Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the primary organic method of bringing traffic to your website. To be on top of the search results brings an instant stamp of approval from users or customers. But is page one truly something to covet, or is SEO a real results-driven digital marketing tactic?
The answer is, yes. Businesses feel the impact of a strategic SEO campaign through a variety of improvements, from an increase in sales to brand recognition and awareness to customer retention and loyalty. SEO is proving to be a trend that continues to evolve and effectively compliments paid digital marketing efforts.
Common Misconceptions About SEO
In order to take a bite out of the SEO elephant, it’s important to note the common misconceptions that businesses have about search engine optimization. Before your business can benefit from a successful strategy, you should understand what SEO is and is not. Here are some general rules of thumb to live by when adopting a new SEO strategy to boost your website’s performance and overall sales goals:
- SEO is not immediate. One of the most common misconceptions about SEO is that an analyst can turn on a switch and open the traffic floodgates, immediately propelling your business to the top of page one. While position zero or position 1 is the goal of any SEO strategy, it is not an immediate result.
- SEO isn’t the end-all-be-all. While an SEO strategy can be essential to obtaining a competitive edge in the digital space, there is more to it than meets the eye. It’s important to keep in mind things like market saturation that may result in more labor-intensive efforts than your marketing budget is capable of supplementing. If you’re late to the game, it’s difficult to earn floor seats. This is where paid marketing can help. SEO is a great way to prime your website for paid advertising.
- SEO isn’t a magic wand. Businesses who succeed when investing in SEO do so while continuing to take into account internal operations. Internal business goals support a healthy marketing strategy. When coupled with an increase in website traffic, user engagement, and a superior business model, sales are naturally increased. On the contrary, an inferior business model will hinder growth exponentially. For example, Carole’s Critters ships homemade treats to customers for free once they spend over $50, while Paul’s Pet shop doesn’t ship and has no similar customer reward program. Where are you likely to shop?
On-Page, Off-Page, and Technical SEO
In the process of planning and implementing a successful search engine optimization strategy, there are several factors to consider. The foundation of a good SEO strategy starts with recognizing the on-page, off-page, and technical elements that require improvement on a website. On-page optimization refers to the elements on your website that can be enhanced to improve your rankings. For example, this can include:
- Improving metadata
- Adding strategic keyword content
- Adding images and video
- Navigation changes
- Enhancing the internal linking structure
- Improving site speed
- Cleaning up HTML code
Off-page optimization refers to the off-site user-accessible profiles associated with your business. For example, this can include:
- Social Media Profiles like Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram
- Google My Business, Bing, or Yelp Listings
- YouTube or video broadcasting services
- Reputation management or responding to customer comments and reviews
- Link Building or digital public relations
Technical SEO refers to website or server optimizations that enable search engine spiders to crawl your site. Sounds freaky, doesn’t it? A crawler or “spider” is simply the term used to describe the process of indexing or crawling your website’s code for it to be displayed in the search results. Your website must be indexable in order to appear. Types of technical SEO include:
- Using SSL certificates that keep your customer information sensitive
- Having a mobile-friendly “responsive” layout
- Creating an XML sitemap
- Product Optimization
The last two examples help translate to the search engine what is on your site and how it should be crawled. Sometimes, poor internal linking hinders the search engine from indexing the URLs or pages you need to be crawled on your site, so a sitemap points its spiders or bots to the hidden treasure. If built correctly, your site already contains HTML code that the search engine’s bots can read, display, and rank over time; however, optimizing product pages can help users find your e-commerce site much quicker.
What Makes a Good SEO Strategy?
A combination of the above-mentioned elements is how great SEO strategies are built. Today, it’s true that almost all SEO is mobile SEO. On average, users spend around 10 minutes in Google Search and 6 hours browsing the rest of the internet. Mobile device usage has skyrocketed over the years, and as a result, 4 out of those 6 hours per day are spent scrolling social media platforms.
