In today’s digital world, the internet is no longer a luxury. Rather it is an inevitable part of our existence. It has transformed our lives and changed our daily habits, especially during the global pandemic. The virtual world is now our escape — it’s where we work, learn, share, and connect. Although the internet comprises a vast amount of information, it’d be a pretty chaotic place to find relevant information without search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
When we use the internet to find something, we visit search engines like Google and type our search queries. It provides us with a list of relevant web pages we can browse until we find the one that matches our needs.
Although it sounds like a straightforward process, search engines like Google work are quite complicated and involve a whole series of algorithms. Knowing the ins and outs of SEO – Search Engine Optimization is essential if you want to know how your business can appear in prospective customers’ search results to drive more traffic to your website and increase sales.
What is SEO?
SEO is a process of optimizing a website to perform better in relevant search results and get traffic. It is vital to any business, regardless of the industry, scale, and reputation. SEO is how prospects can discover your website, and it among the primary marketing tools for acquiring more customers or clients to increase a company’s revenue.
Google organizes pages in search results from the most relevant to the least relevant content — that’s called ranking. The higher your page ranks, the more users you get to your website. SEO is crucial in digital marketing, and it allows you to communicate the context of your pages to Google, so when relevant, they show up in search results.
SEO comprises three different types:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
On-Page SEO consists of steps you take on your website’s web pages to improve their visibility in search results. Off-page SEO improves a page’s performance in search results by acquiring backlinks, creating promotions, and using social media. Technical SEO solely focuses on the technical aspects of your website.
Why Do I Need to Optimize My Website for Search Engines?
Google knows everything, so if you sell the products your prospects need, they should appear in their search results. That’s what one might assume, but it’s not how search works. Even Google — the biggest search engine globally, may not understand your website content if it’s not optimized for search engines.
Moreover, although the primary goal of Google is to provide users with relevant information, it also aims to offer them useful pages. While your website may be relevant, it might as well be slow, or its design may not correctly load in searchers’ gadgets. Although it would be simple if the Google algorithms were just about users’ intention and a page’s relevance, more than 200 ranking factors determine how a page ranks in a query.
Google doesn’t reveal its algorithms to the public. Still, SEO experts agree on several factors that determine online rankings, including.
- high-quality content with relevant keywords
- Consistency in publishing content
- Keywords in headers, URL, meta tags
- fast-loading pages
- mobile-friendliness of a website
- optimized visuals
- backlinks from other websites
When a page is optimized for search engines, it has a higher chance of getting more relevant traffic, crucial for any business.
What Are Keywords in SEO?
Keywords are words and phrases searchers use in their queries to find content online. Determining the proper keywords to target in your website content, headers, URL, and meta tags is a crucial part of SEO and allows you to appear in your prospective customers’ or clients’ search queries.
The ways people search differ, and even if you think people will type ‘CBD store in +the name of the city’ on Google to find your CBD store, some might start searching for ‘how CBD works under the tongue’ or ‘tips for choosing quality CBD.’
You don’t know how people search for your website until you perform keyword research and see what brings traffic and what doesn’t.
Keywords differ, and in terms of their length, there are short-tail and long-tail keywords.
Short-tail keywords comprise one or two words, while long-tail keywords consist of three to five words. ‘CBD store’ is a short-tail keyword, but ‘how does CBD work under the tongue’ is a long-tail keyword. With short-tail keywords, the intention of the search might be unclear. Those looking for more specific results tend to use long-tail keywords.
Finally, there are LSI — Latent Semantic Indexing keywords — the words associated with the main keyword. Let’s say your primary keyword is ‘CBD store’ Google will scan your pages not only for the primary keyword but also for words like ‘hemp,’ ‘CBD oil,’ ‘cannabis,’ ‘compound,’ ‘cannabidiol,’ etc. If you want ideas for LSI keywords for free, click here.
Metrics to Consider in Keyword Research
Keyword Search Volume is the number of searches using a keyword within a particular period. It helps determine how a keyword can bring traffic. Tools like SEM Rush allow you to see how competitive the keyword is and how many users search for it. High Search Volume indicates many users are searching for it, but usually, it also means it’s highly competitive.
Keyword Difficulty shows you how hard it would be for a new website to rank on the first page of Google for a specific keyword. The higher the difficulty, the harder it will be to rank high for the keyword.
Content Marketing for SEO
Most users go online to find helpful information and answers to their questions. Your home page, about page, or contact page, in many cases, will have no reason to appear in many of your potential clients’ search queries. It’s essential to create valuable and informative content to appear in more queries and boost online visibility.
Users who intend to find information on how to do something don’t aim to see where to get something until they learn what they need.
Writing or producing educational content enables you to target more relevant keywords and bring those users to your pages who are likely to convert to customers.
