What is SEO?
It's 2020 and a frequent question we still receive is, what is SEO and how can it benefit me? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the term that applies to directing internet traffic to the desired website (yours) in the most organic and natural way possible.
This, however, does not accurately explain the big question: what is SEO?
Every major search engine — Google, Yahoo, Bing, to name a few — return search results that are based on what the respective search engine deems relevant to the user, based on what the user entered in as their search.
With that being said, it is a constant challenge for companies of all sizes to try and get their website to appear at or near the top of as many search results as possible.
This is especially true for smaller businesses, who are struggling to compete with larger, more established entities.
Let's delve a little deeper into the benefits of search engine optimization for companies.
- 1 What is SEO?
- 1.1 More of a User-Friendly Website
- 1.2 Attract New Customers
- 1.3 Increased Conversion Rates
- 1.4 Tap into New Markets
- 1.5 Develop Brand Awareness
- 1.6 Gain a Competitive Edge
- 1.7 Great SEO Answers the Questions That Prospective Buyers Ask Google
- 1.8 How to Find New Keywords for SEO Purposes
- 1.9 Landing Pages Boost Organic SEO
- 1.10 Manual Google SEO Penalty
- 1.11 What is SEO? Conclusion
More of a User-Friendly Website
The typical person prefers to access the information they are looking for in the most expedient manner possible. When your business improves its websites SEO, users are able to instantly (or at least more readily) access the information that they are searching for on your site.
This leads to a higher level of user satisfaction, and consequently a more user-friendly website.
Attract New Customers
81% of consumers will research a future purchase online before deciding to buy.
With that figure in mind, it is very obvious why you want your business to appear as close to the top of a prospective customer's web search as possible.
The more web traffic that visits your site, the more chances that you will consummate a sale.
Increased Conversion Rates
In addition to simply directing more web traffic to your company's website, improving your SEO can work in tandem with the conversion efforts found on your website.
This is accomplished in several different ways, primarily due to the following factors:
- SEO, by its very nature, strongly emphasizes using proper headings to ensure that the search engine bots function effectively. Your website being logical and organized usually aids in improving your onsite conversion rates.
- By focusing on high-quality content for SEO purposes (to land you links), this has the natural effect of assisting you with conversion optimization — and vice versa.
- The overlap between SEO and conversion rates is also evident when looking at the issue from the flip side. By focusing on your onsite conversion rates, this will make you keep things user-friendly and provide for better readability.
This will, in turn, help your SEO by affording you greater opportunities for receiving natural mentions, social shares, and referrals.
Tap into New Markets
By improving your company's SEO, it will have the natural effect of providing more visibility for your organization.
In addition, by further developing the SEO for your website, you can draw parallels using the SEO keywords that a typical person entering search terms may not think of on their own.
Develop Brand Awareness
Better SEO leads to higher search engine rankings. When a potential customer sees this, they invariably will view your business as a leader in your particular industry. This facet comes back again to visibility.
The more times your company's site appears in front of the person searching the internet, the higher the likelihood that this person will click on your website. In the process, this improves the awareness of your particular brand.
Gain a Competitive Edge
Any advantage that you can exercise over your competition makes it that much likelier that your enterprise will be a success.
Having your business appear on the first page of a search engine's results is one of, if not the most, important competitive edge that you can gain when referring to the online marketplace.
Great SEO Answers the Questions That Prospective Buyers Ask Google
Everyone knows that ranking first on page one of Google's search results is the pinnacle of excellent SEO practices. But did you also know that even the business in the number ten spot still has a shot at being noticed?
It is called the featured snippet or Rank Zero.
What is a Featured Snippet?
The internet user types in a brief question. Google returns results that answer it. In the process, it looks for content that organically provides the information. When the search engine finds a good fit on page one of its results, it presents the data in a box with an excerpt from the website and a link to it.
Structuring SEG with Snippet Potential There is no guarantee that Google selects your content for the snippet feature. But if your search engine optimization is on point, lands you on page one of the results, and answers a question your targeted audience tends to ask, you have a shot.
Putting together this type of content is possible with professional help.
Work with a specialist in the field who understands your target demographic and its online behavior.
From there, it is possible to put together targeted website content.
- Answer common questions. It should follow the ‘who, what, why, or where' format. Remember to keep the content flowing naturally rather than making it read like a scholarly textbook.
- Create Snippet-worthy features. Incorporate these answers into the website content at large. Use blogs, page content, and industry-specific features to your advantage.
- Incorporate details. Buffeted lists and subheadings are good options. Add visuals in the form of tables or photos.
To learn more about Rich Snippets, please take a look at this guide:
Rich Snippets: What are they and how to use them
How to Find New Keywords for SEO Purposes
We will outline a three-part strategy for finding new keywords that will attract good prospects.
You probably have a general sense of what keywords and phrases people look for to find a business like yours. Someone looking for a used and rare book dealer in Manhattan would use those search terms.
But, what if your product or service offerings aren't quite so obvious?
Take a Step Back
Take some time to reconsider your current choice of keywords. Are you sure those are the words a potential customer would use in a search?
