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De-Mystifying SEO

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There's a lot of chatter about how search engine optimization (SEO) works and which tactics work best. However, it's important to listen to reasonable, experienced voices so that you don't fall prey to the latest cheap tricks. Search engine crawling and indexing technologies typically reward high-quality content that others find worthwhile. It's well-known that search engine algorithms constantly change, but the value of great content is hard to ignore.

Here are some starting points to de-mystifying SEO.

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1. SEO is a Science and an Art

Wouldn’t it be great if one of your potential customers typed in a query to Google search. Your website comes up in the results, near the top. They click on your link and it’s exactly what they wanted and were expecting to see. If your website is fully optimized, that's what will happen. That's SEO.

Search Engine Optimization for a website takes research, practice, and patience.

Research & Planning

One of the first steps to approaching SEO is to research the value of keywords through analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and the Google Keyword Planner.

Keywords are words associated with what people search for online. It's important to use the keywords naturally in your company's online content so that it reads well and makes sense in the overall angle of the article. Strive to understand the mindset of people searching, and what questions they would like answered.

If you sell monkey wrenches, possible keywords might include "monkey wrench, monkey wrenches, monkey wrench Toronto", etc.

Nice Keywords

Of course, businesses face a lot of competition to be on the front page of Google for some very generic keywords. Niche keywords are useful to help gain some great visibility online. Use various keywords or search phrases that pertain to your business as you develop your online presence. This includes using keywords in headings, subheadings, content, and any bylines appropriately.

Niche keywords might include: "best monkey wrenches of all time", where to buy monkey wrenches in Toronto", etc.

 Where Do We Put Them?

Once you have chosen the keywords you want to invest in, you need to create content for your website that "optmizes" those terms. Include keywords in your online content, such as blog articles, in a way that makes information relevant. Don't resort to inserting keywords in content in an awkward, irrelevant way. Post articles and content that relates to the keyword and that attracts specific audiences.

Other aspects of search engine optimization include the architecture of your website. Check with a developer or marketing company about how meta descriptions and tags may help your company's SEO. While there are varying views about the effectiveness of HTML meta tags and other common HTML code snippets, you probably don't want to exclude them from your strategies.

The main goal is for specific audiences to find your site online. If it's difficult for people to find your blog or social media links, then it's difficult to gain traffic (page views). You will also want to focus on high-quality grammar, which search engines and readers tend to value. Don't sacrifice readability for the minor details of grammar, though. It's about balancing many priorities so that audiences enjoy reading your content.

How Many Keywords / How Often?

Don't let your content become too redundant with keywords and links, but you also don't want to under-employ these strategies. Just use keywords and links in a natural, appropriate manner for online content. That way, your content will be less likely to be viewed as spam, and more likely to be valued by audiences and search engines alike.

SEO guide

2. It's about attention from real people

If people link to your blog or website, this can indicate to search engines that your site is valued by others. Obviously more traffic to your site means more conversions, such as sales or new contacts. But more traffic also helps boost your page ranking.

Businesses rank higher on Google (and other search engines) through attention from real audiences. The more traffic, comments, clicks, and interaction a company's website receives online from real, live people, the better that company could perform in rankings.

While this isn't an exact science, it's pretty clear that search engines value what people value. If real people are browsing and clicking on links on a company's website, this indicates to search engines that your business is real and of interest to people. People may find your business through social media channels, shared blog posts, or through organic search.

If your business content has a lot of context and timeliness to larger industry trends or ideas, people may be more likely to search, find, share or engage with the content. If the content is new, fresh, or highly distinctive, this gives audiences new perspectives and ideas they haven't found elsewhere. This is good for your business brand and probably good for your SEO.

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3. Consistency and growth go together

In order to grow your business, it helps to grow your content and create a consistent online presence. Keep posting new blog posts, add intriguing links, and create newsworthy content. Update your business social media pages so that you can attract people to visit your site.

Even if you don't initially receive the engagement levels you hoped you would receive, audience views are still valuable. Don't downgrade your website's quality or online presence by trying to "trick the system." Since the search engine technologies are constantly changing or evolving, low-quality content and keyword strategies will likely harm your brand in the long run.

Ask yourself: Is this content relevant, interesting, valuable to my audience? If not, all the keywords in the world may not help you

Authentic, interesting content that has a specific tone and voice that resonates with people has a greater likelihood of being rewarded by audiences and search engines. Your content might have a humorous, entertaining, or serious tone. As you approach your online strategy, focus on what you hope to accomplish but don't be too pushy. Focus on enticing visitors to keep coming back for the latest blog updates or new content. This can be achieved through content that offers educational value, or through ideas that are trending, photos, and perhaps videos that attract views. It typically helps to work with a great marketing company to help you grow you brand's online presence. The valuable skills of writers and designers make brands more appealing and relevant to audiences online.

If you would like to learn more about improving the SEO of your business, contact us

Inbound Lite - All-In-One Small Business Marketing Solution

Sources:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
http://herahub.com/magazine/demystifying-seo-and-strategies-that-really-work-in-2015/
https://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/algorithms.html
https://www.google.com/insidesearch/howsearchworks/thestory/
http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_meta.asp

Topics: SEO

Kerin Donahue
Written by Kerin Donahue
Kerin is a marketing strategist who blogs about the do's and don'ts of content marketing. She also provides insights on how to implement a digital strategy for businesses of all sizes. In her spare time, Kerin helps find loving homes from rescue cats, if you are looking for a new pet.
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