Successful SEO for business takes a level of aptitude in how search engines work. Since organic search is one-third of the website traffic you would get on your website, it is critical to practice SEO and get it right.
Any SEO analyst will tell you that SEO helps business owners boost their business. There are many ways to grow your small business this 2020 despite the pandemic that has dramatically upended our lives. As more entrepreneurs are doing business online to adapt to social distancing measures, SEO comes into the forefront. It can help both startups and established businesses to stay connected with their niche, grow their business, and even broaden brand awareness during a global crisis.
If you are a business owner wanting to create a user-friendly, quality website that makes it big on SERP rankings, then you need to know what is SEO and what are the different SEO strategies you can use for your business’ success.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimisation, known simply as SEO, is the practice of growing the quantity and quality of website traffic through organic (unpaid traffic) search engine results.
There are 200 and more algorithm factors that SERP search for. The following image from Moz, an authority in SEO, shows how these are ranked according to importance:
These factors involve the “Search Engine” side of SEO. The optimisation is the application part of the SEO process where these factors are taken into consideration with every content released. The purpose is for Search Engines to be able to index your page and rank it based on these factors.
It is crucial then to build an SEO-friendly website. Of course, you will be creating content for people, first and foremost. The content should solve a problem, meet a need, or respond to people’s latest search intent. But alongside writing for people, you need to ensure that whatever you are writing is searchable and “understandable” by search engine bots as well.
The elaborate and harmonious blending of the creative with the technical side of content creation is what Search Engine Optimization is about.
7 Types of SEO for Businesses
Since 70% to 80% of users ignore PPC campaigns or paid ads, all the more that businesses need to master SEO to get those crucial organic results. Email marketing and social media marketing are also good, but unless you can get people to click through your site, SERP bots cannot count it as organic reach.
Those who visit your website from Google are also the ones who will likely convert to subscribers and customers. It would be best if you targeted them and invest your efforts on how you can get discovered by them so you can connect, communicate, and eventually convert these prospects into viable leads.
Here are 7 types of SEO you can focus on to grow your business’ organic search rating:
Outrank with Long-Tail Keywords to Get Quality Leads
Regardless of whether you are an expert or a newbie in digital marketing, keywords are crucial to an improved SEO strategy. And since long-tail keywords impact SERP rankings on a long-term basis, it is best to learn how to optimise them.
When it comes to keywords, you can get ahead with long-tail keywords. It targets less competitive keywords, found to be at 70% of all search intent. You can check for long-term keywords in Google Keyword Planner.
Competing for the top 100 keywords (at 18.5% of search topics) can be hard. You would need many backlinks and spend a lot in paid or PPC campaigns.
If you compete at the long tail, you will begin to find high-value visitors that are close to making a purchase. More conversions happen with long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords can make your niche product or blog much more profitable because precise searches are more likely to get sales conversions.
Create a Mobile-Friendly Website
A Pew Internet survey from 2015 revealed that 86% of adults between the ages of 18 to 29 years old prefer using smartphones over desktops or tablets. 90% sleep right beside their phone and 30% use four devices in a day. Currently, 5.19 billion people are using mobile phones. That is 67% penetration in the global population.
It is why search engines prioritise content that is mobile friendly and mobile responsive.
Mobile-friendly websites can automatically resize itself to adapt to the device it is being viewed on. Mobile-friendly content does not get distorted from device to device. It does not require to be zoomed in or scrolled horizontally to be viewed or read.
A mobile-responsive website provides the comfort of navigation and the best possible user experience. Although it takes more than mobile responsiveness to make good SEO, it is a good start towards ensuring your customers have the best possible experience on your page. It is crucial in making sure your site appears excellent, and your brand trustworthy.
Other factors boost SEO, like high-quality content, friendly customer support, peer-reviews, consistent follow-up, and customer feedback. However, those things will not be usable if a visitor drops out from your website because it was not mobile-friendly.
Produce High-Quality Content
In real life, overstaying visitors are annoying. But on your website, overstaying visitors boost SEO. Search engine bots would consider your site useful to readers if their dwell time is substantial while browsing through your site.
It is not just an appealing web design that attracts, keeps, and converts visitors. The very reason why they got there in the first place is that they were in search of content that can be useful to them.
Great content makes visitors dwell on your site because they find something of value to them. It is essential to improve the dwell time because it boosts SEO.
Long-form content is preferred by Google and other search engines, which is about 2,000 to 2,500 words. Long-form articles garner longer dwell time and therefore rank higher on SERP.
High-quality content is not all about words and keywords. You are not writing for search engine bots but people. You want people to read your article because it can help them. It is longer in format (more than 2000 words) because you have provided more useful information, keywords, and outbound links. In doing so, you have made your article more meaningful and valuable.
