If there is one tactic for building your business you cannot live without, it is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO brings your business straight to the top, literally. Through tracking key elements such as buzzwords, SEO works to increase your standing when it comes to search engines. It works toward pulling the content you post to the highest rank when a client or potential client searches for your business. If you are actively using SEO, which you should be, you might be surprised to find some tools you currently use are more of a hindrance. There are some ways to increase your awareness into the right and wrong ways of using SEO.
Back to the Basics
Let’s begin by all getting back to the same page. Wikipedia’s definition is a bit bulky in saying SEO is “the process of increasing the quality and quantity of website traffic by increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine.” It is easier to understand SEO if you take the definition and look at it in parts.
- “Increasing quality and quantity of website traffic” – This references making the marketing content your business produces the best it can be. The “best” is different for each business. You might find you get more client interactions on your business blog rather than posting to social media, or vice versa. Once you have created quality content for your current and future clients, you want to boost it as much as possible. This means posting it to multiple social media pages, promoting it through a blog, or maybe even referencing it in an email chain. The better your creative content, the more people will take notice, and the more places you post, the more people will actually see it.
- “By increasing the visibility of a website or a web page to users of a web search engine” – This section describes the intent of SEO. Once your content is created to your best ability and posted to as many outlets as you see fit, it is intended to peak as much interest as possible. The more people interested and clicking on your content, the higher the web search engine will rank it among the other posted content from other businesses. More clicks means more visibility.
In order to create this data, Google uses hundreds of ranking systems. Moreover, Google is constantly changing its algorithm in order to update and refine the process. Google’s algorithm looks to answer these questions when determining which website deserves the top rank.
Are those on your website actually engaging with the content? (i.e. Are people clicking on links and pictures to learn more about what they are searching for?)
- Does your website have a fast loading speed?
- Is your website smartphone “friendly?” (i.e. Can it be accessed successfully by a smart phone?)
- How much of your content is actually creative? (i.e. Are you posting to engage your viewers or are you posting just for random clicks?)
It is important to think about these factors when refining your website and creating engaging content. Even more, you need to keep in mind that what you are currently doing may need to be refined. These tricks to think about can be a big help in boosting your business above its competition.
Remember that On-Site SEO isn’t Everything
It is create to get clicks on your website, but even that is not enough. You want potential clients engaging with your content on other platforms that may not be your own. Find some high-traffic websites that you know potential clients frequent and get your content on that page. A good way to find these websites it to look for the websites that use the same buzzwords as your business’ posts.
Being on other websites is not a one-time gig. It is important to create a schedule that refreshes content posted at least monthly. Just because a viewer is seeing your content on another website does not mean it is actually being noticed. Creating new designs and utilizing fresh buzzwords are both great ways to rotate and renew what you want a future client to see.
There are multiple ways to get your business on another website frequented by many and some will be better for your business than others. A starting list includes:
- Side ads – Paying for a space on popular pages such as blogs helps boost your SEO. How many times have you gone to a blog and noticed someone else’s business being promoted on the sidelines? That could be your content that someone sees when reading about a related topic.
- Video blurbs – Whether created to play before a YouTube video or on a blog, videos are a great way to get viewers to notice you. Not only that, but videos and creative images spice up your content because it gives your viewer a look into what you do. Videos and images are more personal than some words on a page.
- Sponsored posts – Social media is a great way to reel in a new type of viewer. By paying for your page to be promoted, your posts will appear in a user’s home feed. Social media platforms will keep track of the type of content a viewer likes to engage with and will primarily post your sponsored content onto a feed that is the most likely to be clicked on.
Get Creative with your Content
The most important element to increasing SEO is creativity. Creativity is measured individually by each business and does always not mean making flashy campaigns. You want viewers to frequently visit your sites and to do that means updating the information they are engaging with. If they have seen it before, they are rarely going to go back a second time. There are several ways you can get creative with your content but sticking to your company’s established brand will tie together all posted content into one concise website.
