Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is using organic search results to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website.
SEO allows you to target the audience that you’re looking to draw in. Through SEO practices, you can understand your customers, and ensure that you’re providing the kind of content that they search, organically.
What is organic traffic?
SEO is an important part of any digital strategy. Optimizing your website for search engines increases your ranking, or, how close to the top of the page your site is, when someone searches it organically. This is done using strategic keywords, character counts, and other SEO practices that are optimized for search engines, with your audience in mind. In other words, optimized content still speaks to your customers, while speaking the search engine’s language, too.
As with any business process, there are “rights” and “wrongs” when it comes to SEO, too. In this post, I’ll be going over the dos and donts of SEO, and how you can optimize your business in the most efficient way possible.
Target and Rank for Specific Regions
It might be tempting to want to sell to everyone-why limit yourself?- but this spreads your reach too thin. When it comes to SEO, targeting specific and relevant regions is a great way to bring in traffic.
For instance, say you own a hair salon in Berlin. Having all your content and metadata with keywords such as “hair salon” will bring in a lot of impressions-that is, people who are searching those terms. However, the search engine might put your website to the bottom of its list because you aren’t relevant to most of those searchers. Maybe a lot of the traffic is people in France, England or even Munich searching “hair salon”. To them, a hair salon in Berlin isn’t relevant, even though “hair salons” are. It’s much more effective to use target keywords that also include location, such as “hair salon Berlin”.
Targeting specific regions will also help you to rank for those regions. Continuing with the previous example, a hair salon in Berlin will never make it to the top search result for every single person searching “hair salon”, in the world. They could, however, rank first for everyone searching for hair salons in Berlin, specifically. Being top of page is important-but being top of page doesn’t always mean top of every page.
Target Too Wide of an Audience
As discussed, targeting a wide audience does more harm than good. This can bring in traffic that you don’t want, which decreases your credibility. If your content is not relevant to the majority of the traffic that it attracts, the search engine will classify it as “low quality” content.
Avoid this by targeting a specific region and audience.
Create and Manage Link Building Campaigns
Another great way to bring in traffic and increase your domain authority is through link building.
Link building is the process of reaching out to targeted prospects, and asking for them to link back to your website.
The more high-quality links you acquire (ie. websites with high domain authority that link back to you), the higher the search engine will rank your own website. Essentially, having a strong backlink profile marks you, through the eyes of a search engine, as a credible source.
When you’re creating a link building strategy, ensure you’re selecting the right prospects. That is, relevant targets.
Tip: target blog posts! These are always about very specific or niche topics, and are often the easiest way to win a link.
While link building is a great practice to increase your online visibility and domain ranking, there are ways that it can be done wrong. Some people are buying and selling backlinks.
This is absolutely not the way to go about things. Not only is it wrong in the moral sense, but buying and selling links is in direct violation with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Failing to follow these guidelines by buying or selling links will be penalized.
Use Relevant and Specific Keywords
A common theme in SEO is relevancy. Using relevant and specific keywords in turn, attracts relevant and specific traffic. Going back to the example of a hair salon in Berlin from earlier, use keywords such as “hair salon”, or “beauty salon Berlin” in your copy. Don’t use keywords such as “hair” or “beauty”. Using language that isn’t directly relevant will attract leads that aren’t directly relevant. If your hair salon is ranking for the search term “hair”, you might only be bringing in traffic that is looking for hair products, for example. Immediately, they would exit your site because a hair salon is not relevant to them, thereby shooting your bounce rate through the roof. This is a great demonstration on how it’s not always about the traffic and leads-it’s all about the conversion rate.
The bottom line here? Use keywords that speak specifically to your business, and it’ll attract customers that have that specific need, too. Lots of traffic isn’t as important as lots of relevant or quality traffic: ie., traffic that is more likely to convert, and bring you a profit.
It’s great to optimize your content through relevant keywords, but be careful not to take it too far!
Keyword stuffing is the process of overusing keywords to skew the Google search results in a website’s favour. This is an example of SEO practices being misused, often done to increase the ranking of a website.
Keyword stuffing is not condoned, and should never be considered a viable solution to increase your ranking. Even if it does increase the ranking, temporarily, the traffic will bounce due to the irrelevant, or oftentimes illegible content.