Articles, blog posts, guides, podcasts, graphics, or videos you create for your audience, showcase your knowledge in the field. With such content, you help your prospects instead of trying to sell them a product. It builds trust in your brand, and prospects see you as an expert in the field, so when it’s time to choose the business to work with, they will decide to work with you.
The most common way to answer your prospects’ questions is by including a blog on your site. Here you can address the essential questions your customers might have related to your expertise, for example, ‘how to get started with CBD products.’ Blog articles improve your website’s online visibility and allow your site to appear in more relevant search results.
Moreover, the content you produce may also get other websites’ attention and bring you backlinks — others linking to your website. Backlinks increase the website visibility in search queries and show Google that your content is relevant and helpful, so it ranks well in relevant searches.
Even when you own a physical store, your customers will start searching for your business online, and that’s when local SEO comes into the game. Relevance, proximity, and prominence all determine your positions in local search results. Even when your store is relevant to a searchers’ query, it doesn’t mean you are a match made in heaven, and you may be too far away from a searcher. The distance between you and a user is also a factor. Prominence indicates how well-known a store is by analyzing online directories, links to your site, and online reviews. Did you know that 46% of all searches on Google are location-related?
Although you cannot change your store’s location to improve your local rankings, you can help Google better understand your business’s relevance to a searchers’ needs. Investing in Local SEO will help you appear in the local 3-pack — a list of three businesses in a query above the list of pages and at the top of Google Maps. Steps you can take in optimizing your website for local searches are:
- adding your business to Google My Business
- producing local content
- embedding Google Map on your site
- adding your store to local directories
- optimizing your website.
Metrics to Better Your SEO Strategy
SEO improves your website for a better user experience and better online rankings. SEO is not a single step you take, and you won’t see its results overnight, but it’s essential to analyze its results by looking at the crucial SEO metrics.
Organic traffic is one of the most crucial metrics to analyze the results of your SEO strategy. It indicates how many users visit your website from organic – free search. Organic traffic shows the number of searchers that visit your site from search engines like Google. Because your primary goal with search engine optimization is to increase your website’s traffic, knowing how many users land on your pages from organic search will help you understand whether or not you are achieving your SEO goals. If organic traffic isn’t increasing even after taking different optimization steps, you may want to fine-tune your SEO strategy.
You can easily track organic traffic from common SEO tools such as Google Analytics.
Although your primary goal is to improve your website’s visibility and appear in relevant queries, it’s pointless to rank high if no visitors come to your site. CTS or clickthrough rate shows the percentage of searchers who click your site after seeing it in search results.
CTR helps you understand if your pages are grabbing searcher’s attention in relevant queries, and if your CTR is low, it indicates your title tags and meta descriptions need some edits. They are like movie titles that help you decide to watch or not to watch a film after reading a title. They provide a short description of what to expect, give the first impression on users, and are crucial elements in determining whether or not to visit a website.
While organic traffic and CTR are crucial and show if visitors are coming to your site, knowing how many interact with it is equally important. Bounce rate helps determine if visitors find your content helpful and if they interact with your website before going back to a search engine. When a bounce rate is high, you must look for an issue which can be anything from poor user experience to irrelevant content or unclear call-to-action.
We all love rewards, and when someone appreciates the effort you invest in your digital marketing strategy, you must feel stimulated to create even more relevant content. Backlinks are like votes in content marketing – other websites link to yours, telling search engines your content is valuable and relevant in a query. If backlinking is already in your marketing strategy, then knowing the number of backlinks to each page will help you understand if your efforts are working or if you need to tweak your content to get more backlinks.
One of the most obvious goals of your SEO strategy is to improve rankings for relevant keywords to increase traffic to your site. The easiest way to see if your SEO strategy brings desired outcomes is to look at keyword rankings. The simplest way to do so is to search for a keyword you are targeting and see where your page appears on Google. Alternatively, you can use tools like SEMrush to monitor your keyword rankings.
It’s no secret that your primary goal is to increase sales – that’s how you can sustain and grow your business. Even if you have a high CTR, many visitors, and many backlinks, if your conversion rates are low, you aren’t achieving the most crucial goal of your company – increasing sales and getting more leads through digital marketing. Knowing conversion rates will help you understand if your marketing methods are working for your store and if you need to adjust different elements on your site to improve user experience, customer support, or other aspects of your business.
Because user experience affects your rankings and conversions, Page Speed is crucial to understand if your site is user-friendly and if loading time negatively impacts your rankings. Google’s Page Speed Insights is a free tool you can use to determine the speed of your pages, the issues causing slow-loading times, and solutions to improve the website’s speed.
SEO is a long process that requires time and energy, but it provides long-lasting results. It will help build trustworthiness and increase your business’s reputation, all of which will increase your company’s revenue. We hope the information above will help you create a successful SEO strategy, reach more prospects online, and achieve your company’s goals.