If you have an online business – or even a brick-and-mortar one – you’ve probably heard of SEO. It’s the ideal way to capture online attention from potential customers. According to WebFX, SEO is important for every kind of business.
In this article, I’ll guide you through the basics and best practices for doing SEO so you can improve your business online.
What is SEO?
- 1 What is SEO?
- 2 Is SEO right for my business?
- 3 Know the vocab
- 4 Get started
- 4.1 Keyword research
- 4.2 Keyword difficulty
- 4.3 Search volume
- 4.4 LSI
- 4.5 People also ask
- 4.6 Word count
- 4.7 Competitive Research
- 4.8 Organization
- 4.9 Unique angle
- 4.10 Comparing ads
- 4.11 Creating your optimized content
- 4.12 Stick to your research
- 4.13 Avoid keyword stuffing
- 4.14 Write naturally
- 4.15 Building backlinks
- 4.16 Social media
- 4.17 Outreach and partnerships
- 4.18 Updating your content
- 5 Final thoughts
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Basically, this means that you’re trying to get your website to show up on the first page of Google, Bing, and Yahoo when consumers search for certain keywords.
Is SEO right for my business?
The short answer is yes, always.
No matter what your business is or what niche you focus on, you need people to find you online. It’s as simple as that.
Plus, it’s organic. To get good traffic from SEO, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on running ads. You just need to focus on good content.
But, you may ask, what if my business doesn’t publish a lot of content? What if I don’t have a blog or update my site much?
Well, there are a couple problems with that. For one, even if you don’t have much content on your site, you still need SEO so potential customers can find you on the web. And two, you should probably be blogging and updating your site more to enhance SEO!
I’ll talk more about enhancing your site later. First, let’s have a little vocabulary lesson.
Know the vocab
When you’re getting started with SEO, it can feel really foreign. Don’t worry. It used to be all Greek to me, too.
Once you learn the basic language, though, all the strategies will start making more sense.
This acronym stands for search engine results page. Usually, it refers to the first page of results that comes up when you search for a certain keyword.
In SEO, the keyword (sometimes called the keyphrase) is the word or group of words you want to rank for on the SERP. It’s the focus of all your optimization efforts.
These are keywords that consist of three or more words. They’re pretty niche, so fewer people search for them. However, they can help boost your site overall, and addressing them usually provides valuable information to your users.
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) term
These are terms related to the keyword that can help boost your ranking. You should try to include as many of these as you can in a piece of content.
On Google, a featured snippet, sometimes called a rich snippet, is a featured block of content at the top of the SERP.
Backlinks are links on other sites that lead back to your site. Having a lot of backlinks can help you rank higher for important keywords.
This is the most important step in SEO. Finding the right keywords sets you up for success and helps you set up your initial content strategy.
To conduct this research, you need to use the right tool. You might consider looking at SEMrush vs Moz vs GrowthBar. GrowthBar is great option if you’re looking for simple, quality keyword research for a low monthly price.
It’s a plugin for Google Chrome that gives you all the keyword research you need just by searching for something on Google. Below are some of the main factors to look for when researching.
Keyword difficulty is a number between zero and 100 that rates how hard it is to rank for a certain keyword. When a tool like GrowthBar is on your browser, the keyword difficulty score will show up in the upper right corner when you search.
This is the number of searches for a certain word/phrase per month. Usually, you want to target words with a high search volume. But long-tail keywords deserve some attention, too. Even though not as many people search for them, they can boost the credibility of your site and provide valuable information for potential customers.
The GrowthBar plugin will show you suggested keywords based on your search along with their monthly search volumes. Use this info to pick out the best keywords for your goals.
As I explained in the vocab review, LSI stands for latent semantic indexing. You can get these from keyword suggestions or by scoping out your competitors’ content.
People also ask
This is something you can find on almost any Google SERP. There’s often a box of questions titled “People Also Ask.” Think about addressing some of these questions in your content. It will satisfy user needs and help you hit more LSI.
In SEO, the length of your content is also an important ranking factor. Too short, and search engines won’t think you’re thorough enough. Too long, and users won’t bother reading. So how do you strike a balance?
GrowthBar shows you how many words are on the top-ranking pages on a SERP. Write content that’s at least as long or longer than these pages.
It’s great to know the basics about your keyword and how to rank for it, but that info means nothing if you don’t know how it compares to your competition. I already mentioned comparing word count, but here are a few other things to look for when evaluating your competition.
The organization of a page can determine how long a user stays on the page. Since search engines don’t like to rank pages with high bounce rates, it’s important to prioritize user-friendly organization.
Comb through the top-ranking pages for the keyword(s) you want to rank for. What info do they put first? How many images do they use? Is the information organized into infographics, accordions, or other design elements? Use their pages to get ideas for your own.
A plain page that reads like a textbook entry about a keyword won’t rank very high. Instead, think like a journalist. What angle can you take on your topic? Take a different angle than your competitors so you’ll stand out to users.
Gain insights on your competitors’ overall strategy by also looking through their advertisements. With GrowthBar, you can view the Facebook ads of the companies on the SERP.
Creating your optimized content
After you gather your research and know what you need to include on your webpages for them to rank, it’s time to get down to business. This can mean either creating entirely new content or revamping pre existing content.
Stick to your research
Use the keywords, LSI, and competitor insights you gained during the research phase to outline and structure your page.
Avoid keyword stuffing
Yes, you have to use your keywords and other factors from your research to make a good page. But you can’t try to squeeze the keywords or LSI into every other sentence. It doesn’t help. Actually, it can hurt your chances of ranking. This is “keyword stuffing,” and it’s easy to recognize because it’s the opposite of writing naturally.
Remember, you don’t want this to sound like a textbook. Use your unique angle and write how you normally would. Anything that’s too stuffy or dense will turn off both users and search engines.
The next step in improving your website’s SEO is to build up your backlink profile. To see current backlinks, you can export content from GrowthBar. It will show you the number of links there are from different sites.
Then, use the following tactics to get more backlinks.
Posting your articles to social media is a simple way to get your links out there. It doesn’t have as much power as links in articles on other sites, but it’s a start. Plus, if the posts get shares, you get more eyes on your content for free.
Outreach and partnerships
Look for other sites in your niche that could benefit from your content. Then, reach out to the content manager and suggest that they link to a specific page of yours that could help their users. This could lead to more backlinks, a link swap, or even a long-lasting partnership.
Updating your content
I know I said keyword research was the most important step, but it may tie with this one. Search engines change all the time, so you can’t expect to never change your content and keep ranking for the keywords you want.
You don’t have to change everything whenever there’s an update to a search algorithm. In fact, that can hurt your chances of raking.
What you need to focus on is updating your pages with timely new content and relevant links. This creates a better user experience and shows search engines that you have the most up-to-date info.
With these five steps, you can take your site from hard-to-find to a SERP superstar. Every type of business can benefit, and SEO is an evergreen marketing tactic. It will always be a worthwhile investment of your time to research your keywords and make your content into something that search engines — and your potential customers — will love.