If you own a business and you’re trying to leverage digital marketing, you may have heard of Search Engine Optimization or SEO. In simple terms, this involves strategically increasing visibility when people use search engines to find products or services related to your business.
When using a search engine, most people never actually get past the first page of search results before they’ve found what they’re looking for. This means if your website doesn’t rank high enough, your customers won’t find you. No customers mean no sales, so it’s crucial that your business ranks well. Optimizing your website to increase traffic and engagement will help to convert leads into customers. In today’s market, implementing SEO best practices is the surest way to improve your ranking, drive sales, and significantly scale your business.
We’ve established that SEO is the way to go, but how exactly does it work? Below, we explore some of the specifics of utilizing search engine optimization best practices for the benefit of your business:
SEO helps generate more leads & sales for your business - When trying to grow your business, your customers must find you. No matter how great a product is, it's not profitable if no one uses it. When people can easily find your business, it increases the chances of turning website visitors into paying customers.
SEO impacts how easily customers can find you on their phones - How often do you use your phone? According to recent surveys conducted in 2021, the average person is estimated to use their mobile screen five to six hours a day - excluding work-related use. This means it’s likely your desired customers spend as much, if not more, time using a mobile Google search engine than one on their computer. As a small business or startup looking to have your customers find you easily, being visible and accessible on mobile devices is essential.
Ranking high on a search engine makes a business more credible - Most users avoid low-ranking websites, because they are skeptical about their credibility. If your business website has poor visibility, your customers might question the legitimacy of your product. More visibility means more usage, which indicates an excellent product.
Search engine ranking is dynamic; you can still outrank your competition - The only constant is change, and this is something your competitors know and are already leveraging. There is fluctuation in algorithms, activities, and progress, so rankings on search engines are not fixed. Your competitors are already using the flexibility in rankings to their advantage; practicing search engine optimization best practices will help your business stay on top of the game.
SEO is the future of business - Digital marketing has been the recent buzz among marketers and business owners alike. With SEO, you remain relevant and can improve the identity of your business, making it more visible, credible, and accessible to your customers.
SEO differs from running paid advertisements; the latter involves bidding for real-time slots to run your ads on specific platforms and networks, while SEO is something you can employ in-house. Digital marketing is quickly surpassing paid advertising as the new standard. Here are some of the google SEO best practices you can implement to give you an edge over your competitors in 2022:
Use target keyword research to create convincing content - When trying to optimize your website, keywords have proven to be one of the most effective ways of practicing SEO. They play an important role in telling search engines what your website is all about and improving your rankings in searches. When creating content, you'll need to carry out target keyword research to help map out what your customers are looking for. This can be done by making a broad topic list and expanding each topic based on related words you think your customers might use. Analyzing the strength of your keywords can help you determine how you rank.
Draw potential customers with enticing titles & headings - The first thing a customer reads when they scan the results of their search is the title and/or heading. An intriguing heading has a higher chance of grabbing your audience’s attention than a boring one, even if they have a similar message. Your heading should be precise, clear, and understandable for any reader, and it should draw your customers' attention long enough for them to click. Finding the right headings to edge out the competition isn’t always easy, but incorporating industry keywords in a catchy way is a good start.
Write meta descriptions that outsmart competitors - Having a great heading isn’t always enough; there’s a tendency for customers to scroll away if headings do not also supply adequate information. A good meta description acts as a self-referral, providing the customer with insight about what you offer and how it works. When crafting a meta description, don’t abuse the use of keywords - pay attention to keyword placement, (ideally toward the front of the title), and show the value of your content by focusing on the reader.
Invest in high-quality image optimization - Sometimes business owners and marketers underestimate the importance of having a high-quality image to accompany their content. Imagery gives your customer a visual representation of who you are and is an important facet of your brand identity. Poor-quality images can affect the credibility of your company and reduce your ranking, making image quality an important factor to consider when it comes to your website’s SEO performance.
