I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve come across people asking how they ‘do’ SEO (search engine optimization) for their site.
Someone has a website and they want to add some SEO to it, but the problem with this approach is that they have fundamentally misunderstood what search engine optimization actually is.
Many businesses using the web to market their services are tripping up on this crucial area of digital marketing. They’re also probably going to end up paying through the nose to get help with it.
Why are people so confused?
A big reason there is such confusion surrounding the topic of SEO is that skilled practitioners deliberately want to keep their art shrouded in mystery in order to increase the value of their skills.
If you’re a startup with limited budget, SEO will be crucial to your marketing strategy because it means your webpages will be displayed in the search results of Google when someone types a particular query.
I want to clear up the idea that SEO is a distinct category of digital marketing, and point out that it is embedded and entwined with all other areas of online promotion. You must understand the basics of how the internet works to see how SEO is relevant to your website or blog.
What is the internet?
The internet is made up of billions of pages all connected with each other through hyperlinks. Some pages are grouped together under domains that are known as ‘websites’, so search engines know they belong to the same entity.
Google dominates the search engine market and most SEO concerns making your site visible to Google’s ‘spiders’ – bots that crawl through the pages on the web and index them to make them searchable.
You want to get your web pages as high up the ‘organic search results’ as possible – these are the naturally occurring links that come up when you type something into the Google search bar. Don’t worry about the very top results, as most of the time they will be ‘ads’, which are paid links unnaturally appearing at the top of results.
An explanation of SEO for business
When people say they want SEO for their site, they usually mean they want more visibility in these search rankings – ideally you want to be coming up on the first page.
Good SEO takes time to achieve and you need to be in it for the long-haul if you want your site to be appearing near the top of the results (unless you have loads of money and can resort to black hat practices).
You also need to corner a particular niche, as most major markets will be so saturated with content that you’ll have to be very rich indeed to stand a chance of topping the results for those search terms.
There are a few main factors you must consider when planning SEO for your site.
- Regularly updated and unique content
- Backlinks to your site from other authority websites
- Submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console
- Excellent metadata for all your pages
New content published regularly
SEO must be part of your overall content strategy, so that means regularly publishing new content on your blog that is relevant to your target customers.
Ideally, this is going to be in the region of 6-8 new posts per month.
It also means promoting your site online so other authority websites link to your site and increase its visibility in the rankings.
The sitemap submitted to Google’s Search Console means your site will be displayed correctly in the search results, with the site’s page hierarchy broadly represented. This is particularly important for ecommerce and other sales websites.
The relevance of social shares
Getting social shares and traffic to your site with new, quality content is another key factor in SEO, because search engines will prioritise sites with high traffic.
Your page metadata means your site’s page titles and descriptions will be displayed correctly in search engines, and also when people share your content on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
As you can see, there’s no black magic involved with SEO, but it does take time and sustained effort. Visit Search Engine Watch for more in-depth information regarding how to get started with SEO.
If you’d like to explore how you can develop your business’s content strategy, get in touch with me for reasonable rates, and I’ll help you increase your startup’s online presence.