If you ask most people for the definition of SEO, you will likely get a blank stare. Even experienced business leaders and marketers often are ill equipped to talk about what they need to do for SEO in the coming year, let alone have a hands-on understanding of how to get it done.
The problem is that SEO has long been considered something that web developers do when the site is built initially. It's in a black box somewhere with lots of html tags and if you ask a question about it, it will reveal your ignorance and you'll get fired. None of this is true (especially the last part - you won't get fired, at least not for this). And I hate to tell you this, but SEO is a job that is NEVER done. You must constantly be on the look out on how to improve your rankings.
As I've long said, website content needs to be written for people and for robots. The developers usually took care of the robots part, addressing page titles, meta tags and Google Analytic tracking pixels. So far so good. But did you know that how you write for the humans - plain old website content - also drives traffic to your site and amps up your search engine rankings?
Too often businesses use their websites like digital brochures. I mean quite literally - they'll take brochure copy and shoehorn it into a home page and a few content pages. It doesn't take into account a linking strategy or the site's functionality - what do you want the site visitors to DO once they arrive at your home page or other content page. (Inbound marketing and site conversion metrics could occupy me for another day, so look for another post on this later.)
I recently was turned on to some content marketing and SEO tools that anyone can use today to improve their site's search rankings, while also giving your site visitors a really good experience by giving them robust content on subject matter they are searching for, that is all related to your business. It's not scary, it's not in a black box and you definitely don't need to know html to do this. Ready? Here we go.
Think of keyword research as throwing chum in the water. People are fishing for search terms related to your business. Be sure you are using the same language so you can reel 'em in.
There are a few different tools you can use. You can use Google Ads' keyword research tool, the same you would use if you were setting up a digital ad campaign. Or you can try out Moz.com's keyword research tool. They have a free trial so you can try before you buy. For example, I searched top terms for SEO and here's what I got:
So based on this data, I just scrolled back up to the top of this blog post and changed my blog title to "What is SEO Marketing" and changed the opening paragraph to include the words "seo definition." Do you see what I just did there? Good. Now do that for the home page of your website or blog and other key content pages. Fish where the fish are, chum.
Search Engine Rank Pages (SERP)
Be known by the company you keep, and that company is with other web pages that have top rankings for your top terms. Let's use SEO as an example again. Using Moz.com's free SEO tools once again, I generated this list of top content pages on related topics.
There are a number of things I can do to cleverly use these links to my advantage and to my readers' benefit. First off, I can quote content from these sites and link back to the original posts. This will give my readers easy access to good company that they can with some comfort level click on over and read.
Don't worry about sending readers to a link outside of your website or blog. I know you are smart and you will set up the link so that it opens in a new window. Remember, this is about building relationships with humans. You are doing them a favor by feeding them good content. They will thank you for it.
Another thing to do with these links is to set up a "resources" page on my site and list all of these top ranked sites for my readers who may want to learn more on subject matter that is relevant to my work. Either way will help the reader (the humans) and the robots (the search engines). In fact I've just done myself a big favor including this listing above here by way of illustration. Good job Kathy!
This little tip blew my mind. People use questions as keyword searches (see What is SEO above as top ranked keyword). So you will definitely want to check out https://answerthepublic.com/
This kind of weird but definitely handy site lets you enter a keyword or topic and it will generate questions people are searching for based on that topic. Again using SEO as an example, you can see the partial list below.
are seo and sem the same thing
are seo tools worth it
are seo services worth it
are seo keywords important
are seo companies worth the money
are seo companies worth it
are seo gazetted officer
seo are meta tags important
what are seo tools
what are seo keywords
what are seo services
You can use these a number of different ways to juice up your site's SEO. For a blog page I recently wrote for a client, I wrote all of the blog subheads in the form of a question, with each of the questions researched using, you guessed it, answerthepublic.com. You could also slightly rephrase certain content to reflect these terms or using the keyword research you did above. You should also be sure that your website or blog has a page entirely dedicated to FAQs for your top concerns.
I could go on, but I would encourage you to tackle these tactics today and improve your company's web presence. It's easy and anyone can do it, without hiring an agency, a web developer or someone who knows html.
Now excuse me - I need to go add an FAQ page to my site!
Special thanks to Moz blogger Brittany Muller for much of the inspiration for this post!