Ready for some real talk? Research shows that 71% (and up to 92%) of all search traffic clicks occur on the first page of Google. Click-bait title aside, learning how to engage, implement, and master the intricacies of SEO is vital for all businesses. After all, if you aren't anywhere close to that first page, how do you possibly expect to generate the traffic and conversions your company needs?
Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned, smartest entrepreneurs in the world find themselves intimidated by the ins and outs of search engine optimization. Does that statement apply to you? If so, let's get into what you need to know.
First Things First: You Need A Website
This is entirely non-negotiable no matter which industry you work in. It doesn't matter whether you're a carpenter, licensed therapist, or a budding e-commerce guru specializing in edible underwear.
Regardless of the niche (or the popularity), you need a website- yesterday. But if time is of the essence (and when is it not?), don't complicate this process. You only need your domain name and a reputable hosting company.
Concerning domain names, aim for a term that's both unique and versatile. You don't want to lock yourself into the catchy website name, climbingadventuresbeforethirty.com (which is currently available if you're so inclined), because what's going to happen after your thirtieth birthday? Furthermore, what happens if you no longer only want to focus on climbing adventures? What if, say, you want to specialize in kitesurfing and acro-yoga in a few years?
Create Dynamic and Consistent Content
In the grand scheme of SEO development, one key factor stands out above the rest. Compelling content reigns supreme regarding driving traffic, improving your ROI, and increasing overall conversions into products and services.
Every SEO guru has his or her own secret toolbox for content creation, but all companies should keep the following points in mind when writing posts:
- What questions do people have about your industry?
- What fears do people experience when hiring you or your competitors?
- What needs must be addressed in order for people to take the next step in looking into your products/services?
If you can start answering these starting-point questions, you'll be well on your way towards creating interesting and useful content. Just don't forget to write down your brilliant ideas! Many people make the mistake of thinking they'll "remember' all their pitches and titles; unfortunately, we humans have the incredible skill of forgetting very important things at all the wrong times.
Lock Down the Nitty-Gritty SEO
When it comes to curating and publishing blog content, there isn't a 'perfect' number to reach. With that said, those who blog more frequently tend to have higher domain and page authorities than those who post "whenever they feel like it."
As a general rule of thumb? The more consistently you can lock down your blog posts without compromising your quality of work, the better. With that said, posting the best content in the world won't mean very much if people can't, well, find your site!
This is where all the SEO nitty-gritty tactics come into play. Let's get into the must-knows.
Use the Right Keywords
When creating content, it's essential to find and utilize optimal keywords. After all, you want to produce posts that attract your target audience's needs, questions, and desires. What does that mean exactly? In a nutshell, it means utilizing appropriate search phrases and terms that generate appropriate volume within your niche.
If, for example, you specialize in selling and distributing baked goods online, you'll be looking to optimize keywords like cookie gift baskets, order cookies online, baked goods delivery, or dessert delivery.
Websites that use keyword research efficiently move to the top of Google's coveted first spots. One of the best ways to determine the best keywords for your blog posts? Check out what the competition is doing! If you can dissect their articles and keywords and create your own better spin on these ideas, you'll start dominating search results.
Throughout your post, you'll need to naturally integrate keywords (Google will penalize your site if you overstuff them). In general, you'll want to implement keywords in your:
- At least one heading and subheading
- Introductory sentence
- Concluding paragraph
- Meta descriptions and title tags
This is one of the most straightforward SEO techniques. Whenever uploading a photo to your website, make sure that you change the file name (which usually resembles some alien text) with your keyword. Fill out the alt text field with your keyword and a helpful description of the photo.
Dominate Social Media
No, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest aren't meant to be scary. In fact, when used appropriately, they can pay dividends for your company's short-term and long-term growth. With social media optimization, one notion seems to ring true: you get what you put in. If time is limited, use it accordingly, and make sure that you are always focusing on working smarter and not harder.
Fortunately, with automated programs like Buffer and Hootsuite, you can pre-plan all your posts, links, and shares ahead of time. No more mindlessly posting, hashtagging, and sharing ideas. You can schedule out everything for as long as you need.
Integrate Internal & External Links
Internal links take readers from one part of your website to another. When you use internal links, you provide a greater, in-depth experience for your audience. With internal links, you can take people to different blog posts and to essential points of interest (such as your services or 'about me' section). In general, this process creates a more user-friendly experience (and they help boost your SEO).
External links help increase your digital footprint and reputability. They also help you inadvertently build relationships with other site owners. For example, if you're quoting a specific expert or discussing a certain statistic, it's always within the best practice to provide a link to that site.
When you're crammed for time, it's tempting to neglect your SEO strategy. However, with the right planning and research, you don't have to sacrifice your hard-earned time for your website's success!
Nicole is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and professional freelance writer. She is passionate about helping people uncover and unleash their authentic selves (both in her therapy and written work). Nicole enjoys blogging about mental health, addiction, and self-esteem. Check her out on souloftherapy.com