If you type the word ‘SEO’ on Google, the search engine will spit out 490+ million pages that cover the subject in a way or another. A bit of perspective: that amount of results represents more than what we’d get by typing ‘Hillary Clinton’ or ‘Barack Obama’, whose combined search results – last time we’ve checked – add up to 416 million pages. Surprised? Welcome to the strange world of SEO.
SEO accounts for ‘Search Engine Optimization’, which can be defined as the process of affecting a website’s visibility in a search engine’s results. Shooting straight from the hip, SEO is nothing but making a website look good to the different search engines out there. A SEO-friendly website will rank higher in the list of results, providing the website’s administrator with one of the internet’s strongest currencies: visibility. In summary, SEO is a popular, relatively inexpensive way of connecting businesses to audiences. So what’s the big deal with it, why are so many ‘how to’s’ posts out there?
For the most part, SEO is not a complicated thing. A useful approach is to think of it as making cookies. Almost everybody can list the basic ingredients for making a good cookie, and even do it themselves. But, as it happens, time is a factor that gets in our way to cookies, and instead of baking ourselves we end up purchasing a version or another at bakeries, convenience stores or else. Give or take, the same happens with SEO: it’s not hard to solve the puzzle, but we can’t always have the time to put the pieces together by ourselves.
The goal of this mini guide is not to teach you how to SEO, but to shine a light on the key pieces that are needed to achieve good SEO practices. To recognize if the right pieces are there and the recipes are being followed. Beyond that, it will be your choice to do it yourself or rely on professionals to carry on with the (sometimes) cumbersome work.
- Target Research. Circumstances and context carry a lot of weight when it comes to SEO. Companies must know as much as they can about their audiences – from basic demographic data like location to consumer habits, information is perhaps the best way to improve any SEO strategy. It’s not just about becoming visible, but whom you’re becoming visible to.
- Keyword research. Keywords are important because of two things: first, they let you address your target audience properly. Knowing the words that are commonly used to search for your business unit and how your audience uses such words allow you to connect with them. Other than that, searching for effective keyword alternatives is a wise financial move: some might be too hot to purchase while others might display attractive bidding prices. You can always run your own little keyword experiments with the help of Google and its keyword planner.
- Content health. Updated, relevant content is needed to rank higher on search results. In three words: create, upload and update. That way you’ll stay relevant to the people looking for whatever is that you’re offering. Search engines tend to prioritize updated, relevant content over old stuff.
- The technical bits. Make sure good sites link to your website, test different backlinks to see what works better, tag your content in an appropriate way and please do write great meta-descriptions. Caveat: it’s not nearly as hard as it might sound.
If you follow this four steps you’ll be able to radically improve your website’s visibility, or at least to effectively control the person who’s in charge of doing it. And please, if you have any questions or thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice!