SEO is a fast-paced and constantly evolving field. In 2019, it takes a lot more to rank on a major search engine than just churning any old content with a scattering of obligatory keywords thrown in for good luck. SEO marketing relies on you ditching the outdated tactics and staying well-informed about the constantly changing digital marketing landscape.
But there’s no doubt that SEO marketing can also be confusing. You learn one technique only to discover it is dead and buried a week later, and this can be frustrating to say the least. The good news is, there are several SEO marketing features that are constant, and when implemented correctly, SEO will serve to improve your brand visibility and boost your organic search rankings, ultimately maximising traffic to your website and converting more sales than before.
There’s little doubt that effective SEO marketing works wonders for your bottom line. Not only do big brands see increased revenue from SEO marketing, but small local businesses are reaping the rewards too. In fact, 4 out of 5 consumers use search engines to look up local information, often incorporating the search term ‘near me’ into their query. So, whether you’re a growing multinational or independent high street vendor, SEO marketing will benefit your business when understood and implemented effectively.
To do this, you need to keep track of your audience and their behaviours, relevant tech advancements, emerging search trends (e.g voice search) and new algorithmic changes that might influence the way you write and publish content.
As this is a beginner’s SEO marketing guide, we will focus our attention on the SEO basics, which will at least give you the right footing and set your business on the right track.
The Basics: What Is SEO Marketing and Why Does It Matter?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is centric to increasing your website’s organic search results in major search engines.
If you type a question or key word into Google, you are presented with hundreds of pages worth of related results. It may come as no surprise to learn that 75% of clicks go to the first page of a search engine results list. So, you want to get onto that page to maximise website traffic. But how?
SEO marketing can help you achieve this.
There are three major components to remember:
- You need to know what type of content your audience wants to see. This means delving deep into your marketing persona and crafting content (both written and visual) that appeals to that audience.
- You need to know how search engines work.
- You need to know how to properly optimise your website so that it doesn’t stagnate and get lost in the sea of competitors
Let’s look at these components in more detail:
What Is Your Audience Searching For?
Why do we search? That is a very good question. These days, we look to search engines to provide us with solutions, answers and direction. People are looking up their health symptoms for reassurance or a diagnosis, searching for travel guides to plan a holiday, or even asking the internet some complex questions on love, relationships, sex, kids and parenting. There is no topic untouched online. Whatever you want to know, a search engine can tell you.
So, our question is, what does your audience want to know? Why are they searching and where do they want to end up? Whatever business you’re in, it’s important to know what drives your customer. What problem do they have that you can solve? If, for example, you work in the gift industry, your customer might ask ‘What are the best 25th anniversary gifts for women?’ If you sell plus sized clothing, your customer might search for ‘Swimsuits for larger ladies’ or ‘Clothes that create a slimmer waist’.
Remember, people aren’t just searching using their keyboards anymore. Smart phones have taken over the world and voice search technology is common. This might affect the way a person asks a question and the results it then generates.
Luckily, there are search tools you can use to find out what your audience are searching for (and how they are searching for it), so lots of the hard work is taken off your hands.
The next step, of course, is to solve the problem or answer the question. So, you might have a fantastic blog post you can share on the best 25th wedding anniversary gifts for women, properly optimised to direct your customer to act. Or you might have a downloadable guide on dressing for your shape, again with appropriate links and actions to get your customer to buy your product.
The most important aspect to this is that you understand your audience well enough to know what they want. You provide them with real value that persuades them into action.
So, get researching! Discover as much as you can about your marketing personas and ensure you have the means and resources to provide the answers your customers are looking for.
How Do Search Engines Work?
We all use search engines. And while it may seem simple to type in a phrase and click on your preferred result, the mechanics of this straight-forward process are deeply complex. As this is a beginners guide to SEO marketing, we will highlight the three main functions that search engines serve. These are:
- Crawl: Search engines systematically and thoroughly search through the enormous quantity of content throughout the internet, investigating code and content for each URL it comes across.
- Index: Search engines then organise the digital content discovered during the crawling process. It does this via a process called Indexing. When a page that’s deemed relevant is in the index, it’s a contender to be presented as a search result to related search terms.
- Rank: Search engines aim to select content that best matches the query inputted into the search engine. It does this through a process called Ranking. Simply, it chooses the most relevant content based on its algorithm and presents it in order of priority.
To summarise, you want to make sure that your digital content is seen as relevant and safe enough to rank. This way, you maximise your chances of showing up on the first page of a Google or Bing page, driving more traffic to your website than ever before.
How Do You Optimise Your Website For SEO?
There are several basic ways you can ensure that your website is ranking sufficiently. And the great news is, much of this can be done without assistance. These are:
- Make sure your domain name and URL contain relevant search terms that highlight what you do / what problems you might solve. For example, if you sell motorbikes in London, your URL might be www.motorbikes-for-sale-London.com
- Your page title, headings and general content should reflect what you do, including relevant key words and phrases. In this case, simplicity is key. Don’t overegg the cake with complex descriptions and metaphors. Search engines are looking for the main focus words that represent your business, so give them plenty of opportunity to find these!
- Each page of your site should have a meta title and a meta description, briefly describing what that page is for.
- Your website should have well-written code. Poorly crafted code is looked at suspiciously by search engines.
- Create link building opportunities. If another website is linking to yours, the search engine will see you as more of an authority and is more likely to rank you.
- Constantly update your content. A blog is a great way to do this and keeps you fresh and relevant.
Of course, these are just the DIY basics. There are hundreds of other ways to properly optimise your business website for SEO purposes. We’ve put together a list of free SEO tools here that can help you implement an effective SEO strategy.
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