The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Primer For Every Entrepreneur
One of my favorite individuals and marketers in this world is the one and the only Guy Kawasaki. And my favorite quote from him is this one - "If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing."
Why This Is My Favorite Quote? Because that makes absolute sense to every sane entrepreneur and business today. Even though you have a big fat pocket for marketing spending, it is not necessary that your spending might bring you the right results. Whereas if you invest your time and resources smartly into inbound marketing, you might surprise yourself with the results that might deliver.
One of the powerful tactics of Inbound Marketing is Search Engine Optimization, also known as SEO. Every entrepreneur or small and medium business owner might cringe hearing this term SEO. That's because some experts or marketers have professed to them that SEO is some sort of rocket science. Whereas SEO is simple, and every entrepreneur needs to have a basic understanding of the same.
But let's answer the most important question for now.
Why Search Engine Optimization is Important? And Why Should You Care?
Let me introduce you to some interesting statistics first:
32% of clicks go to the first result on Google desktop search results
90.63% of pages on Google get no organic search traffic
1 in 3 searches on mobile devices are related to location
76% of people who search on their smartphones for something locally visit a business within a day
90% of consumers used the internet to find a local business in 2020
82% of shoppers read online reviews for local businesses.
Are you able to understand the significance of having a website and ranking it on search engines now? With the advent of smartphones and mobile internet, every consumer is looking for businesses on the go. As an entrepreneur, you cannot miss out on the opportunity to be there for your target consumers and make a good first impression.
Now let's get to the basics.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
This is the definition of SEO that the internet provided to me. If you look at this definition, there are 2 important things to note - maximizing the number of visitors and appearing high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Let me explain this to you. Search engines like Google and Bing scour the internet using their bots called crawlers to find the relevant websites for various searches performed by users. For example, if you open www.google.com and search for the best florists in Florida, Google will provide you with relevant details of the best florists in and around Florida for you. And all this happens in under a second.
So, Google crawlers are continuously scouring the world wide web to index the right web pages with the relevant information to provide the best results for the searchers. So indexing your website on search engines is critical for your website to appear for your target audience's searches.
Now you may ask how Google decides which website is ideal for the particular keyword used by searchers? To understand this, you need to understand keywords first. Keywords are terms searchers use to find the relevant information using the search engines.
Keywords are tricky as well because individuals can add their phrases to perform the search. For example, a person who is searching for black running shoes can modify the search by using phrases like "black Nike running shoes" or "black running shoes for women" or "black running shoes for a marathon" etc.
Why This Is Important For You? When you are building your website, you must understand what keywords are used by your target audience. Once you know the right keywords, you can use them to make your website rank for them on search engines. We will get to the hows of that soon.
What Are The Different Types of SEO
When you talk to an SEO consultant or an agency, they will throw around various terms and I want you to understand what they are talking about. There are different types of SEO projects you must know about. They are:
On-Page SEO - refers to the practices to be followed on your website for improved rankings and search performance
Off-Page SEO - Means the activities you need to perform on the internet to improve the authority of your website
Local SEO - Practices that will help your website perform well in local searches
Technical SEO - Denotes the practices related to server and other technical aspects of your website that will boost the performance
Global SEO - The practices ideal for websites that have a target audience spread across the globe or multiple geographies
How To Identify The Right Keywords For Your Website?
Now we are getting serious about Search Engine Optimization. The first step to starting your SEO project is Keyword Research. This is the process of performing research and identifying the right keywords for your website. This is critical as this helps with your website ranking for the right search terms used by your target audience.
Before we move on to understand how to perform keyword research, let's understand the type of keywords you must know. If you perform a google search for "types of keywords", you might find several types of keywords. Let's ignore that and learn the most important types:
Informational Keywords - Searchers looking for general information (How to make an omelet?)
Commercial Intent Keywords - Searchers looking to purchase products and services (What is the price of Royal Enfield Classic 350?)
