All marketers have heard about SEO (search engine optimization), but why is it so important? SEO is defined as “the process of affecting the visibility of a website in search engines’ natural or unpaid search results.” In today’s competitive business environment SEO is more relevant than ever and marketers everywhere should invest time into techniques that search engines recommend. SEO will help search engines and users not only interact with your website, but also have a much better experience.
How people look for businesses, products and services is changing every day thanks to the internet and mobile devices. Local businesses should take note of this as well. According to Google, one in five searches is local and three out of four smartphone users have contacted a business they found on their phone.
What do your customers see when they search for you? More importantly, what do they see when they search for your products or services? Over the next three years, businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40% faster than businesses that don’t(1). This is why SEO is vital to any organization and it is a process that is ongoing. There are no shortcuts to SEO and if you take any, your website may be punished by Google and other search engines. Here are some quick tips about SEO:
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Having a mobile website enhances the end user’s experience. Making your website responsive should be a primary goal. This can be done by adding a mobile CSS so people can access your site correctly on your smartphones. With the growing number of smartphones in today’s market, this should be more than enough of a reason to do this sooner rather than later. It has also been rumored that search engines will soon be checking to see if a website has a mobile version and factoring that into their algorithms.
- Be on social media. Social signals have been known to help boost SEO as search engines are increasingly considering them to be important forms of traffic. Make sure you have social media networks, but what’s most important is to make sure you’re actually using them all. Link your social media accounts from your homepage on your website. Make sure you are on all relevant business directories as well, especially if you are a local business.
- Use Google products. Google loves when you use their products and considers them heavily in search engine rankings. Make sure you create a sitemap and submit it via Google’s Webmaster Tools. Verify your page with Google + and Local if you haven’t done so already. Create a YouTube channel and use Google Analytics to measure your progress.
- Back end optimization. Make sure you add keyword rich ALT tags to your images, this can help you rank higher and capture more organic traffic. Use descriptive and accurate page titles and meta-data descriptions. Follow best practices and don’t partake in “keyword stuffing.”
- Blogging. First and foremost, make sure you set up a blog and an RSS feed. Link your blog from your homepage. Add social sharing and social subscription buttons to your blog and try to write blogs around what searches your customers make. Consider writing guest blogs for other companies or media that link back to your website.
1. BCG Report, “The Connected World: The $4.2 Trillion Opportunity,” March 2012