Focus on Headlines and Taglines
The headline of an article or blog post is the first thing your viewer reads, so make it a good one. Creating witty-worded content seems easy when given the task, but anyone who has ever sat in front of a blank Word Document knows that writing is not easy. Writing with the intent of turning heads is especially daunting and is certainly someone’s worst nightmare. But there are a few ways you can spice up a headline without giving you a headache.
- Less is More – You don’t need to explain the entire article’s concept in the headline. Think about the main purpose of the article. Is it to explain a task? Does it give new information? Is it an introduction to a new company policy? Answers these type of questions can make finding the words that represent the article best to be a bit easier.
- Strong Words Win – There is a famous quote by Mark Twain that uses some choice words to get to the concept that filler words confuse readers rather than engage. Filler words are mainly adjectives of adverbs such as “very” or “a lot.” We say these phrases frequently when speaking but rarely praise a piece of writing that includes these words. A headline does not quite equate to a novel, but Mark Twain is still correct. Use strong words that get to the heart of your intent and explain without question what the rest of the article will be.
Images are Important
While your company may be better explained than shown, images are still important in keeping your audience’s attention. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this is certainly the case in SEO. Viewers are more likely to remember your brand if they have a mental image to reference. While not every written document may need an image as well, finding the right type of image for your post is a great way to gain a viewer’s interest.
- Graphics – Graphics include images created specifically to enhance another thing, whether it is a specific point in an article or the article itself. The most important rule of graphics is to remain consistent. Find a graphic style that fits your business’ image and create them in a way that is concise. This will create a visual component to your brand that people will think of when referencing your business.
- Videos – Using videos is a bit more complicated than graphics. While graphics are mostly universal, videos need to be created with a specific intent. Videos also work better on certain platforms than others. A key to utilizing videos is to keep this question in mind: Is this something that would be better shown than told?
- Photographs – People like to see the faces behind the business. If your business offers a service, clients want to know that their trust is being put into skillful hands. Adding pictures of those within the company to websites humanizes your brand and makes your website feel more familiar. Viewers are more likely to click on content when they know it was created by someone and not something.
Keep Current on Trends
The thing that could be your SEO downfall is not keeping up to date on what viewers are clicking on. What is gaining traffic one day is ignored the next for something newer and shinier. Video rental stores were killed by video streaming websites. This is a classic case of the new kicking out the old, and it could be the case with your SEO tactics. Keeping current can happen in multiple ways.
Keep up with the competition – What are businesses similar to yours doing that you are not? Frequently checking in with the competition, specifically those in the top numbers of search engines that use the same buzzwords as you, can help your business to stay current online.
See whom your followers are following – This is mostly for social media pages. If you are practicing the basics of SEO and posting on multiple platforms, check out exactly who is seeing your content. If it is business pages or clients that use your services, check out what other platforms they are seeing in their feed. Chances are you will come across a creative trend that you could reference for a new post on your own site.
Follow business-specific news outlets. Nothing is fresher than information posted by those whose job it is to actively seek out the new and fresh. Most likely they are already creating a stockpile of current trends you can shift through to see what would be the best fit for your website. Finding such websites is specific to each business, but you can be certain that someone credible somewhere is reporting on what is important to you.
Anticipate what is coming next – Trends usually rotate on a type of loop. Just look at the fashion industry. What is current today is out tomorrow…and then current again years later. By seeing how trends within your business circle around, you will know what to post next. In turn, this helps with standing out among the competition and showing viewers that your business is the best.
You want your brand to remain relevant in the conversation across business practices. Some trends are only relevant on specific platforms, and going down a rabbit hole of gaining more insight is the only way to find out which ones will work where.
SEO Mistakes Overview
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be done really well or can be done really poorly. The answer is always in the result. Never be afraid to Google your business and see how you are appearing to viewers. It is easy to get trapped in SEO practices that you assume will help, but in actuality, will only hurt. Try not to rely solely on on-site SEO, get creative with every post, and keep up with what is going on around you. Without utilizing these tactics, your SEO ranking will stay stagnant even as you try to work your way around it.