SEO has taken the world of business by storm, and everybody is trying to utilize this useful little tool. Whilst there are many ways to do this, there are also many ways to get it wrong, and if you want to grow your reach as a business, you need to hit the nail on the head when it comes to SEO. OK, we know what you’re thinking. ‘Slow down, what is this, anyway?’ Fear not; we have created a basic guide to the world of SEO, for those wondering whether it could be useful for the growth of their businesses.
What on earth is SEO?
SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. OK, think about all of the times that you’ve looked for something on the web. Let’s say that you’re looking for a bouncy castle for your child’s birthday party, and you live in New York. You open up a search engine, type in ‘bouncy castles New York’ and click on one of the first links that you see. You haven’t got time to look through them all, have you?
If you’re a bouncy castle business owner, you know that you’re going to get little to no recognition if you’re on the 20th page of Google. It would take a pretty devoted person to look through that many pages for a bouncy castle, so if you’re that far down on a search engine, you’re basically out of the game. Well, maybe you’re not. This is where SEO comes in, and saves the day for all of those page 20 bouncy castle businesses.
The more times that the link to your website is mentioned on other websites, the higher it gets ranked on search engines. The more times that you include the keywords that you need to rank higher on these search engines in your webpages, and the webpages of others, the more likely you are to jump up a few places, until you end up pretty close to where you want to be. The higher you end up, the more people visit your website, and the more sales you get. Simple, right?
Well, you’d think so. But SEO is still quite a difficult game to play, and if you don’t have original content, or your site looks too spammy, then Google won’t recognize it in their algorithms. Unfortunately, you can’t just write ‘bouncy castles’ 100 times on a blog post and then link your own page in at the bottom (which is pretty annoying). SEO is time-consuming, sometimes expensive, and very easy to get completely wrong, especially as you need to work out the perfect keywords, too.
Why do I need SEO?
SEO may be one of those things that you just think that you don’t need. How is all of this link business going to help you out, anyway? However, SEO has a proven track record of increasing traffic to websites, and it can boost your customer count by a massive margin. It can seem like a difficult thing to get right, and you may believe that social media is easier (and cheaper), but there are still plenty of people out there using Google for everyday tasks.
You can do a little test here, and put the name of your business into a search engine. You can try a few different alternatives (perhaps do some searches with place names), but have a look at the overall position of your business on the web. It’s best to look at this through a private browser, so that the ranking of your search engine isn’t influenced by the cookies, favorites and search history on your normal browser.
Also type in the service that you provide (you know, ‘bouncy castles New York’) and see what the deal is. If you’re not on page one, then this means that you’re missing out on over 71% of the link clicks, which all happen within this one specific page. That means that your competitors are getting all of this business, that you could be receiving yourself if you were ranking a little higher. Have we convinced you yet? Are you on the SEO bandwagon?
Think about this. Sure, social media is a good marketing tool, but when you see a product in a store that you want, what do you do before you hand over the cash? 9 times out of 10, if it’s a big investment, you do a quick Google search to see how much it costs elsewhere. If your business can come up at the top of this search, and offers a better price, then you’ve got one more customer who has picked your store over your competitors, which is good news.
Sounds great, how do I do it?
If you’re interested in SEO, you need to get it right, and this is a process that can take a lot of time. If you’re going to smash it when it comes to search engine rankings, you need to learn the tricks of the trade, and these tricks always seem to be changing. It’s annoying, right? But it’s Google’s way of making sure that they avoid spam, and that people aren’t controlling search engines too much. Because of this, you need to become a wizard at SEO.
The alternative is to hire an SEO company to do your dirty work, and this is a viable alternative for those who aren’t too tech savvy. From businesses that focus on specific SEO, like those for lawyers featured on BestSEOCompanies.com’s lawyer SEO list, to those who generalize and offer SEO services for all types of people, getting in touch with one of these places could be worthwhile, especially if you don’t have time to sit down and work out the complexities of Google.
If you’re going to use a blog on your website to make the most of SEO, then you need to start out by creating some original, engaging content. You should also be creating all of the content for your products, which should be unique, whilst also showcasing a few of the keywords that you’ve found out. Repetitive, copied content is not going to do you any favors here, so employ a content writer, or put your writing hat on and do your best DIY job.
Then, you should put in some links to your pages via the means of some anchor text, which should say something about your business. The ol’ ‘visit site’ or ‘click here’ won’t really do the job here, and you should try to include something that will help Google to work out what your link is about. If you can get any posts on guest blogs and sites, where you can backlink to your website, then you’ll also be able to boost your traffic by diversifying the sites that you’re featured on.
Is there anything else that I need to remember?
Yes, one last thing (we promise). If you’re aiming to get your site onto the first page of a search engine, you need to make sure that it’s good. A poorly put together website that is crying out for the assistance of a web designer is going to put people off straight away, and the advice here is this. Remember that old business slogan, ‘dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have’? Well, this kind of applies to your site.
Make your site look like it should be on the first page of Google, not the 20th. If you do this, and boost your website a little via SEO, your business website will speak for itself. We’ve all clicked onto a website before, realized that it looks like 2003 Myspace, and backed out of there quicker than you can say ‘please God get a web designer’. Take all elements of your online presence seriously, and you’ll be well on your way to getting the boost that you need.
Lastly, we’re being for real when we say that you need to become a wizard of SEO. Watch all of the videos that you can, read about it, try it out, perfect your content writing… or just hand it over to somebody who knows how to do it, and save yourself the effort if you don’t want to do all of this. We know, it sounds pretty easy, but SEO is a fine art, and you need to make sure that you’ve got it perfected.
So, if you’re thinking about using SEO to boost your business, then why not give it a go? Whether you get a professional in, or do it yourself, it will surely help you to grow your online presence, and break through to those first few pages of Google. As a result, your profits will be up, and you’ll be able to establish yourself as an important brand in your field! Good luck getting your SEO right, and being King of the search engine for years to come…