We’ve talked about the importance of having a business website. So now it’s time to talk about SEO. What it is, and why you need to be implementing it. We will start with the basics for those of you that are totally new to the subject, and finish with some more advanced ways to implement it for those that are looking to level up.
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization”. Simply put, it’s how search engines like Google, Ecosia and Bing, find your website and its content. Formally put, it’s the practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic, as well as exposure to your brand, through non-paid (also known as “organic”) search engine results. You can think of it as understanding what your potential customers are searching for online, what answers they are looking for, and the exact words they’re using. Knowing the answers to these questions is powerful, because it will enable you to connect with the people who are interested in what your business offers because they are already searching for related content.
Knowing what your target audience is searching for is a crucial advantage. Understanding how to deliver it is equally as important.
Organic Vs. Paid
We used the term “organic” search results above. All that means is that you did not have to pay for people to see your content. Whereas, running online ads on places like Google and Facebook are called paid search results, or paid ads. This means you have to spend money to increase your visibility to viewers. You can tell what search results are paid because they appear at the top of the search results page, and have the words “Sponsored” or “Ad” near them.
Why SEO is Important
While paid advertising and paid ads do drive traffic to your business website, the majority of traffic comes from search results. Data from Google shows that only 2.8% of people click on paid advertisements. To put that into perspective: By implementing SEO, you have 20X more traffic opportunity than paid advertising.
Another reason why SEO is so important is because users simply trust search results more than paid advertising. When a business appears in top rankings of search engine results, it’s instantly more credible and becomes an automatic authority in its specific industry or niche.
SEO can also help you win over customers before your competition. Think about it. If your business is appearing in search engine results and your competition is not, you are far more likely to reach an audience that they aren’t.
Ways to Use SEO Effectively
Having a blog is one of the best ways to use SEO effectively. By creating evergreen content (content that doesn’t depend on a specific time-frame to be relevant), you can continuously, and passively, drive traffic to your website. Whereas, paid ads require continuous funding to drive traffic.
Other ways to use SEO effectively is to tailor all of your main copy (think home page, about page, and call-to-actions) to include your keywords (the words that your target audience is already searching on). By incorporating these keywords into your business website copy, you are telling search engines that audiences searching on these terms will find your content relevant. There are many tools you can use to research keywords such as Google Trends, WordStream, and Google’s auto-fill function (among many other ways).
We’ll walk you through an easy way to discover keywords. Say you are a business in the Vancouver area that sells and rents paddle boards, and you want to know what the relevant keywords for your niche are. Here’s how to find them:
- Open a new tab and go to Google.com (it’s best to open an incognito tab so that the search results are not affected by your previous searches.
- Type in “paddle boards vancouver” and see what populates automatically
- We see that the words “rentals” and “lessons” are two of the first phrases that auto-populate, which means they are popular search terms
- You’ve just found your key words
- You can now incorporate these words into your business website copy, product descriptions, and blog posts.
Of course, this is a very basic example, and in order to climb your ranks in the search results, you will have to dig a little deeper than this and get more specific. But it is a good way to understand the basics of SEO and keywords.
Getting Strategic With Your SEO Practices
While incorporating the basics of SEO is important, having a long-term strategy is even more important. By using a combination of tactics such as backlinking, off-page SEO, and on-site SEO you are setting your business up for long-term SEO success. We will briefly break down each one of these tactics:
- Backlinking: When another website links to your website. When this happens, it tells search engines that your content is valuable because other sources are sending traffic to it. This is especially beneficial if the other website receives a large amount of traffic and is a credible source of information. One easy way to create backlinks is by guest-blogging on someone else’s website and linking back to your own in your author bio. Using the paddle board example again, maybe you do a guest blog post on a Vancouver tourist blog. Another way is by pitching PR stories to local (and perhaps national) media websites.
- Off-page SEO: This is a strategy used to promote your website. Think social shares, email newsletters, paid ads, etc. It’s how you disseminate your content and link back to your website.
- On-site SEO: This is a general term for everything we discussed above. It’s the strategy you use to incorporate your keywords into your website’s content. This can be done within your copy, but also by how you name your images as well as within your permalinks (the URL of your website page or post).
Hiring an Agency Versus Doing It Yourself
Now that we’ve explained SEO and why you need to be implementing it, you may be wondering if it’s something you should handle yourself, or hire out. When asking yourself this question, it’s important to consider your current capabilities in the form of time and SEO skills. If you don’t have the time or confidence in your current understanding, do you have a designated person on your team that can implement SEO for you? If so, great! If not, we would love to help you. We offer affordable pricing, and would love to learn more about you and your business. Contact us today for a free SEO quote. And if you’re in the Vancouver area, we’d love to meet one-on-one! We are happy to discuss your business goals, and how we can help you reach a wider audience, stand out from your competitors, and get more sales.