Search Engine Optimization

The Nuts and Bolts of SEO and Why it Matters to your Business

SEO means showing up and standing out in the search engines so that what you have to offer is united properly with what people are looking for. Everything can now be found online, that means that people looking for your business or industry will be searching on Google to find answers. While numerous options will pop up on the list in Google, most people end up clicking on one of the top three results.

The problem, however, is that now a clutter of ads, instant answers and maps have forced down the listings that used to naturally appear visible in the rankings—making it even harder to get noticed in the online maze of important search terms. So many businesses are simultaneously competing for the pittance of natural rankings that are left. Creating a website and publishing content is simply not adequate—SEO is critically important for achieving the results you need. This reality, along with the highly competitive nature of SEO, creates a challenge.

Today, if you want to rank for important keywords that drive qualified leads from search traffic, you need a properly designed and implemented SEO strategy. By honing in on specific informational keywords, you can provide prospective customers with helpful content to build brand awareness, and grow your leads list.

SEO tips for solid leads to your business site

1. Conduct a thorough keyword research. Keyword, simply put, is just a descriptive of what people are typing into Google while searching—an important aspect of SEO. You will need to understand and target these words to maximize your efforts by knowing what specific words you want to rank for. You can then make the appropriate changes to your website content to reflect that. Keeping location in mind is important when conducting your keyword research.

  • Navigational keywords: when the searcher is looking for a particular site
  • Informational: when the searcher is seeking more general information.
  • Transactional: when the searcher is aiming to make a purchase.

2. Understand site and page structure. Your navigation must be organized correctly with properly formatted individual pages. The most effective structure is pyramidical, with the home page at top, then categories and individual pages therein. Anchor text is the clickable text of a link. Anchor text is used to assign a rank to the page that is being linked to.

When formatting pages, pay attention to title tags, meta descriptions and H tags.

  • Title tags: keywords near the start show how the page fits what is searched for.
  • Meta description: small paragraph under page title to attract clicks.
  • Header tags: structure the web page into sub-headers

3. Design transactional and investigational landing pages. Transactional and landing page keywords found during your keyword search should drive traffic toward a specific conversation. The importance is to capture the user's contact information by adding value. And, finally, a call-to-action that compels the searcher to make contact.

4. Create the perfect blog content for your informational keywords. It is ideal to place numerous pieces of content of the same or similar topic, but using different keywords so that search engines can find it.

  • Assess questions your prospective customers would commonly ask and Google them.
  • Review Google’s “People also ask” questions for related search terms.
  • Look on Quora for questions about your businesses’ industry.
  • Use short and to-the-point sentences at a non-complex reading level.
  • Use an easily readable font size (20 to 22 point).

5. Make your site mobile-friendly. At least half of users will likely access your site from a phone or tablet. Google now looks for the mobile version of a site first instead of the desktop version when placing search results.

  • Your site should load quickly.
  • Place the most important information above the scroll line.
  • Buttons should be large enough to tap easily.

6. Optimize your site for lead generation. Your business will not benefit from all of these efforts if your site is not generating leads by including lead generation forms and a call-to-action at the bottom of each page.

7. Get listed in third-party website applications. Getting other sites to link to yours is beneficial (link building). As are links from other sites that point back to yours (backlinks).

8. Get high-authority backlinks. The two most effective ways to get the best backlinks are via guest postings and infographic promotions. Reach out to sites and blogs in your businesses’ industry, offer free content and link to your site within that content.

9. Create and optimize your Google “My Business Listings (MBL).” A critical aspect of local SEO is maintaining an up-to-date Google (MBL). It pulls your business name and contact information as well as reviews from your MBL profile that influence your rankings. It is helpful to keep your information current, respond to online reviews, add posts and upload photos. It often comes from a variety of sources to display relative information to searchers. This is another way of getting prospective customers.

10. Get citations. Citations are an online reference to a business that features its name, address, and phone number (NAP). Google uses NAPs as ranking signals for local search items.

11. Get reviews on Google and Yelp. When people see good reviews, they are far more likely to go to your business’ site and contact you. These online reviews are not just important for search rankings, they also build trust.

12. Use schema markup. This is code placed on your website that helps search engines better understand the contents of your page which Google recognizes, such as contact information that it uses to check that your Google business information is correct.

13. Optimize images for better search visibility. In order to help your site show up in search results that rely on a heavier use of images, add keywords to the image title, file name and alt text of your images.

  • Be descriptive in the file name
  • Use PNG or JPEG file formats
  • Choose the best alt text (appears in its place if the image can’t be displayed.

14. Create and promote videos that help increase your online presence. Video content is an important tool for gathering interest. YouTube has vast exposure, and is the ideal place to house them. 

  • Geo tag them
  • Include contact information
  • Post them on Google Plus
  • Link to your site

15. Analyzing your SEO results
Use Google analytics to understand where your traffic is coming from and the behavior of those who are searching. Use Google Search Console to find out how many impressions and clicks you are getting for keywords and what your ranking is with them. Make sure to follow them regularly for the primary indicators of performance.

  • Rankings
  • Traffic
  • Conversions

Worth the effort

This all sounds like a lot to take in, not to mention, a whole lot of work. But once you have your site set up properly and maintain a best practices regime, your business will reap the rewards with much more targeted and higher qualified leads.