Top 5 SEO Must-Haves
How to drive traffic and improve your online presence with SEO.
If you build it [your website], they will not necessarily come.
We do a lot of website projects at Zeal with our strategic partners, and actually, I really enjoy them. The reason I enjoy them is because to produce a really great website for a company, you have to fully understand it. I get to dive in and understand what drives the business, what motivates the owner, why the business exists, and what they need to be successful.
But, with that being said, the existence of a great website does not necessarily equate to website traffic and business growth. You have to be intentional in how you build it and the content you create in order to generate traffic. And, there are other really important initiatives you need to increase awareness and traffic.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization is the process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or a web page from search engines. SEO targets unpaid traffic rather than direct traffic or paid traffic.
The free strategy to drive organic website traffic is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). That’s a broad term, but essentially, it’s about creating content, attracting search engines, and building features into your website that match the key search terms consumers are using.
I gave this presentation on Google My Business and SEO Success for the Ed/Glen Chamber of Commerce. Check it out.
Secrets to SEO Success – Top 5
Google algorithms constantly change, but these tips are vital to maintaining an online presence and showing up in search results.
1. Claim your Google My Business Listing
It’s FREE, and essentially it’s a pseudo-website. You must claim your Google My Business listing! Just search Google for your business name, click “claim this business.” You can customize this special feature with images, your hours, links, menus, etc. Google My Business listings are highly utilized by consumers as a one-click solution or answer to their questions.
2. Listing Management
Think about the internet being full of phonebooks. Remember the yellow pages? Essentially, the Internet Listing Services are the online version of the yellow pages. If you don’t customize and maintain it, your listing will exist with incorrect and inconsistent information, which works against you when it comes to organic search results. I highly recommend a listing management service to keep your listings up-to-date. It’s darn near impossible to do it manually, and it carries a lot of weight with Google.
Search engines love reviews. Why? Because it’s totally organic. The business didn’t create the content. That carries a lot of weight with Google and the other search engines. There are many services and options for automating review requests from customers. You’ve surely received a text and/or email after a service asking you to leave a review. I always recommend developing a script for your employees that let’s the customer know they will receive a review/survey request and that their response is super valuable. Your response rate will go up exponentially.
4. H1 Headlines & Keyword Usage
First, do your research. Find out what people are searching when they’re googling for information relevant to your business. What are they asking? How are they asking? What key phrases and terms are they using? There are internet tools to help you with this – or you can just do a brainstorm and start typing into the Google search bar, then see what auto-populates.
Now, take these phrases and terms and utilize them on the appropriate pages on your website. Meaning, make sure that the information on the page matches the keywords you’re using. H1 headlines are the largest, most prominent headlines on the page. On the backend of your site, you must literally choose H1 for the font size. Just use one H1 headline per page, and be sure to put a key search term or phrase in it. Then, to support that, be sure to use that same search term or phrase a few times within the copy beneath the headline.
This applies to every page of your site.
5. Metadata & Keyword Tags
This also applies to every page of your site.
Your metadata is populated on the backend of the site and tells search engines what the page is about and how to describe it. The meta title and description are what populate in the listing when the page comes up in a search result. You have control of that text, so make it count! Use key terms and let the user know you have a relevant answer to their question.
BONUS SECRET TO SEO SUCCESS: Inbound Marketing
While it does take effort and commitment to a long-term strategy, inbound marketing is an important initiative. Essentially, inbound marketing is the creation of content for your website that will attract website users. Content can be in the form of blog posts, videos, pages – or even social media posts. The key to inbound marketing (which is called that because the traffic comes to YOU, instead of you going out to find it), is to create content based on what people are searching for or what they want to know.
I recommend a team brainstorm to determine a list of content topics. Think about the FAQs you hear, how your products/services provide value, specifics about each of your service lines, etc. Take that list and begin knocking a topic off once a week. Before long, you’ll have a hefty library of content on your website that will attract traffic.
Meet Shelbey Saye
While we’re on the topic of SEO, I’d like to introduce you to Shelbey Saye. Shelbey is Zeal’s Social Media Manager and Project Manager, and one of the initiatives she oversees for our clients is SEO. We have a variety of methods for improving and monitoring our clients’ search rankings. Let us know if we can help!