Search engine optimization (SEO) can often seem overwhelming. The allure is obvious—free clicks are an online marketer’s best friend—but figuring out how to get your site to rank well on Google can be a real challenge.
But, it doesn’t have to be.
For many businesses, ranking organically online is actually fairly straightforward. When you’re in a specific, targeted niche, you don’t have to compete with everyone online. You just have to figure out how to get the right content to rank for the right searches.
1. Understanding SEO
SEO is the work that goes into a website that builds relevance and trust in the site of search engines like Google. The greater trust and relevance you can build for a website, the higher it gets ranked.
SEO matters because 90% of people don’t go past page one of Google search results when looking for products or services. That means if your website doesn’t rank high, you’re missing out on potential customers or greater brand recognition. Not ranking on page 1 means you miss out on approximately 90% of traffic.
Before you can start optimizing your site, you need to think about your business goals, what you do and where you’re located. That can have a big impact on the types of keywords you go for in an SEO campaign.
It’s also good to learn about other types of marketing efforts both on and offline to learn about what has proved successful and where you can improve. Have you done SEO before? What worked and what didn’t? What other market channels can you learn from? Knowing what you want to accomplish can help you outline a campaign that will best meet those goals.
An SEO campaign includes building relevance and trust. Building relevance means optimizing everything on a website. It makes sure Google sees exactly what you do and what makes you the best at it in your industry and location.
When you optimize the code, you make sure all pages are active, the site loads quickly, and that it’s optimized for both desktop and mobile. You want to make sure that all of the copy on the website has high user intent, and optimize the site on the back end to make it easy for the Google bots to scrape it.
Building trust helps create a strong portfolio across the internet. If other websites talk about your website, that means you have trusted content.
Essentially, there’s higher trust if other websites link back to your own site. These links come from blogs, or other links to your own website posted elsewhere. It’s essentially a vote of confidence from one website to another. The more links you have, from high-quality sources, the more Google will trust your site as well.
As an SEO campaign progresses, there are three main goals to keep in mind:
1. Make sure your website gets seen as the most relevant answer
When starting out an SEO campaign, you’ll need to do a deep-dive analysis of the website—as well as analyze the websites of the competition. This analysis takes into account how customers search, what they search for, and what kind of traffic comes to your site versus your competitors.
2. Make sure you have the most trusted website in the industry
This happens by doing some work off your website to help boost its reputation. Write and publish articles and blog posts, then submit your business information to digital directories and profiles like Google My Business. Essentially, this creates a trail that leads customers back to your business. It helps Google see your website as trustworthy, and increases the rankings.
3. Keep improving even after reaching page one
Even after your rankings reach the first page, there’s more work to be done. SEO is constantly evolving with tasks and work to keep your pages at the top of the rankings.
If you don’t stay on top of SEO work, rankings begin to drop about four months after stopping a campaign. Those are rankings that your competitors could start taking over instead.
At this point, you need to take everything you’ve learned and make a strategic recommendation about what it will take to rank. This recommendation is based on industry, goals, competition, location, and where their website sits now, among other things. Figure out what kind of investment it will take and make sure that you can commit to spending that much for at least 6 months so you can see your website rankings grow.
And that’s the fundamentals of search engine optimization. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Once you’ve figured out what your goals are and what the plan is, successful SEO is largely a matter of consistency and dedication.
Getting results from search engine optimization does take time, but if you’d like to get fast results while you wait for your SEO efforts to pay off, you can always try running paid search campaigns. The team here at Cortex are experts at that sort of thing, so don’t hesitate to ask for their help!
What do you think of this list? Are there any other SEO fundamentals you’d add to this list? Leave your thoughts in the comments?