Although I’m using local Madison small businesses as my target here, these tips pertain to any small business around the country looking to attract more eyes to their website through inbound means.
If you’re totally clueless as to what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pertains to, familiarize yourself with the concept here. Like almost any other dimension of digital marketing, SEO is a dynamic component of a broader ever-changing online environment, so it’s essential to routinely check out what new changes are taking place and reorient your strategy accordingly.
Similarly, this may be helpful to businesses that integrated some SEO in the past and are looking for some ways to update their optimization.
1. Use web analytics to track and compare your traffic
Whether you’re in the process of building your website or have taken it live already, adding analytical tools to track your SEO efforts should be implemented as soon as possible in order to start seeing results from month to month. If your site has yet to go live, you’ll have the added advantage of having data right off the bat. The sooner you start tracking, the sooner you’ll be able to understand your SEO ranking and use it to inform your future strategy.
If you’re in the dark as far as particular analytical tools go, Google Analytics and HubSpot are among the more popular options, although there are many. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses so it’s helpful to try a variety to see which one fits your business’ need the best.
Analytics data can appear complex and difficult to understand when attempting to compare separate pieces of data to gauge why something isn’t working for you. A good place to start for those who are unsure of what data they should pay attention to is your keyword results. By ordering your keywords in terms of how well they’re pulling in relevant searches, you can start to orient your content accordingly.
Another metric you should find particularly useful early on is your site’s page rankings. This will give you insight into what pages are generating the most traffic so you can better allocate your resources to them.
2. Don’t ignore page titles and meta descriptions when publishing content
If you don’t yet have a blogging component on your company’s website, it may be time to consider the potential SEO benefits blogs have to offer. If you’re already implementing one, pay attention to the easily overlooked data features which have a direct impact on your SEO ranking such as page titles and meta descriptions.
These spaces should always be optimized with specific keywords you’ve inserted into your content so you can maximize your full ranking potential. Keep in mind that meta descriptions will appear below the search result and therefore should be written with a reader in mind. Avoid simply stringing together SEO keywords and phrases and instead focus on crafting a concise description built around your keywords.
3. Don’t write your content specifically for SEO
The art of creating web content for marketing purposes is very much rooted in striking a balance between SEO and a creative voice. Overvaluing either one is ultimately a detriment to your blogging efforts, so it’s important to understand that a blog is not a keyword receptacle.
If you intend on visitors engaging with your content in some capacity, filling sentence after sentence with as many key words and phrases as you can will quickly have readers clicking away from the page after finding such content to be useless to them. If an unbalanced blog gets out of hand, you’ll quickly see your reputation as a content creator fade as well as your ranking scores.
Instead, get into the habit of keeping SEO a subconscious task when you write. If you have an interesting idea you want to convey, think of ways your keywords can intelligibly apply to your idea rather than letting the words themselves take the reins.
4. Keep your strategy open for future re-orientation
Expanding on the idea of creative content over robotic optimization, search engines are becoming increasingly more adept at arranging search results based on the quality of the content they present. User engagement is one such metric which is receiving more attention by search engines with the idea that the more a particular piece of content is shared, the more valuable it is to readers.
These sorts of adaptations are happening all the time, which means keeping close tabs on your analytics data will give you the best indications when a shift in SEO is affecting your traffic. Still, the best way to ensure your content will thrive in the SEO environment of the future is to craft your content with purpose in mind.