In today’s world, there is more than one way to market a business. With the advent of social media and smartphones, everyone has a way to reach potential customers. But before you can market your business you need to find it. To do this you need to use search engine optimization (SEO) services.
SEO is a strategy that uses white hat techniques to improve the visibility of a website or application in search engines.
This strategy can be used to gain more customers and make more sales. A study from Google found that using SEO tactics can increase a website’s conversion rate by up to 160%!
But what exactly is SEO, and how can a business owner or manager use it to their advantage? Here is a quick overview.
What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO is the process of optimizing your content (both on-site and off-site) to increase the probability of your content being discovered by the right people (your target audience).
Typically, SEO is done at the outset of a brand or business. The first step is to analyze the competition. This is usually done using tools like Google Trends. It gives a clear picture of the popularity of different niche-segments (marketing, social media, technology, etc.) as well as the overall interest in a certain topic (say, web design or marketing). You can then create content that is uniquely tailored to appeal to your target audience. Ensure that your content is authoritative, interesting, and unique.
How does SEO work?
To answer this question, let’s take a step back and consider the process from a higher standpoint. Imagine that you are a computer scientist trying to create the next big thing in Artificial Intelligence. You have worked hard on your AI program, and now you want to make sure that it is reviewed by the right people. You start by writing a scholarly paper about your program. Next, you submit the paper to major AI conferences for review. Finally, you publish the result of your hard work in a top-tier academic journal.
Now, back to our example. After you have published your paper in a top-tier journal, you would want to engage with an expert in the field to help you spread the news about your work. You could do this by giving a short presentation at a local science club, by posting on social media, or by sending out a press release.
So in essence, SEO is a process of optimizing your content to have the greatest impact. On a website, this could mean creating more pages that are more informative, use compelling language, and have a call-to-action (CTA) at the end. Off-site optimization refers to things like guest blogging, social media engagement, and digital PR. On-site optimization typically involves things like keyword research and creating a strategic content map.
SEO vs. PPC (Pay Per Click)
Although SEO and PPC are both internet marketing techniques, they are quite distinct from each other. PPC, or pay per click, is when you pay for each time someone clicks on your ad. For example, if you pay $5 per click, then you will get 5 clicks. Therefore, you will have spent $5 to get the click. This can be contrasted with organic SEO, which you pay for relatively little–often nothing!–and yet you can get tons of free organic traffic.
SEO is a far more strategic technique when it comes to internet marketing. In our example, it is quite clear that we have a much greater chance of getting the AI expert to notice us if we follow the traditional academic path.
Advantages of SEO
There are several advantages to SEO. First, it is a very cost-effective technique. You only need to pay for clicks, not for adverts, and you can get tons of free targeted traffic to your website or application. Second, it is a long-term strategy. You are not necessarily looking to get people to click now; you are looking to build an audience that will continue to engage with your content long after the initial click. Third, it is a very measurable strategy. You can track the results of your SEO efforts in your Google Analytics account. Finally, SEO is a very iterative strategy. You can always re-optimize your content, track the results of your changes, and learn from your mistakes.
The Disadvantages of SEO
There are also a few disadvantages to SEO. First, SEO is very time-consuming. It is quite easy to get distracted by the volume of work that needs to be done and to lose sight of the bigger picture. Second, SEO is not a quick fix. It is usually the result of many, many hours of work. Third, not all content is created equal. You need to make sure that the content that you are producing is of a high quality. Last, and perhaps most importantly, SEO is quite a subjective strategy. Everyone has a different opinion on what makes for a good piece of content, and so everyone has a different opinion on what is and what is not an excellent SEO strategy. This can make it really hard to find the right expert for the job!
The Role of SEO in Marketing
In today’s world, SEO is an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit. Depending on your budget, you can have a small- to medium-sized business without any SEO budget or you can have a large corporation that is spending tens of thousands per month on SEO. (Note: Never assume that just because you have a limited budget that you should only use free/paid tools. There are plenty of high-quality, premium tools that will help you optimize your content for free.)
So, as you can see, SEO is a very useful tool, and business owners and managers should not shy away from it. But being able to use SEO effectively requires a bit of training.
The 4 Steps to Becoming an SEO Expert
To easily become an SEO expert, follow these simple steps:
- Step 1: Find a Niche
- Step 2: Perform Keyword Research
- Step 3: Create content
- Step 4: Syndicate your content
Let’s discuss each step in more detail.
Step 1: Find a Niche
The first step in becoming an SEO expert is to find a niche. This is very similar to the process of finding a target audience for your business. When you find your niche, you can identify a small group of people who share your passion for the subject matter and who are likely to be interested in what you have to say. Once you identify this group of people, you can develop content that is specific to them. Make sure that you find a niche that has enough demand so that you can build a profitable business around it. Also, make sure that your niche is a bit of a ‘super-niche’ or a ‘black-hat specialty,’ as Google often rewards the most specific and relevant content.
Step 2: Perform Keyword Research
The second step in becoming an SEO expert is to perform keyword research. When you do keyword research for your business, you will discover key phrases or keywords that are relevant to your niche. The easier and faster you can get this step done, the easier and faster you will be able to get to the other steps. When doing your keyword research, make sure that you check the competition for each keyword and brainstorm new phrases and keywords that are more appealing to potential customers. Also, make sure that you use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to easily find keywords that are most relevant to your niche. Don’t worry too much about how many searches you will get for each keyword, as the more relevant and useful the content, the more likely it will be shared and the more people will discover it.
Step 3: Create content
The third step in becoming an SEO expert is to create content. This could be anything from a blog post to an e-book or a white paper. There are many different ways to create content, so think of what would be the best way for your business to communicate with potential customers.
Once you have identified the need for content, take some time to brainstorm ideas for content. You should have a content calendar so that you can keep track of the content that you have created. Some ideas for content: