Last month, Google implemented its June 2019 Core Update between June 3rd and June 8th. During that same period it implemented its site diversity update on June 6th. These events prompted a lot of discussion and speculation beforehand and the predictable hand-wringing and angst afterward. As usual, sites that lost traffic were trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. And as usual, they were getting advice from a variety of people who do SEO for a living and who had differing opinions about what to do. Google itself says there’s nothing to fix.
Google SEO updates are not new. In August 2018 there was the “medic” core update. In September 2016, there was a major Penguin update. Sometime between spring and fall of 2015, Google launched RankBrain, its “machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results”.
If you aren’t a Fortune 500 company with a large budget for search engine marketing, it’s tempting to look at all this, shrug your shoulders and assume there isn’t much you can do to protect your site, much less achieve visibility in the search results. But that’s false. Companies of all sizes should understand what SEO is, what it’s not, why it needs to be done, what basics have to be addressed, and how they can be successful in their niche.
This article will make the case for why SEO is important for your business. Then it will give you the information you need to use your limited resources wisely.
What SEO Is And Is Not
Search engine optimization is “the science and art of increasing traffic to a website by helping it rank higher in organic search engine results”. It includes all the on-site and off-site tasks that influence rankings for your targeted keywords. Search engine optimization is not just content, just links, or just a lightning fast website. Furthermore, rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
Your website’s most important job is to get you customers. People want and need to find information on the internet. They want answers to their questions. They want to remove the rock in their shoe. But most of all, they want to take care of business.
- For any given question, there are a few websites that will answer it better than all other websites.
- For any besetting problem, there are a few websites that will solve it better than all other websites.
- For any given task or goal, there are a few websites that will meet the individual need perfectly.
If your website answers your potential customers questions better, solves their problems faster, and helps them achieve more of their goals, you will begin to rank for their queries, assuming you also have links and a well-built website.
Why Is SEO Important?
SEO is important to your business for the following reasons.
- It is relatively inexpensive compared to other forms of marketing and holds its value for a long time, which gives you a good return on investment. It requires some patience since the results aren’t immediate. You should see measurable progress within six months to a year if you don’t give up.
- SEO drives qualified traffic to your website. You want to find people who are searching for your products or services. Traffic from organic search converts well because of user intent. Broadly speaking, user intent falls into three categories: navigational, informational, and transactional. The informational and transactional searches are the ones that build your business. 88% of customers engage in online research (search for information) prior to purchase. Write and optimize content that answers their questions better than your competitors and you can secure their business. Transactional searches contain words and phrases that indicate a desire to complete some type of transaction. Words like “buy” and “price”, and phrases that include brand names or model numbers are indicators of readiness to purchase. Therefore, figure out the user’s intent and match it with the very best results possible time after time after time and you win. SEO helps you do that.
- Your competition is almost certainly employing some SEO tactics and they are probably not doing it as well as it can be done. You don’t want to concede your internet territory to them without a fight. If you are on page two you might as well not exist. Employing the best SEO tactics can get you on the short list of viewable results. Once you’ve earned the click, all you need to do is convince your visitor that your product or service is better than your competitor’s.
- SEO can help you rank higher in local searches. There are several tactics you need to employ in order for this to happen, such as claiming your listing on Google My Business and adding local schema to your webpages, but once you do, you have a good chance of ranking higher than your local competitors who haven’t done the same thing.
Addressing The Basics
When you hire someone to provide professional SEO services, there are some basics that they’ll want to address immediately. They will audit your site for content and basic technical features such as site speed and page load time. Then you’ll want to have a conversation about your site’s primary theme and the keywords that qualified visitors are likely to enter into the search engines. After that, they will look at your website for content gaps and pages with thin content and make recommendations for adding and upgrading pages. Recommendations for content length and additions — such as video — that improve dwell time should be a part of this analysis.
They will also advise you about on-page SEO and ensure that you’ve covered all your bases such as meta tags, internal and external links, sub-headings and skimming tools such as bullets and bolded words. They will understand how psychology affects clicks. For example, they might encourage you to place the keyword in the title tag, description tag, and URL because people subconsciously react when they see their exact search term in several places. Finally, they will work with you to develop a strategy for attracting links from other websites. If the company you are considering doesn’t have a plan to address each of these items, keep looking.
Finding Success With SEO
Nobody knows your business better than you do. When you combine that expertise with legitimately proper SEO tactics, you will be successful in your niche. You need to have an intimate understanding of the following things:
- Who is your ideal customer? What are her characteristics, needs, and desires?
- What is this person searching for? What problems keep him awake at night?
- Where is she when she searches for information. Is she in an office? At home? In transit and likely on her phone?
- What time of day are most of your customers active online?
- What are their goals, intentions, and motivations?
The successful internet journey begins with desire, focuses on findability, provides the best answer, and culminates in the trust that is crucial to a long-term business relationship. In order to facilitate this journey, you must understand your ideal customer’s context (mental model and the conditions of the search) and address their specific problem to win the click. If your total package (copy, SERP appearance, invitation to click, valuable content) “gets inside their head” you can gain their trust and potentially also a new customer.
At Concept Envy, we provide professional SEO services to companies that want to establish their brand as an authority and attract more qualified traffic to their websites. Contact us today to discuss your unique needs.