This is a question that comes up a lot from small business owners who have heard about search engine optimization (SEO) but aren’t quite sure about its benefits.
The underlying goal of SEO is to appear on the first page of Google’s search results for a given query. Ideally, within the top 3 results. While it might seem somewhat arbitrary, having your website appear on the first page of search results is a huge advantage for your business. In fact, it’s absolutely essential if you want to attract quality organic traffic.
Just think – when was the last time you clicked through to page 2 or 3 of Google’s search results? I’m guessing very rarely.
Did you know that over 90% of people who use Google never leave the first page of search results?
What is SEO and why is it necessary?
SEO is the thorough process of fine-tuning your website and its content for search engines like Google. The goal is to help your business develop a presence in the online world by appearing more often in search engine results pages.
Content that has been optimized for search engines, or “SEO content” for the purposes of this article, is the creation of an effective piece of writing that directly answers a query entered into a search engine. For example, if someone is searching for “What does SEO do for a business”, you’d expect to see this post.
Ultimately, if you want people to visit your business website, engage with your content, and make a purchase, you need to get them to your site efficiently from Google. You’ll also need to make sure they stay there.
So let’s dive right in and take a look at why a good SEO strategy is crucial for your business’s online growth.
How does SEO work?
There are many ways to start tuning your website for SEO. A mixture of technical changes to improve your website and also re-writing content is typically used. To speed things up, I recommend hiring an SEO expert to set the correct foundation. An SEO freelancer, for instance, can do a lot of the heavy lifting to get you started.
There are 3 key areas that SEO focuses on – Technical SEO, On-page SEO, and Off-page SEO. Each plays a crucial role and should be performed by a skilled SEO freelancer.
Technical SEO – as the name implies, this looks at how your website is constructed at the code level. It ensures that the site is sending the correct signals to search engines. Google’s crawlers scan your site to try and understand what your business is all about. Try this free SEO scan to check your website for technical SEO issues.
On-page SEO – this focuses on the content of your website. This type of SEO looks at the words on every page, images, formatting, user experience, etc. It’s likely what you’ve heard the most about on YouTube and other resources.
Off-page SEO – this places a heavy focus on what’s happening on other websites where you’re mentioned. Think of off-page SEO as a way to strengthen your website’s authority in your field due to the number (and quality) of inbound links. The better your perceived authority on a topic, the higher your search engine ranking will be, and the more traffic you’ll get.
All of these aspects of SEO work together to ensure that your business ranks higher on search engines. It allows people to have a much easier time finding your business and converting into sales prospects.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what each area focuses on and what they do for your business:
Technical SEO Services
This is all about coding, so things can quickly get quite complicated. Technical SEO is my specialty and I’d be happy to do the heavy lifting for you.
So what does technical SEO do for a business?
Believe it or not, Google ranks web pages using their proprietary algorithms and website crawlers. These crawlers examine a website and determine the relevancy of the content.
If there is something wrong with a page, such as not being properly optimized for mobile devices, its rank on Google will suffer.
40% of all Google searches are done through a smartphone, and that number is only going to keep rising. If your website is not properly optimized, you’ll begin to notice a decline in traffic.
Similarly, If your website is not secured using SSL / HTTPS, your site will be penalized and your traffic and conversion rates will suffer a big drop. This is another good reason you need technical SEO to help your business.
Technical SEO identifies and fixes these (and many other) issues so that your business has the best chance of ranking well on search engines.
On-page SEO, or content SEO, is crucial for your business because it essentially creates doorways to your website based on specific keywords or phrases people are searching for. Google will try to interpret the person’s search term and provide results for what it believes to be the most relevant web pages. Your business definitely needs to be on that list!
Any good web article writer knows that the content needs to be based on more than just keywords. It should also keep readers engaged. Let’s take a look at how content SEO can help your business.
So what does On-page SEO do for a business?
You want potential customers to be able to find your website, right? This means that your content needs to stand out. It needs to be written in such a way to lead them from Google straight to your page (and not your competitor!).
Think about it.
There could be hundreds of web pages just like yours out there. All of them can be structured in a similar way, but how will you make sure that people reach yours?
Content SEO is designed to utilize multiple writing techniques to help ensure that people who enter appropriate search words into Google discover and click on your web page as quickly as possible.
Clever content SEO will help your page standout from the crowd. Furthermore, did you know that most people will leave your page if their questions aren’t answered almost right away?
The average time it takes for a reader to decide to stay on your site is about 3 seconds.
If they like your content, on average they’ll spend about 2 minutes checking it out. So, you have about 2 minutes to properly engage, answer questions, and convince website visitors to become customers. Performing proper content SEO can be a useful and effective tool to ensure your website is ‘sticky’.
The main purpose of off-page SEO is to help your website build authority and reputation. This is done my seeking links to your website from other reputable destinations. These are called backlinks.
Reputation is actually one of the signals that Google uses to rank your site amongst others in your industry. An example of a high authority website would be an industry leader, educational institution, government department, popular news outlet, etc. Having backlinks on these types of websites are ideal for building reputation, but can also be very difficult to obtain.
So what does off-page SEO do for a business?
Your business needs to have authority in the online world if you want it to succeed. This authority tends to be built using backlinks. Other signals of authority include online reviews and social media mentions, which can be easier to obtain than high-authority backlinks.
Getting reviews depends on the industry you’re in and the products and/or services that you sell. It also depends on whether your existing customers are willing to share their experience. Reviews can also backfire and harm your reputation if they are predominantly negative.
Did you know that 85% of people read reviews before they make a purchase regardless of your digital marketing? If your reviews are poor, your business will suffer.
Think of it this way.
If you have reviews averaging less than 4 stars, Google may use this information to drop your website further down the rankings. This is one reason why it’s crucial to perform off-page SEO correctly, knowing that you have a reasonable probability of success. You need to make sure that your business is held in high regard by other people. If it is, then this can be used to your advantage to lift traffic and your conversion rates.
There’s a lot of information here, but hopefully it provides some helpful guidance about what SEO can do for your business. At the end of the day, if you want your business to succeed online, you need to put these techniques into practice.
If you’re not well versed in SEO, or need a little help, please let me know and I’d be glad to help with your SEO strategy.
It’s not always about traffic, but when it comes to growing your business’s online presence, SEO should be your number one strategy. Not only can it help your business grow, but it can help keep your visitors remain engaged and increase your conversation rates.
Now that you know what SEO can do for a business, what steps will you take today to ensure your business ranks highly?