The Key to a Successful SEO Strategy

Did you know that 53% of all traffic visiting your website comes through organic search and only 10% from digital advertising? That makes organic traffic, which is a function of search engine optimization (SEO) critical for the success of your business regardless of industry, market, or size. If you’re not discoverable online, you limit your reach and, therefore, your profit potential since you can’t sell to consumers who don’t even know you exist or have forgotten about your brand. Whether you’re a small local shop or a multinational corporation, search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial in attracting potential customers to your website. But what exactly are the keys to a successful SEO strategy? This article explores the fundamental principles that can help propel your website to the top of search engine results pages (SERPs). So, buckle up and read on! You’ll also find more depth and insights on creating a successful SEO strategy by browsing the topic on my website.

crafting a website
Image courtesy of Webfx

Why you should care about SEO

As a small business owner, it might not seem obvious that you should care about the amount of traffic visiting your website, especially if you provide physical goods or services in the real world. If you sell through a physical location, you might assume that you don’t need an effective web presence but that isn’t true. In fact, some sources propose that up to 81% of purchases begin online. So, whether your customer checks out sale prices online, needs a phone number to ask you a question, or wants to see local shopping options, even shoppers who ultimately shop in your physical store want to find information online before heading out.

Hence, even small local businesses that don’t sell online, need to be discoverable online. If your links show up on page 4 unless the user enters your business name, you won’t gain any traffic to your website or YOUR STORE from new customers. Without a discoverable website on the first page or so of SERPs, users might even question the legitimacy of your brand.

The next reason you need a successful SEO strategy is that SEO traffic produces one of the highest conversion rates (between 2% and 5%) of any traffic source, second only to email marketing. Thus, not only does SEO send more traffic to your website, but that traffic is more likely to convert than traffic coming from almost any other source. That’s because a user’s intent behind their search is frequently to make a purchase.

Discoverability online depends on a successful SEO strategy just like discoverability offline relies on location. You’d never locate your business in a bad area or somewhere off the beaten path because prospective customers will never find you, so don’t ignore SEO to help prospective customers find you.

As I said earlier, 53% of your website traffic comes when users search the internet looking for something related to your website. As you know, search results run into the millions, with each page containing a rank-ordered list of the best websites related to your search query. But, effectively, users only select links near the top of the SERPS, as you can see in the graphic below.

organic traffic
Image courtesy of Backlinko

What is SEO?

SEO involves a series of efforts combined into a cohesive strategy that ensures your links show near the top of that list, thus sending more traffic to your website. Despite all the hoopla surrounding other traffic sources, organic sends more than all the others combined so you can’t afford to ignore SEO.

Although ranking happens automatically (mostly) in the background, it might help to understand a little about how content gets ranked by search engines. This post focuses on the Google ranking algorithm since more than 90% of all search queries use this search engine. Let’s start with creating a piece of content and work in order.

  1. A creator publishes a piece of content, whether it’s a video uploaded to YouTube or a page on your website (posts are simply another page of your website).
  2. The Google web crawler (a small piece of code called a spider) constantly scans the internet looking for new pieces of content.
  3. The crawler isn’t human, so it uses elements like your meta tags and headings to figure out what the content is about. With AI, this categorization of your content will likely become more nuanced and serve users better. It adds this information to a massive database for use when a query is submitted by a user looking for specific information.
  4. A user enters a query. In the past, this was a single word called a keyword; now, keywords are longer and more conversational as users employ voice search through tools like Alexa.
  5. Google (or another search engine used ) tries to interpret user intent by parsing the keywords and finding matches for content related to user intent in its database.
  6. Google displays a rank-ordered list of results and does it at the speed of light. This rank-ordered list is the key to why Google rates supreme among search engines. Over time, users discovered they got more valuable results by trusting Google to serve up answers to their queries first.
  7. A user chooses a link or a few links near the top of the SERPs.