Plan your internal linking strategy - How do you subtly urge your customers to buy a product? Internal linking. This is when you embed a link in your content that refers your client to either your product or additional information on your website. Using linking strategies can easily add value and drive sales by extending customer engagement with your website. When creating a linking strategy, the question “Does this link make sense?” should be the driving force behind every campaign. Search engine algorithms can detect “unnatural” linking patterns, e.g. links to your clothing business from a site about cryptocurrencies; if your website is providing a link with no reference, your customers will be driven elsewhere.
Make your design user-friendly (consider desktop & mobile view) - In every business, the goal is to provide a seamless journey for your customers. This can serve as one of the most common online marketing challenges. When utilizing SEO best practices to optimize your website, we recommend factoring in user experience, page speed optimization, and site architecture. Executed well, the aforementioned elements will produce a smooth and intuitive journey for your customers and help you outrank the competition.
Optimize web page speed - Page speed estimates how long it takes to load the content on a webpage. To avoid confusion, it’s important to note that page speed differs from site speed. The latter is used to describe the average loading time of one page on a particular site, where page speed is a pure ranking determinant in search engines. This has become even clearer with Google’s recent Algorithm Speed update, which ranks websites based on user experience. Simple ways to ensure page speed include optimizing your images and leveraging browser caching to decrease loading time.
Utilize navigation & sitemaps - Navigation is the step-by-step menu your customers use to browse the content on your site, while a sitemap is the framework of all pages and links on your website that informs navigation. A sitemap focuses on highlighting your website’s most important pages, which allows search engines to find them easily. A good sitemap helps your customers understand your website structure and makes navigating easy. Creating a good sitemap requires considering the positioning of domain links and prioritizing URLs accordingly.
Lean into semantic HTML - The word semantic means "of, or related to, the different meanings of words." In the context of digital marketing, Semantic HTML is the human-friendly developmental structure that creates clear and responsive layouts. Semantic HTML is used to strengthen, emphasize, and explain the meaning of web page content, rather than solely focusing on its appearance. Strategic use of Semantic HTML helps search engines, screen readers, and users find the key points in your web content. Optimizing Semantic HTML for SEO ranges from highlighting keywords in headings and creating document structure to media type and correlation tags.
There are some inevitable problems that businesses run into when trying to utilize digital marketing. Here are some of the most common challenges and tips on how to resolve them:
Getting positive SEO results - Lack of keyword data and changing algorithms may lead you to wonder if your business is adequately benefitting from SEO. The best way to manage results is by ensuring that your SEO approach is user-centered. Engaging in SEO practices that do not favor your customers can cripple your online marketing, whereas focusing heavily on customer needs is likely to make it more successful.
Learning about your users - As previously stated, creating a user-friendly experience should be the goal of your online marketing campaign. This can be a challenge, if you do not understand who your users are and how to effectively serve them. Conducting adequate user research helps combat this issue. It is also helpful to know what questions your users are asking and how to best address them.
Optimizing content for multiple devices - From phones to tablets to laptops, it can be difficult to determine where your users focus most of their attention. So when trying to optimize your digital marketing, you might question where to target this optimization. Because people tend to use different devices for different activities throughout the day, we recommend businesses consider designs for online marketing campaigns that are both desktop and mobile-friendly.
Managing social media - Keeping up with social media trends and changing algorithms isn’t easy, but this doesn’t have to hamper your online marketing. Certain questions can help guide your social media campaigns: “What kind of content should we produce?” “How do we provide value to our customers?” and “How often should we sell on social media?” can highlight focus areas and help you manage your social media effectively.
Edging out the competition - We all want our products and services to rank highest. Finding creative ways to stand out requires first identifying what specifically makes your brand special and different from your competitors. Emphasizing those qualities will help you reach your target audience and give you a unique voice in the market.
While there are various SEO best practices that have the potential to benefit and scale your business, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It can be overwhelming to try and keep up with every SEO practice; just remember that every successful campaign started out as a humble idea. Consider your brand’s specific needs, and choose the practices that will maximize the desired outcomes for your digital marketing strategy.
Would you rather let a pro handle your website’s SEO? Check out some of the SEO services we offer to assist you in providing value to your customers and outranking the competition. If you’d like to know more, use our contact form to schedule a call with one of our experts today.