Transactional Keywords - Searchers trying to complete a purchase or sale (Pizza delivery near me)
Navigational Keywords - Searchers to find a place or a business establishment etc. (Where is the nearest Starbucks?)
All these keyword types are important, depending on the type of business and website you own.
How Do You Perform Keyword Research?
If you are worried about finding the right keywords used by your customers, you can take a deep breath now. Some amazing tools can help you with the research. These are free and paid ones, depending on the features you are interested in. As I am The Thrifty Marketer, I will recommend cost-effective tools for your perusal.
Tools For Keyword Research
UberSuggest - The all-in-one tool for supporting you on your SEO journey. Priced at $12 for an individual license (monthly) or $120 for a lifetime license, this tool can handle most of the tasks for your SEO project. From keyword research to competitor analysis to website audit, this tool is quite handy and user-friendly.
Google Keyword Planner - This tool is part of the Google Ads environment. You will need Google Ads to account for accessing the same. This also gives you pretty good information on the search terms used by individuals on Google.
Now that you are clear with keywords and their importance, you need to understand how to make use of the keywords on your website and how to rank your website.
As discussed above, the next step will be focusing on On-Page and Off-Page SEO for your website. On-Page SEO is in your control as it pertains to the elements of your website. There are various elements that you need to focus on when it comes to On-Page optimization. You need to use the right keywords found by your research on your website pages the right way for better performance.
The on-page optimization will help search engine crawlers to understand what the website is all about. These practices help in improving the ranking of your website for specific searches performed.
The most important elements of On-Page Optimization are:
Title of Your Webpages
The title of the page is a short description of the website appearing on the top of the browser window and search results. You need to make sure you are using the right keyword(s) in the title tag of the website.
See the example below
Meta Description of Your Webpages
The meta description is the tag used to explain the content of the website to the search engine crawlers. This is a bit descriptive and you need to make sure that the right keywords are part of it.
See the example below
SEO Optimized Content
This is one of the most important elements you need to focus on while performing page optimization. Your content needs to be useful for your audience, and at the same time, it should help crawlers understand what is it about. You need to have the right density of keywords in your content and always keep the readability of your content in mind.
URLs of Your Webpages
Another element of your website where you can include your keyword is in the URL. Your URL can have one focus keyword and that will help in improving the search performance.
For example, https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2016/top-cold-coffee-picks-from-starbucks-baristas/ is using the right keyword for cold coffee lovers
Internal and External Linking
Another important thing you must focus on during on-page optimization is the interlinking of web pages using content. Whenever you are using some external information, make sure you link to that website by hyperlinking to it. Also, wherever possible and relevant, make sure you link to your web pages to provide context.
Image Alt Texts
When you use images on your website, you can provide alt texts to those as that will explain the image to crawlers with ease. For example, if you are using an image of your ebook, you can provide the title of the ebook (with the keyword) as the alt text for that image.
There are several other elements of on-page optimization that you can focus on, but these are good enough for you to start with.
Now let's move on to Off-Page Optimization
Off-Page optimization includes tactics that are taken outside of your website that can impact your website's search performance positively. Off-Page optimization helps in boosting the authority of your website and thereby helping it to rank higher for relevant searches.
The most important facet of off-page optimization is an activity called link building. Incoming links from authoritative websites can boost your website's authority and search performance. You need to invest your efforts in earning links from the right websites.
How to Perform Link Building? You can submit your website to relevant directories, write guest posts for niche websites, create infographics and submit to relevant portals, and also be active on social media.
Another important activity that can boost your on-page optimization is being active on social media. Your content on social media can help you earn incoming links and also shares.
Search Engine Optimization - Next Steps
As you now know the basics of Search Engine Optimization, you need to understand certain aspects of SEO. SEO is a long-term tactic, and you need to be patient while investing time and energy into the same. SEO will help you bring in astounding results, once you apply the right practices and work on your website regularly.
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