Search Engine Optimization, fondly known as SEO is important for every website.
But why? It sounds like a black hole to the average person. But it doesn’t have to be!
SEO helps your website and landing pages rank higher on search engines. It gives you the ability to tap into how your audience searches and then appear on the search list for them. It also helps search engines interpret the content on your page to help get it in front of the right customers. Search engines are built using algorithms that combine as many features as possible about your site to get the best understanding. Oftentimes, the biggest hurdle for sites is just being discoverable.
Don’t let that be your site!
In this post, I will quickly walk you through what SEO is and how to start setting it up. If you would still like more SEO guidance, check out my Guide to Free SEO & Keywords.
SO, WHAT IS SEO?
SEO or search engine optimization is the way we improve the quantity and the quality of search traffic to our site, pages, accounts, etc. SEO is the way to target unpaid traffic and so it is what we call “the low-hanging fruit” for any business.
There are a variety of tools at our disposal to influence SEO but it is important to note that Google is constantly updating and refining its algorithm so make sure you look into the latest focus. I will try to keep this post updated as I learn of changes:
Metadata: tags, titles, descriptions
Keyword usage (on your site, in the metadata, on 3rd party sites, for reviews, etc.)
Linking within and without (meaning internal links to other pages on your site and external links that bring people to your site)
Writing the way people search
Creating relevant content on as many pages as possible
Metadata usage for images
WHAT IS METADATA AND WHY DOES IT MATTER?
There is a basic strategy to SEO that gets lost in the details and excessive options available to us to improve SEO. I recommend starting with your foundational elements and building as you gain experience and data from your efforts.
Those foundational elements are part of all pages and photos for your site
Titles (pages + photos)
Descriptions (pages + photos)
Meta tags, H1 tags, H2 tags (sometimes), etc.
Image alt descriptions
They vary in importance though and as of 2021, Google has decreased the emphasis on meta descriptions and tags within its algorithm. If you’re wondering what the benefit of filling in those pieces of data would be, you are right to question it. However, descriptions are still used by google’s search list and they provide an excellent opportunity to let a searcher know what your page is about to entice them to click on your link. Tags help organize a page which improves user experience. User experience is extremely important in Google’s algorithm so as you’re looking to use tags within your web pages, make sure you are thinking like a consumer and organizing your content in the most valuable way for them.
HOW DO I SET UP MY METADATA?
For each of the elements listed above, there is a component on all site’s hosting platforms. I use Squarespace for my site and each page I create allows me to fill in the SEO details for that specific page. I am also able to add SEO details to each image through the media library. This is common among most template-based sites. If it is not clear, be sure to reach out to your technical support team and ask where to find your SEO management options.
Once you can locate each of these, you are ready to begin removing these basic roadblocks to your pages being found by your audience! At this point, if you are unsure how to write the content for your SEO and need additional guidance, I'll remind you that you can purchase my brief SEO Basics Guide here.
WHEN AND WHERE TO USE THESE SEO TACTICS?
The most obvious way to use SEO is on your own website. However, Instagram has its own SEO capabilities that help your posts rank higher in their algorithm. For example, you can add image alt titles. Other 3rd party platforms also have their own versions of SEO that work within the search rankings of their own sites. Pinterest, Yelp, Etsy, and Shopify are a few common examples. Believe it or not, reviews can actually help your SEO too! So be sure you are actively asking customers for reviews and if they want help writing them, don’t be shy in providing suggestions. I provide more guidance on requesting reviews in this post on Reviews and Referrals.
Again, if you are unsure of where to find this information, simply drop a question to their support teams.
TOOLS TO MANAGE SEO ON MY WEBSITE
There are a variety of SEO management tools out there. You have to pay for most. However, some offer free versions that are actually pretty great! The best I’ve found are:
Google’s Search Console
Google’s Ad words
Note: check out this great post explaining the differences between Yoast and RankMath
For additional guidance on SEO, I would recommend using the SEO Basics Guide I created. It will get you through all the “low-hanging fruit” SEO elements to help you attract that unpaid traffic.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEO AND SEM?
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and it is the paid version of SEO. If you do not have SEO activated, it is not yet time to think about SEM. Start with the basics and build up! Like with all marketing.
Thank you for reading this post and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know!
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