The world of online marketing is ever-changing. Just a few years back, marketing on the web mostly meant putting up a simple web page with some text and a few images supporting the brand identity. It was pretty much just like marketing in the real world — you put up a stall, shout about your product, and wait for the customers to come to you.
Thankfully, the times, they are a-changing. Just as the industry itself evolves, so too does the way marketing on the web is carried out. Platforms like Google Analytics and Hootsuite make it easy to track the success of any online marketing campaign, allowing marketers to get instant feedback on their efforts. That feedback can then be used to refine future campaigns.
The growth of digital marketing means more people are relying on the internet to find products and services they’re looking for. As a result, getting noticed online can be more difficult. You have competition for attention on seemingly every platform—from social media to search engines to forums and blogs. To get ahead, you need to effectively use all the digital marketing tools at your disposal, starting with SEO.
What is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of getting a website or blog to show up in search results when a person searches for something related to your niche.
The closer your SEO is to being ‘perfect’ the more you’ll be able to drive traffic to your website. If you’re new to SEO, take some time to learn about the various techniques and ways of doing things. Doing things the ‘right way’ can take a little bit of time but if you want to see results, you’re going to have to be willing to put in the effort. To ensure your SEO strategy is as effective as possible, you can use tools like SEMrush to track the performance of your campaigns across all platforms and report on the metrics that matter.
Why is SEO Important?
Getting noticed in the world of online marketing can be difficult. The sheer volume of websites and content out there means that your chances of arriving at the top of someone’s search results are slim. However, by strategically using SEO, you can effectively put yourself in the right place at the right time.
If you’ve ever shopped with a companion app on your smartphone, you’ll have experienced the power of SEO. When you type a search query into the app’s search bar, the results that appear are frequently those of online stores that have optimized their content for the phrase you typed in. The closer your SEO is to being ‘perfect’, the more you’ll be able to drive traffic to your website.
How does SEO Work?
SEO is about more than just getting your website to show up in search results when someone types in a keyword or phrase you’ve optimized for. It’s actually a combination of a number of tactics, each playing a vital role in effectively ‘shorthitting’ your content.
The following are the main components of SEO:
- On-Page Optimization
- Off-Page Optimization
- Keyword Research
- Content Curation
- Link Building
- Analysis & Measurement
Each of these components plays a crucial part in ‘optimizing’ your content for the various platforms that exist online. Not all SEO techniques are created equal, so before you jump into any kind of an SEO strategy, it’s important to fully understand the role that each element plays.
On-Page Optimization is all about improving the content on your website in order to have it shown to as many people as possible when they search for something related to your niche. You’re basically trying to ensure that whatever you post online, it is, as far as possible, going to be relevant to and appear in the results pages of search engines like Google when someone types in a search query related to your niche.
On-Page Optimization includes a number of tactics, each playing a role in the success of your overall strategy. The main ones are:
- Content: The content you have on your site is one of the most important factors in determining how well it will be ranked. The better the content the better the ranking.
- Meta Data: This is data about your content that can be used by search engines to determine what your content is and how it should be ranked. There are many different types of meta data, with some being better than others for SEO purposes. For instance, video meta data results in videos being ranked higher than text-based articles.
- Links: Building and maintaining backlinks, or inbound links, to your content is another important factor in your SEO ranking. The more inbound links you have, the higher you’ll rank.
- Keywords: Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important things you need to do if you want your content to be found. Only choose keywords that are relevant and popular in your niche, but also complemented by A/B testing to ensure you’re not overusing any one keyword.
You can use tools like Google Keyword Planner for free to get started with your keyword research. Once you have your list of keywords, you can use some of the free tools available like Squirrel or Semrush to find competitive keywords and compare them to your own. From there, you can determine which keywords you should work on strengthening and which you can ignore.
Off-Page Optimization is all about getting your content out there in as many places as possible so that when someone searches for something related to your niche, your website shows up as a result. Essentially, off-page Optimization is all about building and establishing brand authority. For example, if you’re an author looking to brand yourself as an expert in your industry, you would want to get your books out there to as many people as possible. The more people that read your work, the more often they’ll be able to recommend your books to their friends, resulting in more exposure and potential sales.
Off-Page Optimization can take a number of forms, but in general, it’s about getting as many relevant and authoritative links as possible to your content, with the ultimate goal of having your website appear at the top of a relevant search results page. There are a number of free and premium tools out there that can help you with link building, with some being more effective than others based on your niche. Not all links are created equal, either, so you need to make sure you are building the right kind of links, from the right platforms, to your content.
Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important things you need to do if you want your content to be found by people using search engines to discover content. If you know how to keyword research right — find the key phrases people are using and compare them to the phrases you’re using in your content — you’ll be able to choose the right keywords and ensure your content is ranking in the right places.
When choosing keywords, you need to make sure they’re relevant and complemented by A/B testing. Not all keywords will perform equal in all circumstances, so by using A/B testing, you can determine which keywords work best for your particular content, and for which, you should try other tactics. For example, if you’re using keywords to drive sales of your product or service, you might want to focus on long-tail keywords such as ‘best yoga pants for hiking’ instead of simply ‘yoga pants’ because people searching for ‘yoga pants’ aren’t necessarily looking to buy hiking equipment.