How can your business get noticed when potential customers are searching the web? By optimizing for search traffic, you can connect with your target audience and attract them to your website, products, and services.
With hundreds of millions of websites, how can your business get noticed when potential customers are searching? Your website is relevant. You invest in advertising, have excellent customer service, and are committed to quality. Yet, it still feels like you’re playing “Marco Polo” with your clients as they swim the sea of Google search results. What can you do to ensure they find you when they look for companies like yours?
By optimizing for search traffic, you can connect with your target audience and attract them to your website, products, and services. Here are a few foundational strategies business owners must understand about search engine optimization (SEO) to get found by potential customers.
If you want organic traffic to your website, you must pay attention to the search engines. How? Create content that does a great job answering searchers' questions. The search engines do three things to identify pages that do a good job answering search queries:
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic (unpaid) search results. A successful SEO strategy will increase your website’s rank for relevant keywords, drive more traffic to your website (for free!), and increase leads, sales, and revenue!
Whether they ask "what is the meaning of life" or "where is the nearest place to get a good burger,” all around the world, people are constantly searching for answers. In fact, Google processes almost 6 BILLION searches per day.
Search engines scan hundreds of billions of web pages to find the best answer for each of those searches, and you want to be ready when your business is the best answer.
It sounds complex, but the good news is that the search engine does all the heavy lifting once you lay the foundation.
While advertising, social media campaigns, and other paid strategies can bring in curious customers and qualified leads, most online traffic is driven organically by search engines. An SEO strategy can garner more than 20x more traffic than a typical pay-per-click advertising campaign.
And organic traffic is the gift that keeps on giving! Paid advertising campaigns stop producing when you stop spending, but organic traffic can continue indefinitely. The stream of traffic to your website will keep on growing.
Now that we have shown how the search engines work and why they matter, let's look at strategies to help your business get more business and leads through organic search.
The first step involves learning a new language, your customer's language.
Keyword research might sound complicated, but it's easier than you might think. It involves finding and analyzing the terms potential customers use on search engines when searching for businesses like yours. Keyword research isn't some nerdy, technical pursuit SEO companies concocted to make money. It is an exercise in empathy. All companies suffer from "the curse of knowledge" at some point. We use terminology and phrases that are different from the terminology and phrases our clients use when describing the exact same thing.
To drive website traffic, curate content, and develop a marketing strategy, you must understand the language your clients speak.
Keyword research is quite simply an investigative process that determines:
It is easier to communicate with your target audience when you understand what they are looking for and how they are looking. Keyword research is a core SEO task that delivers real ROI. It can be your KEY to success!
Keyword research isn’t just about a string of words typed into a search engine but about understanding what the searcher is trying to accomplish.
When you use keyword research to find out what your potential customers are searching for, you get an inside look into how they think and can strategically align your content and offerings to meet their needs.
How do you start? Ask yourself these questions:
Not sure about the answers? Ask your salespeople! They are an excellent resource for what your customers care about and want to know.
Now it’s time to start your search. Your Google search bar is a great (and free!) place to start. When you search your term, you can scroll to the bottom to see popular related searches. Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool is also valuable and gives you ten free searches a month.
There’s a lot more to say about keyword research. We could even write a whole blog about it. Oh wait, we did that. Take a break from SEO 101 to read more about how to make the most out of your keyword research here.
Now that you have done a little research to get ideas for key phrases, topics, and questions, it is time to engage the most powerful SEO tool the universe has ever seen: your keyboard. Create some content. Seriously, it's that simple. Start writing.
Before we look at more specific SEO tips for your content, there is one critical principle we need to highlight.
Web pages rank in search results, not websites.
That is a little bit of an oversimplification, but it is vitally important to keep in mind. Define your SEO goals for EACH PAGE. Your home and about pages should represent a broad overview of everything you do, but your site needs pages dedicated to individual products and services, so you have a space to optimize around terms specific to that area. This yields good results in SEO, and it also provides a better experience for visitors to your site.
There are two primary places on most websites where you can create content optimized for the search engines: product/service pages & your blog.
Most product and service pages do a great job describing a solution, but they don't incorporate the customer's perspective. How can you use the key phrases, topics, and questions from your keyword research to provide context for specifications and features? Look for opportunities to present your solution within the context of the problem, challenge, or opportunity they solve.
A blog provides a great place to explore topics and questions that don't fit neatly on a product or service page. The most challenging part of blogging is coming up with topics, but you've already done that! Keyword research is just a glorified strategy for coming up with blog topics. Take a look at the list of questions in our example. Each of those could become a blog post.
Successful blogging starts with a content calendar. Set a goal of creating at least one blog post per month (more if you have the time), and schedule your topics over the next six months.
Business owners should know that any SEO professionals reading this post are a little freaked out right now. They are holding their head in their hands as they exclaim things like, "you completely skipped this!" and "you oversimplified that!"
And they are correct. There is so much more to SEO. There is so much more to SEO. There are software tools, technical solutions, and hard decisions that require deep expertise. If that weren't true, agencies like ours wouldn't exist.
But while competitive terms require professional strategies, 80% of the ROI is in the strategy outlined in this post. And the professional strategies SEO professionals would like to sell you don't have any hope of success without this strategy. You have everything needed to get more exposure, leads, and sales for your business through the search engines without paying for professional SEO help.
Except for one thing. Time.
You have a business to run, and even if the strategies described in this post seem simple, they might feel overwhelming from a time perspective.
If you do feel overwhelmed, we are happy to help! We can implement a plan like the one described in this post, and we can also use our pro tools to optimize more aggressively for highly competitive terms. If you want to learn more about how we can work together to generate traffic, leads, and sales, just schedule a consultation.
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