Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an internet marketing strategy that focuses on increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website in organic search engine results. SEO entails both creative and technical elements needed to drive traffic, increase rankings and build brand awareness through online content. In other terms, SEO is a way of ensuring that your website is structured in such a way that search engines can index it and return it for specific queries by users. Of course, SEO is not just about building a website that is search engine-friendly; it’s about giving people crucial information that they need to become a conversion.
While ranking on Google takes some effort, SEO can be successful when you create a technically sound, relevant and informative website that has unique content and a great user experience. The site should encourage sharing and distribution of good content to improve organic visibility and gain links back to your website. When you combine strong code, content and backlinks, you can increase your ranking and drive more traffic to your website.
If you want to be successful with SEO, you may need professional help – learn more about choosing the right partner in our post, How to Choose the Right SEO Agency
What is SEO Ranking and How Does it Affect My Lead Strategy?
SEO ranking refers to the position occupied by your website in search engine results pages (SERPs). There are a number of factors that determine the position of a site in the search engine results, based on the relevance of your content to the search term and the quality of your backlinks that are pointing to your page. These ranking factors play a pivotal role in the success of your online marketing strategy and how many leads you end up. Let’s explore the three main topics of the SEO process below.
3-TIER SEO PROCESS
Building a Strong Foundation with Technical SEO
When talking about Technical SEO, we are simply referring to any SEO work which is done aside from the normal content, such as code markup or alterations. The purpose of technical SEO is to lay a strong foundation where your content has the best chance.
Learn more about technical SEO: 4 Technical SEO Tactics that Anyone Can do to Improve the Performance of their Website.
On-Page + Off-Page SEO
Technical SEO can be split into two groups: on-page and off-page SEO. The two working in unison is critical when it comes to the successful implementation of an SEO campaign. However, they are two completely different things when it comes to increasing your search engine rankings.
On-Page: tells search engine crawlers what your site is about, allowing you to rank for desired keywords.
On-Page SEO is a way of optimizing different areas of your site to manipulate search visibility. It is something that you have the power to control on almost any WordPress site. The biggest factors that affect on-page SEO are:
- Placing your targeted keywords in the title tags of each of your web pages.
- Placing your targeted keywords into the heading tags of every webpage.
- Placing your target keywords in your URLs.
- Optimizing your web-pages to load as fast as possible.
- Making your page content useful to people – make it easy to read and provide value to the end user.
- Linking your web pages internally to other web pages on your website to help visitors and search engine crawlers understand the content and structure of your site. Inbound links are also important to your site, as well as logical sitemaps with internal linking to web pages.
Off-page: How authoritative or popular your site is elsewhere on the web.
The main focus of off-page SEO is to increase the authority of your domain through getting links from other sites. The most important off-page factor is the quality of backlinks and the number you attract to your website. Below are the various ways you can use to build links to your website:
- Create good content that can be linked to by users because it is valuable.
- Share your content on social media to drive traffic back to your website.
- Guest blog on sites that are related to yours to gain valuable backlinks and expand your market reach.
ON-PAGE vs. OFF-PAGE SEO EXAMPLES
Getting Foot Traffic to Your Business with Local SEO
Local SEO is focused on effectively marketing your business online to promote services and products to searchers in your business’s direct proximity. Whenever you’re looking for a bite to eat, for example, you might type in “best restaurants near me” into Google. The results then return a number of different options within a map carousel at the top of the page. Local optimization usually relates to local businesses that rely on foot traffic to their store.
To be successful with local optimization, there are a number of things you can do to get your site to show up for local organic results:
- Create location-based landing pages. If you’re trying to target Minneapolis, let’s say, build out location-based landing pages around the term “Minneapolis + [target keyword]”. Build out the page with valuable, in-depth content that feature variants of your target city and keyword.
- Submit your business to Google Business. Sign-up for Google Business to create an online profile and get your website ranked in map carousels. Once you sign up, you’ll receive a code in the mail for you to confirm your business. Enter that into the provided URL, and you’re good to go!
- Ensure your NAP listing citations are accurate across the web. NAP (name, address, phone) listings are web directories that point users to your site. Try to find reputable citation opportunities through sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau (BBB), Yellow Pages, local chambers of commerce or City Search. Not only do you have the opportunity to gain exposure, positive reviews and accreditations from these sites, you also get an extra backlink to your website.
Go in-depth with local search strategies by reading our post: A Local SEO Guide to Increase Your Store’s Foot Traffic.
LOCAL SEO in MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL EXAMPLE
Search Result for “Restaurants Near Me” Query.
Building Your Website as an Industry Resource with Content Strategy
The world of SEO moves quickly. It is an ever-changing industry where a strategy that worked four months ago might not work – or even harm your site. Nevertheless, there are a few fundamentals which have stayed consistent throughout the industry’s existence. In order to attract more inbound customers, SEOs have derived ways of improving their content marketing efforts. The following basic strategies have helped websites achieve high rankings:
- Focusing on publishing catchy, compelling, quality content that is unique from others and provides higher evergreen value than any other piece of content out there. In other words, build content that doesn’t have a shelf life, and continues to drive traffic well past its publish date.
- Using the specific keywords and variants of that keyword within your content to reach your target audience. Search engines understand similar terminologies and synonyms; therefore, using related keywords in various pieces of content will help search crawlers know the specific topics your site is associated with.
- Reviews, social links and offsite pages may not play a direct role when it comes to your websites search engine rankings, but it never hurts to promote your content in an attempt to drive more traffic to it. With more traffic and a lower bounce rate, your rankings will turn in a positive direction.
- Keeping the content fresh also matters. Up-to-date content gives search bots something new to crawl and keeps your site relevant day after day.
Want to learn more about content marketing? Read our article: The Small Business Owners’ Marketing Guide – How to Take Advantage of Content.
CONTENT DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Linkbuilding for Stronger Brand Awareness
Linkbuilding is focused on acquiring links to your site from other high-authority sites. Links are used by the search engines to crawl the web; they start by crawling the links between the individual pages of your website and then crawl the links between your website and others.
There are various ways of building links, and since they tend to be one of the more difficult tasks, it’s best to hire an SEO team to head-up the job. A lot of SEOs spend much of their time trying to come up with high-quality links. Many amateur digital marketers may decide to purchase links off of sites like Fiverr, but these types of low-quality links can actually harm your overall performance in search engines. It’s crucial that you identify and obtain high-quality links from trustworthy sites, industry influencers and press releases.
Let’s say you produce an awesome blog post and it gets a link from the New York Times. Google sees this and will give more credibility to that blog because when a site as authoritative as the New York Times is linking to your content, it indicates that it must be pretty valuable. The more of these authoritative sites you can get to link to you, the better your rankings will be. This is the main reason search engines use links to determine a site’s authority.
Curious to learn more about linkbuilding? Check out our post: 8 Linkbuilding Strategies You Need to Try Today!
HOW LINKBUILDING WORKS
In Conclusion: What is SEO?
It’s a combination of highly optimized backend code, amazingly relevant and in-depth content, and high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites. Without a smart SEO strategy in place, potentially valuable website traffic may be slipping right through your fingers. Don’t let it happen to you. Capture those target searchers and increase website leads by implementing a search engine optimization campaign ASAP.
If you need help achieving a better website ranking, contact our team of SEO experts in Minneapolis/St. Paul today! We’re pros at building beautiful, easy-to-use, search-friendly websites that drive more traffic and capture more conversions for our clients. Find out how we can help you build a better story; a better website; a better brand – get in touch now.