At this point in your journey of business ownership, you’ve likely encountered the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You may have even attempted to put some SEO strategies into play to promote website traffic. However, if you’ve noticed your competitors are ranking higher than you, or you are dealing with a high acquisition cost per customer, you may need to strengthen your SEO.
There are a number of ways to improve the SEO value of your website and bring it closer to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the mountain of information on SEO and don’t know where to start, we can help.
Below, we’ve listed five ways you can use SEO to improve SERP rankings. While SEO shouldn’t be viewed as a lead generation tool, improved rankings can help to bring in more customers overtime with minimal impact to your marketing spend.
It’s important to note that implementing these steps takes time, and it takes even more time to notice their effects. An effective SEO strategy can’t be completed overnight, so plan on moving through your digital marketing plan in a consistent, methodical fashion, and be patient. The results will be well worth your efforts!
1. Start by doing keyword research.
To find the right keywords for your business, you’ll first need to understand your target audience. Think about the biggest obstacles they face when buying your product, the type of information they may find valuable, and their parallel interests. Then, make a list of keywords they may search for. As you do so, keep the following in mind:
- Buying intent. This is the easiest place to start. What would someone who wants to buy your product or service search for? For example, if you wanted to find a commercial cleaning service in Miami, “cleaning service in Miami” or “commercial cleaning Miami” would be two keywords to consider.
- Learning intent. What would someone who is interested in your product or service but not necessarily ready to buy search for? Providing the answers they’re looking for offers an excellent opportunity to pull them into your funnel. Using the example above, someone who is interested in learning more about commercial cleaning services in Miami might search for “best commercial cleaning services in Miami” or “what to expect from a commercial cleaning service in Miami.”
- Competition. Take a moment to understand the competition’s keyword plan. Are there different keywords you can go after? Some basic keywords and phrases may be very hard to rank for because there is already so much competition. While you don’t want to ignore these keywords, you shouldn’t stop building your list after them either. Be creative and see if you can come up with keywords the competition doesn’t already have a monopoly on.
2. Choose which keywords to focus on.
Did you know Google Ads has a Keyword Planner tool you can use? Simply go into your account and select “discover new keywords.”
With this tool, you can filter out keywords that are searched for fewer than 10 times per month as well as overly competitive keywords. Then, plug the remaining keywords into Google Trends. This will reveal which keywords have experienced increasing search rates over time. Prioritize those that are experiencing upward trends.
3. Create content that includes your best keyword opportunities.
Once you have a list of the right keywords for your business, you’re ready to start creating content. There are multiple areas where you can post content so it has an impact on your rankings. The top two you should focus on initially are web pages and blogs.
Aim to include pages on your website that individually address each keyword on your list, and be sure to place these in the navigation of your site. You can also add a Frequently Added Questions page that highlights and answers the questions and keywords your audience may be searching for.
Starting a company blog is an excellent way to bring keyword topics onto your webpage in an organic and informative manner. Blog posts can provide essential information for potential customers while also improving your rank on SERPs. As a rule, it’s best to cover a broad range of topics to cast a wide net while also targeting your posts towards readers who are most likely to convert.
4. Develop your social media presence.
Did you know social media can boost your SEO? While it does not directly factor into your rankings, the data you share on these platforms as well as the way your audience engages with your profiles can increase organic traffic to your website and promote your rankings.
You can also use social media to share the original content you’ve developed on your company blog, which will encourage links and attract even more visitors. Most importantly, be sure to link back to your website on each social media profile and check that all other contact information is up to date and accurate.
5. Avoid harmful practices.
This step may seem obvious, but the truth is there is a ton of information out there about SEO that is false, outdated, or gimmicky. Some of it can actually get you in trouble with Google. Rather than trying to game the system, aim to use your SEO strategies to add value for your potential customers and showcase your brand as an expert in your field.
Specific practices that should always be avoided include:
- Buying backlinks
- Keyword stuffing
- Cloaking text
- Posting low-quality content
Remember, when it comes to SEO, slow and steady wins the race. Give these five steps a try, and you can significantly improve your website’s SEO and draw in more customers who are just waiting to find your company!