Knowing this, search engine optimization strategists touch on each “touchpoint” in the customer journey. Depending on things like your website’s health, current online presence, and online market saturation, an SEO strategy might address all or most of the following items:
- Localized Search Optimization – Ensuring your listings like Google My Business, Apple Maps, and Bing are optimized including correct phone number, address, business description, and more. Localized listings are one of the primary touchpoints in a customer’s buying journey.
- Localized Metadata – Optimizing your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and URL structure will allow you to rank locally quicker than any of the below-mentioned methods. It tells the search engine the “who, what, when, where, why” of your website.
- Domain Authority – Generally, the newer the site, the less authority it has. There are ways to improve domain authority including healthy backlinking, using blog content or social media channels to send more traffic to the site, and redirecting any previous versions of your website to the newer URL.
- Content Development Strategy – Content is the voice of your brand. It tells your customers (and the search engine) everything they need to know along their shopping journey. Adding strategic content including optimized headers adds keyword volume and increases your chances of ranking well against your competitors. It also helps in reducing bounce rate as your customers don’t need to leave the site to seek information.
- Mobile-Friendly Formatting – A mobile-friendly website is critical to a customer’s experience with your brand and ability to convert. Without proper formatting, your SEO efforts are futile.
- Core Web Vitals – Google’s recently released metric relates to the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of your site. Slow-loading pop-ups, images, or videos, or sections of your site that are difficult to click through to fall into this category.
- Influencer Branding – Influencers can act as your social “listeners” and help build a diverse linking profile by creating unique content about your brand. This results in increased audience reach and engagement.
- Social Platforms and Email Communications – Knowing which social platforms to use and how to promote your content is critical to encouraging your audience back to your website. Would you post a giveaway on your LinkedIn Business page or write a Tweet the size of an email campaign? Your audience is unique with specific preferences on how they consume media, so your social outreach should be strategic.
- Visual or Multi-Purpose Content – One of the most impactful mediums today is video. Nothing captures a message like quick, meaningful content that evokes emotion or a call to action. Not only do users prefer visuals like video, but do so search engines. Google’s algorithm is increasingly favoring images, infographics, and video as a ranking factor. If these creative content pieces can be made into multi-purpose content like press releases, blogs, podcasts, or email-blasts, this improves brand awareness and can help funnel quality leads to your website.
- Product Optimization – While the above-mentioned elements work together to improve your website’s positioning, optimizing your e-commerce website for search should mean prioritizing your product pages. This means applying schema, adding real reviews, or specific keywords and alt text that can help you receive “rich results” or snippets in search.
So, when you ask yourself, “why is my website not ranking?” take into account the above-mentioned strategies. Without addressing these issues, your website is bound to be buried in the competition on page two or beyond, but it doesn’t have to be.
Why Hire an SEO Expert?
The answer is simple. Search engine optimization drives more quality traffic to your site based on high-intent searches. Once your site is recognized on page one, interaction with your brand increases, and so can sales. Knowing the landscape of the buyer’s journey along with the algorithm that a search engine uses to rank it, is a strategists’ sole role. Search engine analysts don’t claim to be experts in business, only experts in getting customers to your website where business is increasingly occurring.
While it may seem like a costly investment, in comparison to the rest of your marketing budget, SEO is actually extremely affordable if done properly. Consider paid advertising for example. While paid ads insert your brand into the forefront of your customer’s minds while they are browsing the rest of the internet at their leisure, a search engine optimization strategy will provide a long-standing seat at the top well after your initial investment. Therefore, a good SEO analyst will provide a high return on your investment well after your contract has ended.
Improve Your Website Rankings with Data Street Marketing | SEO Specialist in Dothan, AL
Data Street Marketing is your premier SEO specialist in Dothan, AL. We take pride in our ability to strategically improve your website’s ability to rank well in search engines. It’s our job to understand your industry’s competitive online landscape and take into consideration the above-mentioned factors that contribute to improvements in attribution later down the road. A solid SEO strategy begins with a thorough audit of your website. This will inform us of any urgent actions needing to be made and where you will feel the most impact early on. For a free website audit, contact Data Street Marketing today!