Google receives 5.6 billion searches a day. How many of those people do you think click to the second page of their search results? Not many. SEO is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your site ranks as high as possible in organic search.
SEO can be overwhelming if you’re not an expert, so I brought in my old friend, previous Content Manager from TransWorld SNOWboarding, and current Content Director at Dew Tour, Justin Cafiero. He dropped a tutorial on how to add a simple SEO process to your content marketing so that you can drive greater organic traffic to your business.
What is SEO and where does it work?
Search engine optimization (SEO) improves your site’s performance in a search engine’s ranking algorithm by implementing tactics that indicate that your site is high quality. At its core, SEO is a process you can use to improve your visibility and reach an audience of potential customers who are already searching for what you have to offer.
SEO is used for platforms like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, but can also be used for YouTube, Amazon, Yelp, Spotify, and anything else that has a search feature, but each platform works a little differently. In general, the following framework that focuses on the few most important aspects of SEO will apply across all of these platforms.
Three keys for greater organic traffic
Use SEO in blog posts you’re already writing to go where your audience is instead of publishing whatever you want and expecting them to find you. Find out what keywords they’re searching and use those words to inspire topics on your website or blog! Then, optimize the body of your content for search engines so your target audience sees your content. We’ll tell you exactly how to do this.
1. Find your keywords.
Start by making a list of five blog posts that you want to write. Include the title, the end goal, and a blurb about what it will cover. Run these through a keyword-planner— Google provides a free one when you sign up for a Google Ads account. This tool tells you how popular a word is based on search volume. Then look at the search traffic and competition of keywords that are relative to your brand and industry and make sure to account for the following:
- Too much search competition, and you’ll never rank against other content on the topic.
- Not enough, and no one cares enough to search it.
- Topics that are popular (higher volume of searches) but have a medium to low amount of competition are the sweet spot!
- Google Trends is a great free tool that breaks down the popularity of searches in Google and gives you an understanding of what people are looking for online, which ultimately can help you choose what to talk about on your site. For example, if you input a topic, it will tell you key phrases with high search volume around that topic.
2. Implement Keywords.
When starting to use keywords for SEO, there are tons of great resources to check if you’re implementing them effectively. Yoast is a great SEO tool with a free version that does everything you need. Focus on doubling down on your keywords in three main areas of your content: the slug, titles, and meta description:
- Slug. This is everything after the backslash in a URL, it identifies the specific page you are on. This is your first priority for implementing keywords. It is the first thing Google looks at when crawling the web. Cram as many rich keywords in here, and ditch the bridge words (no ifs, ands, or buts!)
- Titles. The second place you want to be sure your keywords are incorporated is in your title. Try getting your keywords as close to the left as possible, ideally the first word.
- Meta Description. This is the blurb of text that previews what your site or page is about when it pops up as a search engine result. Same deal here. You want this to grab attention, while still using the same keywords throughout.
3. Optimizing Body Content.
The third place you want to implement SEO is into the actual body of your content. This is less important than using keywords, but abiding by the guidelines outlined below when you can is another way you can ensure a solid ranking from Google.
- Length. Aim for about 1,000 words in a blog post. Google looks at your word count and ranks it as more valuable based on the amount of characters.
- Page Headlines. Headlines and subheadlines are looked at closely by Google. These help readability and SEO. It’s nice for people, and the robots too.
- Bullets. Search engines see lists as high quality.
- Image Alt Text. Pretty much SEO, but for images. This is the copy that shows up in place of an image if the website is down, or taking a long time to load. This is another place to use keywords to drive to your site. Without image alt text, Google will not know what your image is.
- Links. Both inbound and outbound links are great to incorporate in your body, because referencing credible sources will make your site more credible by search engine standards. Aim for at least three outbound links per post.
If you’re just starting out with SEO, don’t stress if you don’t see immediate results. It is a continuous process and long-term traffic strategy. It boils down to your keywords, how you choose them and how you implement them. SEO is a strategy that you can expand upon at any time. You can revisit blogs from a while back and still use these same tactics to improve its effectiveness.
Let us know how it goes.
In your corner,