How Can I Use SEO to Help My Business' Website Rank Better?
Is your business website not generating as many leads as you hoped? Chances are your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is focused on what keywords are and not what they do. Keywords are a starting point for SEO, not the end, and certainly not the only factor in making SEO work for your business. Here are four tips to help you better understand how to use SEO as part of your business Marketing Plan.
No One Can Guarantee a #1 Ranking on Google
Let’s get this out of the way. If any marketer or SEO specialist promises your business will be on page one of Google in 30 days or less, they aren’t being honest with you. First of all, there is no way to predict, push, or pay to get your site to rank. There is no secret magic bullet that will make all the difference either.
On their SEO for beginners page, Google reiterates this fact: No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Period. Full stop. Now, are there steps, tactics, and strategies you can use to increase your chances of rising in rank to page one? Absolutely, they take time, patience, and a plan.
How to Increase Rank
First and foremost, the most basic way to increase your ranking on Google is by creating content that is of value to your audience. Your business content should inform, inspire, and provide answers to your audience’s questions.
The value of SEO is that it allows you to recognize and take advantage of trends in search terms (keywords) and use them to ‘market’ your services online. While SEO can certainly be nuanced at times, here are four basic factors to consider when developing an SEO plan for your business.
Understanding the Four Basic Factors of SEO
While keywords play a role in SEO, they are not the magic bullet they once were or able to drive traffic just because they are on a page or menu. Keywords are no longer stand-alone. Modern keywords provide a glimpse into what services potential customers are looking for, giving you opportunities for marketing to address those needs. Keywords identify ‘pain points’ and provide you with an opportunity to show you have a solution for it, via the content you create. If you haven’t examined your website’s SEO in some time, it may be time to update how you use keywords.
Some tips to utilize keywords include:
- Using focused keywords in your metadata (titles, meta-descriptions). Your meta-description, for example, should accurately describe what the page is about while being interesting enough to encourage searchers to click and learn more information about the service. Keep in mind that meta descriptions are NOT used as a ranking signal.
- Include your keyword in your heading (H1). Search engines view H1 tags as something that is very important to pay attention to, making it a natural place to put your ‘defining’ keyword.
- Place your keyword or phrase early in the content, this way you reach people who may not read your blog to completion, allowing them to clearly see that you offer the service.
- Use your keyword or phrase throughout your content in a natural way. Manage how you use older SEO tactics; such as measuring keyword density (or how often the keyword is explicitly used) which can become keyword stuffing (something that actually diminishes your ranking) if you’re not careful.
- Finally, don’t be afraid to use variations of your keywords in your content. One way to think about keywords is that they provide context to your content.
Modern SEO is content-driven. In fact, SEO and content (marketing) are dependent on each other; without one, the other will not be successful. Your ability to consistently create business-focused content such as a business blog can be instrumental in your SEO success. SEO benefits from content in the following ways:
- Keywords by themselves have limited SEO value, but when combined with strong, helpful content, their value can increase exponentially. Your content is an effective way to incorporate your keywords into a narrative highlighting your services to drive traffic to your business website.
- Good content can increase CTR (Click Through Rate). CTR measures the number of times users click on a link and move on to your site. This is where your meta-description can shine, by acting as a mini-advertisement for your content. The more visitors you have to your site, the greater the opportunity you have for a conversion to occur.
- Great content makes it easier to acquire valuable backlinks, especially if they become link bait. Backlinks are links from one website to another and are powerful for SEO because they are something search engines actively look at. Backlinks are a ‘vote of confidence’ from one website to another, essentially vouching that your content is something worth looking at. Ensure your backlinks are from high-quality sites, as low quality (or worse, paid for) backlinks can have a negative effect on your SEO.
First, we have to understand that all search is local. This is why it is important you create a Google My Business account. It lets Google know important information about your business, such as services offered, hours of operation, and other pertinent information. This information makes it easier for local searchers to make a decision as to which business to contact. It is critical to your SEO and overall business health that you claim your business on GMB. Additional steps you can do to let local searchers know more about your business are:
- Make sure your organization’s information is posted correctly on local business listings.
- Your contact information is clearly visible on your website.
- You work with your local Chamber of Commerce and check if they have local business listings and (back) link sharing.
If your audience doesn’t know about your website, how do they find it? While SEO is a function of marketing, it can’t be the only resource you use to market your business. SEO is a tactic and must be treated as part of your overall marketing strategy. This strategy needs to incorporate other marketing tactics, such as:
- Social Media
- Face-to-face meetings
- Direct Mail
When you create a marketing ecosystem between your inbound marketing tactics, you will create the multiple points of contact marketing needs to be successful. In marketing, this is known as the rule of seven. No matter how you slice it, without marketing, your business will not gain the traction it needs to generate leads.