Will a customer who uses those keywords find what they want on the site? Will that search term help produce a sale? The writers at ThriveHive advise you to do a search on your chosen terms.
If your terms cause banner ads to appear that's a good sign that the words convert well.
Assuming you did those suggested Google searches and noted the results, it might help to spend some time with Google keywords tools. You don't need an AdWords account, but having one opens up new possibilities.
Google Trends will help you test those keywords, to see if people are using them to find products or services often and whether the terms are gaining popularity or losing it.
Finding what keywords are trending, or at least remaining popular, is the goal here.
Find Long-Tail Keywords
Common search terms, like “Gatlinburg cabin” or ‘Phone apps” tend to dominated by big companies. Try to stand out in Web searches by adding one or two keywords.
These long tails are more likely to reach ready buyers who want whatever your site offers. Try ‘luxury Gatlinburg cabin rentals” or “iPhone gambling apps” instead.
If you review your choice of keywords, ask some questions about them, do a bit of research on Google, and identify a long-tail term or two you have made a good start on improving your site.
To get some expert help in finding and using keywords, contact us to see how we can help.
For a more in-depth understanding of keyword research, please check out our keyword research guide:
Beginner SEO Guide: How to Do Keyword Research
Landing Pages Boost Organic SEO
Most landing pages are not designed for organic SEO and do not rank well on search results pages. Many marketers believe they must sacrifice organic search to craft high-converting landing pages.
However, landing pages are ideal for driving keyword-targeted organic traffic to your website. This is an introduction to the why and how of building landing pages that boost organic SEO and convert.
The Ideal Number of Landing Pages
If you only have one or two landing pages, you are missing many opportunities to convert leads. So, the goal is to reach at least 40 landing pages.
Why More Landing Pages Are More Effective
The goal is to convert the broadest number of leads into customers. Fewer landing pages will require writing copy and a marketing message that is generalized.
However, when you build 40 or more landing pages, this provides an opportunity to personalize the messaging based on the lead's needs, wants, interests, values, and more.
This intent-driven content has a huge organic SEO benefit. Additionally, the more landing pages that you have indexed, the more likely that a searcher will directly reach a landing page.
Building Landing Pages for Organic SEO
Chances are that your ideal customers” consists of several unique subgroups. Therefore, you will want to transform each of these subgroups into a buyer persona.
This is your best source of information about customer wants, needs, values, and interests. With the insights discovered, you can craft landing pages dedicated to both specific keywords and searcher intent.
Consequently, your landing page will immediately connect with the original search query and grab the user's attention.
While traditionally, landing pages have focused solely on converting leads, with little attention to search engine optimization, keyword and intent targeting can provide a direct route for searchers.
Moreover, a personalized message based on user intent will convert more leads.
To learn more about how to build landing pages and the landing page software we use, please check out:
Ontraport Review: Pricing, Features, and More
Manual Google SEO Penalty
If you are a small business owner with a website, then the last thing you want is a notice from Google saying that your site has received a manual SEO penalty. This kind of penalty is not related to broad algorithm changes like Panda or Penguin.
It is directed at your site for some particular reason and means that you have violated Google's webmaster guidelines. As a result, the search giant has demoted your site in the rankings or removed it from the search index altogether.
While this can be devastating for a small organization that depends on the leads generated by its website, it is possible to recover from a manual penalty. Sites receive penalties for a number of reasons, including thin content, cloaked content, sneaky redirects, unnatural linking schemes and more.
Google will let you know the reason for the penalty and give you a chance to fix the problem. You can then ask for a review.
For a full understanding of the Google Updates, take a look at:
Must-Know Google Updates
The review, though, is no guarantee that your site will regain its lost search rankings. Some sites ask for the review and fail. According to Google's John Mueller, there are two reasons for this.
Not Enough Perspective
One reason sites fail is because is the webmaster does not have enough objective perspective to clearly see the problem the way Google does. What seems like a small issue to you might seem glaring to Google.
Mueller suggests getting other webmasters to take a look at your site to give you an honest evaluation. The Google help forum, private webmaster forums, and Facebook groups are places to look for help.
Problem Not Completely Resolved
Second, sites fail the review because the webmaster does not completely fix the problem. According to Mueller, the issue that Google points out must be completely resolved across the entire site.
In other words, a half-hearted attempt is not good enough. You have to go through the entire site page by page to ensure that everything is up to snuff.
So although a Google manual penalty can strike fear in the heart of any business owner, it does not have to be the end of the world.
An unbiased look by an outsider and a thorough revamping to fix the issues will get your site in tip-top shape for the review. With luck, your website will soon be back in Google's good graces and ranking in the SERPs just like before.
What is SEO? Conclusion
In summary, search engine optimization is the process of organically directing Internet traffic to your company's website. This is accomplished by the strategic use of keywords on your site.
By keeping your SEO at the highest, most productive level possible, you will effectively provide your organization with the advantages it needs to succeed and flourish in the highly competitive digital marketplace.
For more information on what is SEO, to hire Marketing by Kevin, or for questions please contact us.