Search Engine Optimization or “SEO” is the process of improving your websites organic (or natural) ranking on search engines. By ranking higher on search engines, your organic listing will generate more traffic to your website. You might be asking yourself, “Isn’t that what paid search does?” Yes, and Paid Search is important but there are a few big differences. Clicks on your organic listing don’t cost anything, unlike paid search. For most companies, an investment in SEO is a more cost effective long term solution. Good SEO also builds your perceived leadership position in your market space. Look at it from the customer perspective… A business that resides at the top of the first page of Google that didn’t pay their way to get there, must be experts and leaders in their field. The more exposure you have on the Search Engine Results Page, the better that exposure builds your brand. Weather or not you are actually a leader, human perception reigns.

Here are six tips to help drive a successful SEO effort:

1) First things, first, what are the top keywords you should be ranking for? Turn to your paid search performance for this. Paid search can give you excellent insights as to which keywords are performing in the real world. Using Google Analytics to further evaluate keyword performance takes some of the mystery out of identifying your best keywords. To supplement this, consider also using a keyword tool like Google’s Keyword Planner or Moz’s Keyword Explorer. These tools can help you find out what customers are actually searching for, instead of just what you think they are searching for.

2) Do you have a great website? Of course, having a good website is the first important step before implementing any kind of digital marketing effort. But even the coolest, most modern website may not be optimized for search. Google doesn’t care how cool your website looks and in fact, they don’t even look at it …with human eyes. Google and other search engine crawlers look at your website through “spider vision”. With Spider Vision, they are looking for keywords and related terms – where are they used in copy, internal links, titles, meta data and elsewhere. This process is of course, on-site optimization.

3) Off-site optimization relates to everything else you do outside of your website to improve it’s rank. Link-building is probably the most effective tactic but be very careful to avoid solutions that seem too easy. Link farms are unscrupulous pop-up businesses, often overseas that promise hundreds or thousands of inbound links to your website. This is considered by Google to be a “Black Hat” tactic and one that can get you banned from Google. No, really. If it seems too good to be true, don’t do it. Better yet, rely on a trusted professional for your SEO.

4) Create Unique Content: Content is key (aka, King) for great SEO strategy. Creating your own content shows that you know your stuff, and makes you a resource for anyone else in your industry who may have questions about your products or services. Content creates opportunities to increase the number of inbound links to your site which will improve your SEO. Another great way to increase inbound links is to post on Q&A forums like Yahoo Answers and Ask because the information you put up there will further illustrate your expertise in your field.

5) Use website analytics: It’s important to know if the work you’re putting in is producing results. Before getting started with SEO (or any digital marketing tactic) use analytics to take a baseline. Where is your traffic coming from – organic, direct, paid, social media, inbound links, etc. and how good is that traffic? Analytics allows you to track the value of all visits based on what each visitor does after s/he hits your website. Evaluate time on site, number of pages viewed, key pages viewed (such as the contact us page or pricing) and any form of engagement that occurred such as a download, email signup or chat session. At AdEdge, we use Google Analytics every day to evaluate our client digital marketing performance and optimize according to what’s working and what’s not working. Over time, analytics will show you the increase in the volume and quality of website traffic and other goals that happen over time, whether you are doing the work yourself or have someone internally or externally doing it.

6) Be Patient: While not paying for clicks to your site is certainly appealing, it takes time to get there. Patience is key when implementing an SEO plan. Go “all in” on the effort and if done right, you will eventually see your position rise!

We hope you learned a thing or two about SEO strategy in this article. If you would like to learn more about SEO or get some ideas about other digital marketing tactics that may perform well in your industry, give us a call or  schedule a meeting with one of our experts!

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