Starting an online business is equally thrilling and stressful. There’s nothing more exciting than getting your first blog comment, growing your email list and making your first sale, but trying to do #allthethings can be overwhelming.
Many biz owners shy away from learning about SEO (search engine optimization) because it it seems too technical and confusing. Having a baseline understanding about what SEO is and how it works is essential to running an online business.
This starter guide will explain:
- What SEO is
- Why you should care about it
- SEO Basics to get you started
What is SEO?
SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo will find your content and rank it highly for certain keywords.
Search engine bots “crawl” your website’s code and record information to be included when someone is searching for content to share. They navigate between pages using links and read a website’s code that includes written content, multimedia and tags. While crawling a website, they evaluate a long list of items to determine where your site will fall in search rankings.
Why should I care?
When someone clicks on your website from Google, it is free traffic to your website. By adding some SEO strategy to your website, you will be able to bring even more free traffic to your website. The more visitors to your website, the more your business is able to grow.
SEO will enable your ideal clients to find your services and/or product. But, your ideal client won’t just stumble upon your website until you do the work.
As search technology evolves, it is becoming more human-like. Google wants you to continue using their search tools, so it wants to ensure that the search results returned to you are what you need. As search engines become more human-like, the more variables of your website SEO takes into account.
A Well Designed Website
When you start thinking about SEO, the first place to start is your website.
Does your website load quickly? You have around 2 seconds before website visitors lose interest.
When someone lands on your website, do they know what it’s all about? What is your blog about? What services do you offer? Make it obvious. If people don’t know what you have to offer, they will quickly exit.
Is your website easy to navigate? Are people easily able to navigate from your home page to where you want them to end up?
Having high quality content is another website must. Search engine crawlers are always looking for fresh content. Blogging consistently and producing original, high quality content will help your search engine rank.
Humans are visual people, so adding images or video to a blog post is always a plus. It is important to note web crawlers are not able to see the content of images and video placed on a website, so be sure to add alt tags. Learn more about image optimization for SEO.
Selecting the Right Keywords
Once you have your site design and content strategy down, you want to begin to select keywords for your pages and posts. You should select one keyword for each page or post. When determining the best keyword, start by thinking about how your ideal client might be searching for something.
For example, if you wanted to share a blog post about your favorite drinks to enjoy by the pool, you might consider keywords “pool party drinks” or “splash-tastic drinks”. As cute as “splash-tastic drinks” is, it is not a term people will search for. A tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Google Trends can be used to help you select the best keyword for your content. (Note: You must have an AdWords account to use Keyword Planner, which is free to set up.)
Links to Your Website
Just like Google wants to make sure you have updated content, it also wants to make sure people are interested in it. Search engines look at the number of links coming from other websites to your site to consider how valuable the content is.
My favorite way to get links to my website is by guest blogging. When you guest blog, you are able to share quality content and get your website in front of a new audience. Learn more about links to your website.
When you begin to employ different SEO strategies, you should begin to see your site traffic increase. Once this happens, start thinking about different tactics you can use to keep visitors on your website longer. This way, they’ll get to know you and your offerings better. Make it easy to sign up for your email list so you can keep in contact with them long after that first Google search.