If you’re new to marketing, you’ve likely seen the letters SEO floated around everywhere you go. By now, you probably know that SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and has to do with raising the ranking of a webpage on Google or other online search engines.
But how exactly is that sort of thing optimized? Is it just a matter of repeating the keyword often enough that your post is considered the most relevant to that search? If not, what else goes into it?
It turns out, SEO can be much more complex and delicate. Let’s break down everything you need to know to get started in SEO in today’s blog.
Keywords are a big part of SEO, but be careful not to live and die by them. Using the right keywords can help determine the searches your webpage appears in. However, Google actually penalizes keyword stuffing — the practice of packing a post full of keywords regardless of whether or not they fit naturally with the content. Doing so could actually move your post further down the rankings or run the risk of being considered spam.
Make use of keywords where you can, but don’t go overboard. Just fit them into the webpage where it’s natural.
So what does Google consider high-quality content? Just remember EEAT, the acronym Google uses to determine quality, high-ranking webpages:
You want to show your experience in the subject you’re writing about. Maybe you can share your personal story relevant to the topic, or speak to your work experience in a particular field. More than that, you need to establish expertise. Back your web pages up with credible sources and data rather than making broad statements that can’t be verified. This can speak to both your trustworthiness and your expertise. Finally, consider what makes you an authority. Do you have any awards, accolades, or recognitions that establish you in your field? These can be helpful for your SEO, as well.
The way you format your blog can also impact your SEO. If a webpage is just a wall of text, it’s not going to be a very interesting read. Readers tend to bounce from webpages like that, so Google’s algorithm tends to rank those posts down. That’s why it’s important to vary up your formatting. Use headings and subheadings, numbers and bullet points all when fitting.
You can also add images and infographics to make your webpages really pop. That extra media tends to perform well on Google’s algorithms, especially when you use alt text. Alt text makes your images accessible to those with vision impairments, and the algorithm also reads that text. It can be a great place to add your keywords naturally.
Does your business have a local office or storefront? Do you serve various areas? You may want to consider local SEO, as well. Local SEO is optimizing your web pages to rank high in local searches. On your website, you can do this by creating landing pages for each of your service areas, including contact information, or adding a widget for a map that shows directions to your location.
Off your website, you can continue to boost your local SEO. Consider creating a Google My Business page that will show up when anyone searches for your business or for businesses like yours. You can also join local directories to help boost your local SEO.
The more engagement your webpage receives, the more likely Google is to boost that particular webpage. The webpages that come up as the most relevant on the first pages of search results often have high engagement, which convinces Google’s algorithm that they are high value.
Of course, this can be a bit of a catch-22. How do you get engagement if no one can find your webpage to begin with? But there are a few ways that you can impact this. Consider starting a newsletter or email list where you can link your email contacts to a new webpage. You could also post your new web pages on social media, especially blogs or announcements. The more clicks these get, the more Google will see engagement on your webpage.
If you have money for ads in your marketing budget, it might help to boost your SEO. Google has an ad service that is pay-per-click so you can set your own budget based on what you can afford and what you need. These ads will often appear at the tops of Google searches, thus boosting your engagement and hopefully your SEO. When you reach the cap for your budget, Google stops running the ads. However, you can increase your budget at any time if you want it to run longer.