What activities bring website traffic and leads to your website? Email marketing? Social media? Referral traffic? Directory listings?
Would search engine optimization (SEO) be one of those activities?
If the answer is “I WISH!,” know you’re not alone.
SEO is one of the most coveted, yet most elusive, ways to bring in qualified traffic and visitors to your site. The problem is, it’s often pretty confusing to implement due to misinformation, myths, and misunderstandings that run rampant. However, all hope is not lost.
3 Core SEO Elements to Success
As a former-freelance copywriter-turned-SEO-Consultant, I empathize. While SEO woes cannot be solved in one blog post, I’ve put together 3 of the biggest THINGS about SEO you should know to get SEO success and maximize your efforts:
- Understand the Fundamentals: I get a lot of people who come up to me and say, “what’s the point of SEO? Things change all the time.” Well, I beg to differ. The core fundamentals, the basics of the basics, have not changed in a number of years. Most SEO changes have to do with shiny objects, advanced techniques, and off-page SEO which should only be looked at after you’ve done core optimization essentials. Two free resources that require a few hours to hash through (but are worth it) are Moz’s “Beginners Guide to SEO” and the SEO guide straight from the horse’s mouth, Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.”
- Benchmark to Get an Idea of Where You Are: When is the last time you looked at analytics? While most know to look under the “organic keywords” report, I suggest you look under the “Search Engine Optimization -> Queries” report to see what words are in what average position, and what words bring you clicks. If you’re not seeing the words you want to see (the keywords that your target market is most likely using to find the products, services, and information you offer), then you need to revisit your content strategy and website copy. If you need help choosing keywords that are results-oriented, practical and attainable, check out my free report on how to choose keywords in 7 easy steps.
- Evaluate Your Copy from a Truly Honest Place: You cannot get SEO results with outdated, company-focused, anonymous, bland copy. There are just too many websites competing against you that have conversion-oriented, target market focused, persuasive, keyword optimized kick-butt copy that empathizes with the prospect, draws them in, recognizes their pain points, and seamlessly introduces them to the services or products that can help sooth those pain points. Along with evaluating your copy on your homepage and services pages, get a feel for how welcoming and authentic your site is. The days of being anonymous are long gone. These days, when SEO visitors land on your site, they are especially attuned to anything that screams “sketchy.” Their finger is poised on their mouse ready to hit the back button should they have any inkling or doubts about your legitimacy. You immediately need to reassure your visitor that you are a real company by having: social media icons, social proof by way of affiliations, badges, testimonials, logos of association membership, etc. And finally, please turn attention to your “About” page. I know from looking at analytics of business sites day in and day out that “About” pages are among the most popular pages of your site. A good one will close the sale for you.
To sum up, understand the fundamentals of SEO so that you’re not wasting your time on outdated, ineffective techniques; understand where you are so you can create a realistic plan of where you want to go; don’t be anonymous, write to your customer using first and second person “you” and “I,” and understand your market’s triggers and needs.
SEO isn’t easy, but when you have your perfect prospects who reach out saying, “I want what you’ve got,” it makes it all worthwhile. For more tips on SEO, check out my SEO blog for website marketers and business owners.
Have a beginner SEO question? Please ask below. Or, if you are a SEO expert, please post you best beginner tip below.