communications more readable with shorter sentences and paragraphs, more subheads to break up copy, and more bullet point lists.
Are there links from other websites that steer traffic to yours? If so, you have backlinks, which can help with SEO because they build additional credibility and authority for your site. Just as important, these backlinks allow you to reach an entirely new audience.
One of the best ways to secure backlinks is by creating content that owners of other sites are interested in featuring. The less self-promoting that content is, the better. But make sure your
website address is included in the content.
There are probably some people in your industry with whom you have non-competitive relationships. Ask if they’d be open to hosting a guest blog, allowing them to select the topic. Be ready with a blog post if they agree and aren’t particular about the subject. Return the favo
by allowing them to post content on your site.
This one might be more of a long shot, but it’s worth trying. Connect with influencers in your industry, asking them to share your content.
Another option is offering to collaborate on a topic of interest to their followers and your customers.
Let me conclude with a few action items I believe will help you develop and execute an SEO strategy:
— Create some short-tail keywords (1-3 words each)
— Create some long-tail keywords (3-5 words each)
— Use those keywords and phrases on your website, in your blog posts, in your email campaigns, in your SMS messages, in your social media posts, and on your landing pages.
— In addition to hosting your blog on your website, include blogs posts in your emails and tease them with a link in shorter communications including SMS messages and social media posts.
— Compress the images and videos you upload to your site so that visitors can navigate your website and SMS messages quicker.
— Measure and track results of your SEO strategy.
— Keep up with evolving SEO best practices. We live in an ever-changing world.
SEO is a very important component of your overall marketing strategy. Don’t just assume it will occur for your business naturally. Be proactive about making it happen.
Allen Baler is a leading entrepreneur and Harvard grad. Allen Baler is a Partner in 4Patriots LLC, based in Nashville, TN.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not a substitute for the sound advice of a professional with expertise in the subject matter discussed. Please seek appropriate counsel on what strategies make sense for your personal circumstances and/or your business.