It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. It doesn’t matter what service or product you provide. It doesn’t matter if your business is a brick-and-mortar shop, a popup stand, or if you work from your kitchen table. All businesses, of every size and shape, need to have search engine optimization on their radar.
Search engine optimization — or SEO for short — is the science of using the algorithm that search engines (such as Google and Bing)to get your website ranked highly in related search results. Why does that matter? Well, young grasshopper, SEO should be the life blood of your digital marketing strategy for the following reasons:
- Approximately 81% of all purchases (regardless of if they’re online or in-person) are researched online before a single dollar is spent.
- Almost every time (93% of the time, to be exact) your target market goes online looking for the product or service you provide, they start typing it in to a search engine. That’s right, you hold almost no chance of new customers heading straight to your website without going through Google.
- Of those 93% of users who start with Google, about 80% will totally ignore anything labeled “advertisement.” Paying Google for online advertising only works about 20% of the time when a customer is actually looking for your product.
- Now let’s talk about what your prospective customers will do with the organic search results they get: about 33% go with the first link Google lists. About 18% choose the second link. Every following link gets less and less love. If your website lands on the second page of search results, you hold a 70% chance of never seeing the light of day.
The take away here, is if you want to stay in business, and gain new clients, and make money, you want SEO singing Marvin Gaye to the Google algorithm robots (this is a theatrical portrayal of what SEO does, not a scientific description.) to get your website some love.
So how do you do the SEO thing to your website, you ask? This is a question we could spend the next decade elaborating on, but here are a few simple, actionable tips to get you started:
- Content is king.
The first rule of SEO is no one talks about SEO. Just kidding. It’s actually the exact opposite. The more you talk, the more keywords you give the search engine spiders to trigger your website in applicable searches.
However, Google is smart. It can tell when you just typed a bunch of word vomit. You need to create current, interesting content on subjects related to your industry. Google likes when you update your website with new content on the regular. Make it engaging. When visitors hit up your website, and stick around for a while to chat it up with you, it tells Google you have something worth looking at.
- Get active on other websites.
This little trick is called “link building.” Basically, when there are links all over the interwebs that lead to your website, it acts as a neon sign pointing you out to the Gods of Google.
Once again though, Google is smart. Do not dump a bunch of links to your website on another webpage. When Google sees you do this, they think your sketchy and it actually hurts your SEO. What you want to do is guest post for blogs related to your industry. What you want to do is get your website listed in (reputable) indexes related to your business. What you want to do is get people talking about you. Keep it on the up and up and you’ll see your website ranking go up and up (we didn’t even mean to do that, it just worked).
- Don’t neglect social media.
If you have any business sense, you already know how important social media is in our current market. However, having a strong social media presence also improves your SEO. Social media naturally contributes to your link building (which we just mentioned). On top of that, the more users interact with the social media accounts that are associated with your website, the more Google thinks, “the party is over here!”
And that is what you need to know about SEO. Class dismissed.