If your content is valuable, it will often get bookmarked, and readers will return to your content repeatedly. Google takes note of all that activity around your content, and as you hit these factors regularly, your content registers as high-quality, which improves SEO ranking.
Your target niche also needs to be able to identify you from other brands. Your brand identity needs to be clear, so users will know exactly why they are choosing your content over the others. When you identify your edge and focus on promoting that uniqueness, high-quality content helps your brand or business stand out from the rest.
You can post stories in your social media accounts, behind-the-scenes snippets on your website, or feature members of your team through stories. Use different kinds of content apart from text too.
You can add photos, videos, infographics, surveys or polls, and other relevant ways to deliver your message. You will find a lot of video editing software for beginners out there that you can choose from to produce your videos, which you can film excellently using the latest mobile phones. It increases engagements on your site and social media accounts as well.
A good website content strategy will help you extend life and diversify the content to be used not just on your website, but on different platforms as well. A dynamic like this makes your brand stand out.
In a nutshell,
- High-quality content brings higher SEO value.
- High-quality content provides greater value for visitors.
- High-quality content gives your content a longer life span
- High-quality content results in higher social engagements.
- High-quality content increases sales.
- High-quality content improves the user experience.
- High-quality content leads to better product differentiation
So, make it part of your SEO strategy to always aim for high-quality content, regardless of whether your content is in long-form or short-form, and irrespective of what platform you are publishing or posting content to. If your focus is just sales, you will write for sales. If your focus is just to rank high on SERPs, then you will write for SERPs. But what keeps you ranking well, and gaining domain authority is writing for people, serving people. Connect well with your target market, communicate well with high-quality content, and see those conversion rates and SEO ranking go up naturally.
Optimise Content Marketing for SEO
“Content marketing is the only marketing left,” according to the godfather of modern marketing, Seth Godin. Without great content, all marketing strategies are going to waste.
But how do we know if we are doing good content marketing or not? It is through SEO.
SEO gives credit to good content marketing strategies by recognising the best practices that make it work, refining goals for content creators and, ensuring that any content released is relevant and of high value. You cannot disconnect SEO from content marketing and vice-versa.
Content marketing delivers what SEO needs. It uses keywords and linkbacks that SEO looks for. Content marketing also improves the quality of your website through the internal links that are also required for good SEO.
Content marketing also optimises and aims to improve designs for both UI (User Interface or Design) and the UX (User Experience). UI/UX design uses SEO components like robots.txt, metadata, strategic sitemap, and proper tags to give users the best possible experience on a website. These may be SEO components, but the end goal is to lead users to quality content.
Boosting SEO through content marketing also means publishing fresh content regularly. Content marketing is a long-term commitment you make to produce, regularly, content that is valuable and relevant to your readers. It keeps index ratings and SERP rankings increasing.
Without good content marketing, all SEO strategies will not succeed in a marketing campaign. Without good SEO strategies, content marketing will not be able to deliver what the market truly needs. When the two are used strategically, it brings success to your brand and grows your website.
Optimising Metadata with Actionable Keywords
A survey by Ignite Visibility reveals that meta descriptions (62.9%), brand name (24.2%), and page title (13%), are three of the most important reasons why Click-Through Rate (CTR) increases for a website.
CTR is the ratio of visitors that click on your website, coming from those who browse on SERP.
Meta description, on the other hand, is an element in a web page’s HTML code that gives a brief description of what your content is about. Google and other search engines use it to display a web page in search results:
Well-written metatags or meta descriptions boost your CTR and strengthen brand awareness. When meta descriptions are optimised for audiences, you get more clicks.
Meta tags serve like free advertisement on SERP, making sure that you insert main keywords for your targeted “search intent,” or what your target market is looking for on search engines. Users usually skim through SERP results. If your meta description contains their search intent, the probability is high that they will click through your website.
The higher your website’s CTR goes, your page’s rankings and domain authority for your brand also increase. It is why you need to integrate meta tags or meta descriptions to your SEO strategies.
Meta descriptions can even be included in a larger rich snippet plan. SERP displays more than the title, slug, and description. Other tags or schema, like rich snippets, can make meta tags more CTR-friendly. Rich snippets can have links, icons, images, reviews, ratings, and the like:
Here are steps you can follow to write those CTR-friendly Meta Tags:
- Use your primary keyword, sparingly. Avoid keyword stuffing.
- Position your keywords near the front of the title.
- Write for readers, not search engines.
- Indicate benefits and value.
- Include your brand name when relevant.
- Write in about 50 to 60 characters.
- Write unique page titles for each page.
As people continue to have advertisement-fatigue, it is a smart move to optimise meta tags for subtle and tasteful promotion of your website. Make meta tags a standard, then, of your SEO strategies.
