Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the part of your marketing strategy that’s easiest to neglect. Yet it can also be the hardest to master.
When a potential customer hops onto Google and searches for the kinds of products or services your company offers, where your website ranks can make the difference between a sale and losing that customer to a competitor.
That’s the power of Search Engine Optimization.
You can’t take shortcuts when it comes to SEO. You just have to learn how to do it–and then do it consistently.
Sure, you could put in the minimum effort or ignore it altogether. But one thing’s certain: Your competitors know how to use Search Engine Optimization to elevate their brand. They’re doing everything in their power to improve their search engine rankings and bury your brand into obscurity.
How many pages of Google search results do you suppose the average person will click through to find your company?
Most of your potential customers will never click past the first page of results.
In fact, most customers will never go past the top few results. Advanced Web Rankings statistics indicate that almost all web traffic goes to the first page of a Google search, and a majority of that goes to the top handful of results.
Everything after the first search engine results page gets a measly five percent of the total web traffic out there. That’s the cold, hard truth.
Your competitors already know that SEO Is a Marketplace War. If you aren’t fighting for your place in the search engine rankings, you’ve already lost. Don’t worry, though. It’s not time to hoist the white flag just yet. Don’t Surrender. Strategize.
Your competitors are making advances across the marketing battlefield with SEO. Here are a few ways you can fight back.
Strategize Your SEO Plan of Attack
Google’s algorithmic system of ranking web search results has become infinitely more sophisticated since the early days of the internet. You can no longer spam a search engine with key words and hope for the best.
In the modern era of internet marketing, you simply have to put in the hard work and produce high-quality content. There are no cheap shortcuts to jump your brand in the search engine rankings.
Search Engine Optimization requires you to organically grow content, but there are some initial steps to help your brand achieve its SEO marketing goals.
By now your company understands its branding inside and out, as well as the marketing personas of potential customers. Yet those things alone aren’t enough to produce a successful content marketing strategy.
Search Engine Keywords
You need to not only understand who your potential customers are when they interact with your brand and the brands of your competitors–you need to know what’s going to get them in the door. If your business holes up in some shabby, back-street building blocked by bigger, more attractive businesses and invisible to traffic, customers won’t exactly be busting down the doors to interact with your brand.
The same goes for web traffic. If you don’t understand what keywords they’re likely to punch into the Google search bar, and how to rank high on those specific search terms, you’re nowhere near Main Street and relegating yourself to back-alley deals.
To avoid this mistake, research specific keywords and keyword phrases that relate to your brand. There are online SEO tools available to help you determine all the relevant data about keyword traffic.
- Determine high-volume, broader keywords (the most difficult to rank on) that connect to your brand and potential customers. How does your company rank on these keywords? How do your competitors rank?
- Research keyword phrases that garner less, but more specific traffic. These are called “long-tail” keyword phrases. You can rank more easily on these, and they’re more likely to garner clicks that convert.
- Strategize how to approach SEO based on keywords your competitors rank high on, to try to outrank them, as well as keywords they rank low on, to take advantage of their SEO weaknesses.
Consider other relative factors in your potential customers’ search engine habits, including seasonal or regional trends, as well as what they’re searching for–basic information? A product comparison? An image search?
Understand how keyword volume and trends factor into your SEO strategy and that of your competitors, and you’ll be well on your way to Google greatness.
March Onward to SEO Victory
In our analogy, the distinction that SEO marketing is a war, not a single battle, is an important one. You don’t “win” Search Engine Optimization and then move on to other aspects of your content marketing strategy. Effective SEO will be intrinsically intertwined with your content marketing, day in and day out.
Produce new content regularly–through marketing copy like blogs, infographics, eBooks, white pages, et cetera. Ensure that your content ranks well on keywords. This includes not only written content, but alt text for images and videos, titles and links, page meta-descriptions, URL slugs and so on.
Beyond this, however, it’s also crucial that your company webpages provide a quality experience for potential customers. They must be able to navigate your content easily, as well as find the information they’re looking for without too much effort. The content must be high quality and relevant.
Building out internal links between your content, as well as external links, is another great way to bolster your SEO and garner more clicks.
The core struggle of SEO is this: You must do everything in your power to get potential customers to see your content, then keep them from immediately bouncing to a different page (this is much more common than you’d think). You want them to dig in, to find the content that connects to them, to fall in love with your brand and to become a loyal customer.
The war never ends, and search engines like Google are changing their ranking algorithms every day. Your competitors are finding ways to adapt, and you must do the same. There’s always more to learn about SEO, but nailing down the basics means that at least you’re in the fight.
What questions do you have about Search Engine Optimization? What do you feel are your company’s strengths when it comes to SEO strategy? What areas could use some improvement? Let us know in the comments below!