In today’s world, search engines are the first place people turn to when looking to learn more information. Whether looking for the best place to grab a bite to eat or researching a product or service everyday, people turn to Google to help them weigh their options and make decisions.
That’s why understanding the basics of Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is necessary for anyone looking to drive inbound leads to their website. In this article we’re going to sum up the fundamentals of SEO and how it’s used to bring in more customers.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. In essence SEO ensures that when someone googles your product or service category, they can find you. SEO serves as a map to guide high-quality leads directly to your website. This strategy helps increase the value of your website and makes it one of the best lead generation tools available.
Every search engine’s goal is to solve the searcher’s query by providing a relevant valuable list of results. This builds credibility and keeps people coming back the next time they need help. Search engine results pages — often referred to as “SERPs” — are comprised of both advertising (how they make money) and organic results.
70-80% of search engine users are only focusing on the organic results.
SEO strategies focus on improving the visibility of organic search results by helping businesses rank higher in SERPs.
Everyone wants to get to the first page of Google and ultimately to the top of the page in the coveted number one position. Increased ranking results in more brand exposure, site traffic quantity and the quality of those visitors.
Some key components of SEO.
SEO isn’t just about the search engine, it’s also about people. Creating the opportunity to connect with more potential customers and serve them is best done by answering some important questions. What people are searching for online? What kind of questions they are asking? What words they using? What kind of content are they interested in?
Keywords help pair relevant content with searchers.
Whenever people talk about SEO the topic of keywords invariably arises. But what are keywords and why are they important?
Keywords are the words and phrases that businesses use to match their services and products to potential customers searching online. To get the desired result keywords must be thoroughly researched, carefully selected, and properly used in the content of your site.
Applying SEO best practices means pairing the right keywords with high-quality content. When looking for the right keywords to use in your content, find those with high search rates and low competition. Select some short-tail (like dessert), long-tail (like german chocolate cake) and local (bakeries in denver).
Content is the most valuable thing you have to offer new prospects.
To make the most of the opportunity new visitors represent, you must create and optimize content. This helps the search engines and searchers clearly see the value in what you offer. If you want to reach and engage potential customers it’s important your content is informative as well as intriguing, meaningful, and shareable. Some examples might include: social media posts, blogs, videos, whitepapers, infographics and web pages.
For example, say you owned a bakery and recently wrote a book about baking. You may want to promote your brand and connect with your audience to increase sales. Perhaps, you decide to publish a blog about baking or owning your own business.
Someone looking for tips on baking could search for relevant terms (keywords), find your blog (content), and start forming a relationship with your brand. Next time they are looking for a new recipe, your brand will come to mind and they may even purchase your new book.
SEO requires some investment but the rewards are plentiful. All the energy you spend creating thoughtful content and utilizing on-site optimizations improves the user experience of your site increasing the opportunity to convert new visitors to loyal customers.
Off-site SEO practices are important too!
Is your site trustworthy? Does it really have something valuable to offer? Google determines this by taking a look at how many links from external sites lead to your site.
Having more backlinks from reputable external sites tells search engines that your site is providing meaningful, high-quality content, and this boosts it’s authority. Authority is good.
The more authority your site has, the higher you will rank in SERPs putting your brand in front of more people looking for what you have to offer.
The practice of backlink building is an effective SEO strategy that involves securing quality backlinks to your site from other sites. An effective backlinking strategy should be well-planned and efficiently executed. Do your research and develop an approach that works for your business, industry and timeline.
Some tactics for backlinking include creating lots of infographics, mentioning influential brands or people in your content, and offering to write guest blog articles for larger companies.
Keep your eyes on the prize. You want to get links back to your site from high-quality sources AND increased visibility on the content you've spent valuable time and energy generating.
To sum up.
It’s simple. SEO is an inbound marketing strategy that boosts brand awareness, increases traffic, improves customer experience and conversions by helping leads find you.
With ever evolving tactics, technologies, user behaviors and search engine algorithms SEO can be challenging. Depending on your time, willingness to learn, and the intricacy of your site, you may want to execute SEO on your own or perhaps you’ll decide to hire an expert. There is no right or wrong way to go about it.
One thing is for certain, with an effective SEO lead gen strategy you’ll be well on your way to growing your bottom line. If you’re looking for ways to boost sales by up to 20% check out our article on nurturing leads and retaining customers.