What makes a successful SEO strategy

Now that you understand a little about how SEO works, let’s talk about how you can build a successful SEO strategy for your business. We’ll explore what’s in the complex algorithm Google uses to rank content (see the graphic below)  and how you can optimize your chances of landing that coveted first position.

successful SEO strategy

Investing in professional SEO services provides invaluable assistance in developing and executing a successful SEO strategy. Whether you’re a small business owner or a marketing professional, partnering with professional SEO services SEO professionals can help you achieve your online marketing goals and drive sustainable growth for your business.

Keywords

Kewords drive SEO. When the keywords used in creating your content match those in the user query to demonstrate user intent, you will show up in SERPs. How well you match your keywords to user intent is a ranking factor.

Besides creating good content, tweaking on-page elements is important for SEO success. This means ensuring elements like title tags, meta descriptions, and heading tags match the words users employ in constructing their queries. Plan to include your keyword about every 250-300 words within your content and use image tags that include your keyword. So, it’s like giving search engines clear signs about your website, making it easier for them to show it to people searching for similar things. By doing this, your website has a better chance of getting noticed and ranking higher in search results.

Choosing the appropriate keywords is more art than science. You can use the free Google Keyword Planner (part of the Google Ads platform) to find keywords and get suggestions for additional keywords, as you can only use a keyword once on your blog. Otherwise, you compete with your own content. That’s where longtail keywords come in and, with the increased use of voice search, keywords are getting longer.

The sweet spot in choosing keywords is to find ones with a large number of monthly searches and a small amount of competition. Also, using keywords with less competition and a larger number of queries helps you show up more frequently. Of course, you normally have to settle for the best keywords you can find as the perfect ones often don’t exist.

Content is king

Top-notch content stands as a cornerstone in a successful SEO plan. Content packed with useful info grabs attention and relates to your audience, brings people to your site and makes them want to return. When crafting content, the key is to give your audience something valuable. This might mean writing helpful blog posts, making interesting videos, or designing helpful infographics. The goal is to offer content that your audience finds meaningful and worth their time. When you do this, you attract more visitors to your site and build a loyal following that keeps returning for more of what you offer. Google uses signals that visitors find your content valuable since a robot can’t determine quality.

Over time, the optimal length for content has grown. While not a direct ranking factor, longer content with internal and external links to show the content was well-researched is deemed more valuable to visitors and earns a better rank.

Building quality backlinks

A big part of making SEO work well is getting good backlinks to your website. Backlinks are links from other websites that lead to yours. Search engines see these links as a sign that your website is trustworthy and important. So, the more backlinks you have from good and related websites, the better your website might rank in search results. It’s like having other people vouch for you in a way. Getting backlinks from well-known and relevant websites can help your website show up higher when people search for things online.

Mobile-friendly design

As more people use mobile devices to browse the internet, having a website that works well on mobile is super important for SEO. Search engines like Google like websites that are easy to use on phones and tablets, so making your site mobile-friendly can boost how high it shows up in search results. This means ensuring your website loads fast on mobile and looks good on screens of all sizes. By doing this, you’re making it easier for people using mobile devices to find and use your website, leading to more traffic and better rankings in search results. So, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is key to SEO success in today’s digital landscape.

Local SEO

For small businesses primarily serving a local market, Google provides tools only available to local businesses. Google My Business is one of these tools. When users in your local area search for products you offer, local search kicks in to provide a map of local businesses, phone and address information, customer ratings, and links to your website, your menu, and any other information you provide. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to compete online.

boost trust with content marketing
Photo by Erik Scheel from Pexels

Regular monitoring and adaptation

Finally, it’s crucial to regularly monitor and adapt your SEO strategy to keep up with changing search engine algorithms and industry trends. This may involve conducting regular website audits, analyzing competitors’ strategies, and staying updated on the latest SEO best practices. You can continually refine and optimize your SEO strategy to maintain and improve your website’s search engine rankings over time.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the key to a successful SEO strategy lies in understanding the fundamental principles of SEO, creating high-quality content, optimizing on-page elements, building quality backlinks, designing a mobile-friendly website, and regularly monitoring and adapting your approach. By implementing these strategies effectively, you can enhance your website’s visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic to your site.

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