Video Content Boosts SEO
Videos have a significant spot in digital marketing today. If businesses want to increase their SEO, they must consider integrating video production to their content creation.
There is such a demand these days for video content, proven by the fact that every time your content has the quality video in it, your audience engagements also increase in quality and quantity. It is something that SEO aims for.
Content creators now use video SEO to drive website traffic further, boost conversion rates, and outrank the competition. Using video content is a high-performing SEO plan.
According to Oberlo, 54% of consumers like more video content from brands they follow.
Video content is essential in SEO because it is more likely to generate social signals. The potential for your website to go viral increases with video content. Videos are just easy to consume, impactful, and more engaging than traditional content.
Beyond the increased engagements, videos reinforce SEO keywords through video transcripts, titles, descriptions, and even video captions. Your website’s Core SEO KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) also increase.
YouTube, the most popular video-sharing site, has millions of followers worldwide. Vimeo.com is also a fast-growing video-sharing platform with 130 million monthly visitors, while Dailymotion comes close with 100 million visitors. Twitch welcomes 100 million monthly visitors, usually gamers who stream or broadcast their gameplay.
When you embed videos from these sites on your website, when those videos become viral, your conversion rates also increase. You can also produce your video content, post it on a social video-sharing platform, and embed it on your website.
You can create content like peer reviews or testimonials from consumers, product features, even behind-the-scenes in your office—which shows a human side to your website that can only be best described through video.
If you do not have a dedicated video production team, there are several video editing software that can help you edit your videos like a pro. Use the power of video to influence to good use through winning content that boosts SEO rankings.
Website Security Makes or Breaks Your SEO Ranking
Google has more than 200 ranking factors in determining SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings, and your website’s security settings are included. In fact, site security is the top highest priority.
SEO optimisation of your website then will never be complete if your site is a security risk. Cybersecurity and SEO must go together to boost SEO rankings.
If your site is not secure, you can incur penalties from search engines like Google, Firefox, and Bing. They are extremely strict, like when they find a 503 or 404 error on your webpage. Immediate sanctions can be given to a site in question.
Search engines also meticulously examine if websites carry malware, phishing attacks, and malicious software. Your ranking gets affected immediately the moment Google detects DDoS attacks, ransomware, and other hacks and attacks.
When your site is penalised, people searching or clicking through your site will find a 404 page. It results in lost leads and decreased revenues.
GoDaddy’s security report shows that 90% of malicious or spam websites are left unflagged. It is what cyber attackers take advantage of.
It is why you need to use an SSL certificate for your site. If your website does not have an SSL certificate, sensitive data are left unencrypted, leaving them open for data breach and theft.
Malicious bots, or bad bots, also hinder bots or crawlers from search engines that crawl your site and index your site for SERP ranking. These bad bots can also scrape and duplicate your content and publish it elsewhere. Before you know it, your original content is some other website’s original content, and search engines now consider yours as the counterfeit or plagiarised version. It is unfair because it is what malicious bots do. Malicious bots account for 29% of all website visits.
Act on Google alerts and notifications at once. Ignoring them will aggravate your website issues. Confirm the sent notice by registering your site in the Google Search Console. You can also proceed to Security Issues and look for the hacked URLs identified by Google.
Conduct regular security audits on your site. You can get an external web security professional if you do not have your own IT personnel. You can also use paid sources like WebsitePulse and SiteLock that send security alerts and notifications at the slightest instance of suspicious website activity.
Taking your website security to another level will also bring your SEO to the next level. Manage your local security is an SEO strategy. Be updated with the latest trends and threats in cybersecurity, employ several layers of protection, to keep your website secured and SEO-friendly.
Conclusion: Prioritise People’s Needs in Every SEO Strategy
Remember that you did not create your website for the rankings or robots, but the people in your niche. Write to them, not the search engines. Have their needs foremost in your mind as you create content.
Create content that genuinely helps people, adds value to their lives, and answers their search queries. There are more SEO strategies you can use, like keywords, email marketing, on-page and off-page SEO, and the like. It is good to mix and match different strategies, so you are not stuck with the same SEO tools. Stay dynamic, stay relevant, stay needful. Prioritise people’s need in every SEO strategy.
Mayleen Meñez worked for seven years in TV and Radio production, and also as a Graphic Artist/Editor. Finding her true passion, she devoted 15 years in NGO and community development work, where she experienced being a coordinator and teacher, traveling both in the Philippines and countries in Asia. She homeschools her three kids and reinvents Filipino dishes in her spare time. Writing has always been a hobby and pursuit, and she recently added content writing with Softvire Australia and Softvire New Zealand up her sleeve, while preparing for her next adventure in the nations.