In previous articles we have touched briefly on SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Today we will be taking an in-depth look at SEO and how you can maximize your profitable traffic by making SEO work for you.
What is SEO?
Search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, Duck Duck Go, etc) send out their spiders (programs) to crawl the internet to index and rank sites. These bots browse sites, categorize them based on the keywords and content, and take that information to the search engine to rank. When you optimize, you are engaging in a process that will increase the quantity and quality of your traffic.
If your site is about artisanal cheese and your keywords and content mirror that, your site will eventually show up in search engine rankings under artisanal cheese, but it will be competing with every other site that uses those keywords. If you specialize in artisanal vegan cheese, you want your keywords to reflect that rather than the umbrella term of artisanal cheese. Your site will rank much higher up if you are specific in your keyword choices. You’ll get ranked even higher if you get more specific. For example, nut-free artisanal vegan cheese. If you are not capable of shipping your nut-free artisanal vegan cheese, you’ll want to make that long-tail keyword even longer by adding your location, say, nut-free artisanal vegan cheese in Burlington, Vermont.
Why Is SEO Important?
In the US, only 2.8% of users will click on a paid advertisement. Paid advertisements need continuous funding to drive traffic to your site. In short, it’s a money pit. A solid SEO strategy is key to ensuring that your site is one of the sites people click when seeking results for their query. If you provide relevant content and optimize it well, your site will end up ranked well, resulting in increased traffic over time.
Should You Leave SEO To A Pro?
If you have patience and time, you can learn to effectively manage basic SEO on your own. If your site’s needs are more complex, you may want to enlist a company that specializes in SEO. Not all SEO companies are equal. There are various methods utilized by different companies, including white hat and black hat SEO. White hat SEO refers to best practices and techniques that abide by search engine rules. Black hat SEO refers to strategies meant to fool search engines. Black hat SEO strategies can put your site at risk for penalization, up to and including removal of indexing. This means your site’s ranking could potentially be removed from a search engine completely.
Whether you are determined to DIY your SEO or are set on hiring a pro, educate yourself. Research, research and research some more. For those who want to DIY it, Google has a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide to help you with the basics. You can find SEO training on platforms like SkillShare and Udemy. When researching professionals, make sure you have list of questions to ask when you reach out to inquire about services. Research packages and pricing and compare to other companies as well.
As you continue building your brand and your business, continue to educate yourself. SEO parameters change constantly, search engines are ever-evolving and you will need to stay up to date to stay in the game.