What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the process of optimizing your website so search engines can understand what it is you do, and rank you accordingly.
SEO describes a wide range of skills and services that are required to do things like Create Content, Build Links from other websites to your own, ensure your site structure is able to be read and understood by search engines like Google, and many more.
So how does this help my business?
In short, the higher you rank on search engines the more people will click through to your website. The more people click through to your website the more leads and customers you will have. That of course assumes your website does its job. (link here to CRO or website being an asset article).
According to Backlinko the first 3 search results on page 1 get 75.1% of all clicks and if you’re showing up on page 2 or lower you are very unlikely to get any clicks at all.
So the higher your website ranks in search results the more people click through and have a chance to buy.
How can I get my website to rank higher?
Start producing content that your audience will search for. Make sure that content is good and provides information that both your readers and search engines will want to read.
Make sure you understand what keywords people use to find you and how well you rank for them.
Find any issues with your site’s structure or code that would be making it difficult for Google to crawl your website. Also, make sure that your text isn’t too small or your site isn’t confusing.
Next, find other websites that are willing to link to your articles and content. If you are partnered with other companies make sure they are linking back to your site.
Additionally, share your content with your audience on both Social Media and your email list. This won’t help your SEO, but it will get more eyes on your content and open up opportunities for people to share your content and contact you to start a relationship.
SEO is not ‘easy’ but it’s not a dark art that you, the website owner, cannot understand. It comes back to making your site talk to the right people and be understandable by search engines. There are complexities and nuances, but ultimately if you’re producing great content and putting in the work your site will start to climb higher in search results.
How long does it take?
It depends on the competition.
Are you going up against someone who’s been creating content, answering questions, gaining links, being the authority in your industry, and has a really clean and user-friendly site? Have they been doing it for a long time? Then it’s going to take a while to climb the search engine results.
However, I find that smaller industries or local businesses in smaller cities have less competition and are able to improve their positions quicker than others in more saturated industries that have been working on their online presence for a long time.
That doesn’t mean its impossible to compete. It just means you should stop putting it off and get to work.
Links vs Content vs On-Page … where do I start?
Chances are if you’re reading this you won’t be a seasoned digital marketer or know where to start building your online presence and climbing higher on search engine results.
That’s fine! Just start small, but be committed to consistency.
I recommend you start with Content. Content is an investment that keeps on giving long after you’ve published it.
Content also takes practice. You probably aren’t going to be good at writing blog posts on your first try. You’ll probably be too nervous to immediately be good at creating videos. But the more you do it, the better you’ll get, and the more naturally it will come.
Once you start making content and feel like you’re hitting your stride, you should take a look at where you’re publishing your content. Is your website optimized for search engines? Before you get too deep into content creation, go through your website and make sure you are publishing in a format that is going to give you good results for all your hard work.
Make sure your H1’s, H2’s, Title Tags, Bread Crumbs, etc are all in place. Make sure your site hasn’t been marked ‘no-index’ (where your site tells search engines not to crawl its content). Do a page speed test on GTMetrix and see how well your site is doing as far as speed.
Make it easier with a plugin.
Another step I recommend you take is to install a free SEO plugin like SEO Press. Now this will only work if you’re using WordPress, but I highly recommend it.
An SEO plugin will handle things like Meta Data, Schema, and much more for you so you don’t have to learn how to code for SEO.
Next, move on to links.
Once you’re cooking with content creation, and have your site’s structure sorted out and optimized, you can move on to Link Building.
Link building is the one part of SEO that can be done off of your site, but tends to be the hardest part of getting any site to rank well.
You have to convince others to link to your website. There are several ways of doing this, but at its core, you have to ask website owners and publishers if they would be willing to link to an article on your website that their audience would find useful. You can also look for opportunities to guest blog for other websites.
Guest blogging is a great way to find link opportunities because you are helping the site owner by creating content for them in exchange for the link. I find it’s the least uncomfortable of the two conversations to have.
You will have to ask for more links than you can expect to get. If you ask 30-100 people for a link, expect to get 5-15. The more value you can offer the more likely you are to get the link, but it’s still going to take work to stand out from the crowd.
The easiest way to get links is to ask people you know and work within your industry or similar industries. People are way less likely to ignore your links offers and requests if they know you.
You may be asking “can I just make good content and people will link to it?” Yes! You can do just that, but when you’re not ranking for any keywords in your industry or niche it’s going to be hard for people to find you and link to you. That’s where your content sharing strategy can really help.
This sounds like a lot of work, can’t you just do it…?
Yes, yes we can.
Prairie Giraffe specializes in SEO for small businesses. We utilize an easily understood SEO Pathway system that allows us to help most businesses at all stages of their SEO journey.
All SEO Pathways start with an SEO Audit. We have to understand where you’re at and where you’re trying to go in order to best help you. From there we recommend one or more of our SEO Pathways; Content, Link Building, and On-page. With your approval, we go to work improving your site’s SEO and helping you rank higher on search engine results pages or SERPs.
If this sounds like something you are interested in, let us know by filling out our contact form or check out our SEO Services.