Where is the first place you go when you need information about a business? If you’re like most Americans, you probably head straight to the web. In fact, current conservative estimates place the number of daily search queries at over one billion, with 81% of webs surfers using the Internet to help make their purchasing decisions. Those are some huge numbers, and they’re only growing.
Whether your business is already online or you’re preparing to make the jump, you need to make sure that you have a good SEO plan for your business website. It’s easy to think that if you just throw “something” online, “they will come.” Well, that’s simply not true. You wouldn’t expect shoppers to find your store if you just opened shop in a back alley without a sign, any windows or any advertising, so you shouldn’t expect online shoppers to be able to find your online store if you just open shop and wait for business to walk through the “door.” There are (literally) hundreds of thousands of stores on the web, and without SEO your customers simply will not be able to find you.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” and it is a term used to describe the process, strategies and tactics used to help your website get relevant traffic from search engines. In other words, it helps get the right people to your website. If your website only sells shoes in Milwaukee, for instance, you certainly don’t want to waste your time and money attracting people who are looking for shirts in Waukesha, buttons in Brookfield and cummerbunds in Kenosha. There’s no ROI in that. And that’s what good SEO can do for you.
Experienced SEO experts (like us) know how to increase search engine visibility, which increases website traffic, which increases website conversions (like sales, calls and requests for information). And that’s where the return on your investment comes in. The thing to remember with SEO is that it is an ongoing, adaptive process and not a one-time operation. SEO is all about a gradual, incremental improvement that can react and adapt to the purchasing habits of your buyers.
The Fundamentals of SEO
You’re probably already familiar with the most popular search engines: Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. These are the search engines that most Americans use, and when someone types your keywords into a search engine, you want your website to appear (also called “rank”) at the top of the search results. Why? Because people usually pick from the top. So, how does SEO improve your ranking? Read on.
A skilled SEO specialist will use any and all of the following to optimize your website:
Competitor research & keyword research: Strategic competitor and keyword research are what controls the type of traffic your website receives. It’s what targets your content so that you’re attracting those people most likely to be interested in your products and services. Keyword and competitor research are the building blocks that your “online house” (your content, product descriptions, blog articles, homepage copy and more) are all built with.
Analytics setup & review: Any good SEO specialist will know how to use Google Analytics to monitor website traffic, SEO progress, growth, trends, potential problems, and keyword impact. With Google Analytics, you can see precisely which keywords are driving traffic, where traffic is coming from, and which pages get the most views. You can even set and track SEO goals and generate data-rich reports.
Link building campaigns: Another important tool in your SEO expert’s toolkit is link building. Building relevant, high-quality links to good content helps search engines see your website as one with authority and influence, which will help your website rank better.
Social media campaigns: Social media is on every good marketer’s checklist right now because a good social media campaign can be hugely successful in terms of driving traffic and bringing visibility. The key to social media is to remember that it too must be targeted to your audience.
Search engine ranking reporting: When it comes to search engine optimization, nearly everything has one goal: to get the search returns for a specific keyword (or keyphrase) as close as possible to the #1 search engine return as possible. The closer a keyword or key phrase can rank to the #1 spot, the more traffic it will bring, and the more potential consumers you’ll have on your website (if your SEO expert has properly targeted your keywords).
Repeat with keyword research: Because the amount of traffic a website will receive is based on search results, and search results are based on the keywords that people use to search for things, keyword research is an on-going process. Language is dynamic, so search is dynamic. This means that just because a keyword ranks well one year doesn’t necessarily mean that it will rank well the next. Slang, current events and trends can all impact what keywords will work well, and all of those things change.
Website Auditing: Think of website audits as tune-ups for websites. They are a way to “look under the hood” and make sure that a website is optimized for performance. A typical website audit will inspect things like:
Meta tags, title tags, page copy, page title and alt attributes: Is your website using the right keywords in its titles, meta descriptions, page copy and images? An SEO site audit will help you find out.
URL structure: URLs are extremely important for search engine optimization. If you think of URLs as the roads that search engines use to find your pages, you can get a sense for how important a structured, SEO-friendly approach to URLs is. Proper navigation structure isn’t just good for SEO either, it has a huge impact on usability and conversion rates. People have an easier time using properly structured websites, and the easier it is for them, the more likely they are to make a purchase and/or feel good about your service.
A/B & multivariate testing: Just like all direct marketing, getting results means using proper testing techniques. Targeted A/B testing and multivariate testing is how you learn what really works with your audience and how you can maximize your conversion rates. The great thing about SEO A/B testing and multivariate testing is that it can give you real-time data and results.
Backlink review: Backlinks and backlinking are key parts of effective SEO, but it is important to monitor the quality and content of the pages that link back to you. Irrelevant, questionable or inappropriate backlinks can hurt your SEO value (and offend your visitors). Instead of just accepting each and every backlink that comes your way, it is important to vet backlinks and actively search for good potential link partners.
If you’re ready to see what Brew City Marketing and SEO can do for you, call us today at 414-208-0700. We offer free quotes for all of our search engine optimization services. And, while the majority of our clients are in the Milwaukee, Brookfield, Waukesha, and southeastern Wisconsin areas, we can work with clients throughout the country.