Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can dramatically accelerate your marketing effort, but takes a while to happen. It takes time to plan and execute, and then it takes more time for Google and the other search engines to take notice and start ranking you for specific searches.
It’s a lot of work, but once you start to gain traction from Google, you will see improved rankings, more traffic and more leads. At no cost to you.
SEO starts with keyword planning, meaning the development of a keyword list that is relevant to your business. You may actually have multiple keyword lists for different parts of your business.
Keywords are prioritized based on their search volume; the higher search volume, the better. Using your keyword list, you want to be sure those keywords get added to your website pages in a natural, un-forced way. Don’t stuff your pages with keywords. But you need to be realistic. Some keywords are very popular – almost too popular for a smaller website to realistically compete. You don’t want to waste your time on keywords that have too much competition.
For all the strategy that goes into global SEO, the real challenge is in content creation. It takes a commitment of time and/or money to write, design and produce a steady flow of new content every week or month.
The goal with content is to be educational and thorough. Give readers the information they are looking for and not getting from other websites. Answer the questions they are asking in their search inquiries. Your readers will appreciate it and Google will begin to take notice with higher rankings for specific keyword phrases.
Google has made it very clear in recent years that is prefers long-form content. Google believes its searchers want comprehensive answers to their questions. This means the creation of pages and posts of 1,500 to 2,500 words. It doesn’t mean you can’t have 500-word pages or posts, but in general, longer is better.
Once searchers find your website and land on your relevant pages, your next step is to give them a reason to turn over their contact information – even if it’s just an email. Getting visitors to convert into leads is a critical step in the process because most people will just leave – and you won’t know who they are.
We use lead magnets to encourage conversions. Lead magnets are downloadable documents – guides, reports, white papers, tip sheets, cheat sheets checklists, videos, anything you think may be of interest to your target audience. Of course, these lead magnets also need to be created Consider having separate lead magnets for each product or service you offer, or for the different parts of your business.
Link building is the single biggest mystery of SEO. The concept is simple: when another website connects with your website with a link, it represents an endorsement of your website – and Google takes notice.
The more links you have, the better, but the quality of those links is perhaps a more important factor. Websites are ranked for their so-called “domain authority.” – they ranked on a scale of 0-100. The highest authority websites are businesses like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon and the other major platforms. They are also major media outlets like the New York Times, and major universities like Harvard and MIT. If you get links from these organizations, you are in good shape. However, the vast majority of links come from blogs and websites with very low domain authority – and this gets noticed as well. Especially if those links appear to have been orchestrated through some “link farming” scheme (something you must avoid).
If you have an informative and useful website, chances are you will get many links without even trying. Other website owners/managers in your market will find your content and link to it. Beyond this organic link growth, you may want to explore a more aggressive method that involves social media, influencer marketing, article marketing and public relations.