If you’re looking to improve your business visibility on search engines, It’s probably a good idea to start by taking tips from the mother of all search engines themselves — Google.
Now, you might just be starting out on your business journey and you’ve heard the acronym SEO thrown around here and there, but you aren’t really sure what it means or how it can help you grow your business.
Well, we’re going to fix that today.
First, let’s define SEO, then I’ll explain how it can be a powerful addition to your marketing strategy. Afterward, we’ll get into some of the suggested best practices by Google.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s the practice of making web content easier to read for computers so that it can more accurately match a person’s search intent when they type in a search engine like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and others.
The beginning of where all the magic happens is in the search bar (in this example, Google’s). As soon as you start typing what you’re looking for, Google is already working on matching relevant searches it thinks you’ll find helpful.
What SEO does is “optimize” your content so that it’s easier for Google’s algorithm to “understand” what your content is so it can point people to you if it’s relevant and helpful. Since computers aren’t like humans and they can’t understand abstract ideas, we have to help computers understand content by following certain standards.
For example, computers can’t understand what an image is showing unless we use words to describe that image (artificial intelligence is making this less true as the technology develops but that’s another matter).
Below are the results that Google populates when you search for “How to make banana bread.” You might wonder, “How did Google decide these were the best or most relevant content for that search inquiry.”
Technically, most people don’t know the exact formula that Google uses to show top-ranking search results. But we do know that there are some best practices that Google themselves suggest. Also, there are tips and tricks from seasoned SEO experts that can be followed to increase your chances of getting ranked higher in search results.
We’ll dive into some Google best practices this time and save the tips and tricks for another time.
Before we do that, let me convince you why SEO can be an important addition to your marketing plan and how it fits into your marketing strategy.
How SEO Fits In Your Marketing Strategy – And Why You Need It
Good marketing is really about getting exposure to your products or services, which ultimately leads to a sale and a customer that becomes your advocate (someone who gladly recommends your products/company to others because they love it).
You can have the greatest product or service in the world but if no one knows about your product, you’re dead on arrival.
To get exposure, there are two large buckets that marketing falls into:
- Outbound marketing
- Inbound marketing
Outbound marketing – Also called interruption or push marketing means that you’re using marketing strategies that directly target customers with your product or service. Examples of outbound marketing are:
- Paid Advertising
In these cases, you the business owner or marketer, are interrupting a customer to get their attention in attempts to get them to buy from you. It’s not a bad marketing strategy and works well if done right, but you will face more opposition and resistance from customers.
Inbound marketing – Also known as indirect or attraction marketing. Inbound marketing is the process of getting customers to come to you through content creation in the form of information or entertainment. It’s a great way to engage customers by providing value. Content can be in the form of images, video, audio, or the written word on platforms like social media, blogs, forums, etc.
Different Approaches, Different Outcomes
SEO falls into the inbound marketing bucket. If you’re only doing outbound marketing, adding inbound marketing could exponentially grow your business and one of the tops skills for inbound marketing is SEO.
The two marketing approaches are obviously very different, the results also vary too. While outbound marketing takes a direct approach and drives immediate results, inbound marketing takes an indirect approach which takes more time to see results. But, it has a more evergreen nature to it, and efforts compound over time bringing sustainable growth.
This means the content your creating, lasts indefinitely. When you write a piece of blog content, that content will last as long as you want it to. You’ve created the content one time, and you’ll continue to see results from it even years down the road. Also, as you create more content, your authority, and visibility compounds bringing you more attention.
SEO Your Way to Success
So how does SEO play a role? Well, it’s one thing to create valuable content, BUT it’s a whole other thing to get your content seen by your target audience. Just like a great product or service, if you have incredible, mind-bending content that you know will blow your audiences’ mind away, but no one is engaging with it, it doesn’t matter how great your content is, it won’t be seen.
That’s where SEO comes into play. SEO supercharges your content so that it’s optimized for search engines. This means using keywords within the headings of your post, keywords in your post itself, and some other best practices we’ll discuss, you’ll be able to get more people to see your content, which means more people that will see your products or services.
Google Best Practices For SEO
Now that you’re familiar with SEO and see the need to incorporate it into your marketing strategy, we can lay out the best practices from Google for beginners in SEO. You don’t have to become an SEO expert, but by just implementing basic SEO tactics into your website and future content, you can greatly improve your odds of target customers finding your products or services.