On this article, we’re going to be giving a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) how-to guide for beginners. Before we do, let’s discuss why SEO is such a powerful strategy in 2016 and beyond, if you’re not yet aware.
Search engine optimization is a marketing strategy, that’s clear. So in order to understand the importance and realize how to use SEO to your advantage, we need to first clearly define what marketing actually is.
The best definition I’ve ever heard of for marketing is: marketing is reaching the right person at the right time with the right message. This is really the only time marketing works.
Let’s look at some marketing strategies to make this example clear.
Billboards, it’s a way of reaching a huge amount of people. On highways, there’s thousands of people a day passing billboards. Now in 2016, pretty much everyone is ignoring billboards, but that’s a topic for another day. The only time billboards work, is when someone already has a need and the ad catches their eye, and when it’s good, it gets them to take action. The right message, at the right time, to the right person.
TV ads, another way of reaching a big audience. Again the person is usually only interested if they already have a need or desire for something. A good ad again will bring that out in them and inspire them to take action on the ad. The right message, at the right time, to the right person. There are also good ways of reaching the right person, the problem is people are very quickly tuning out, or more likely, not even watching the commercials, but again that’s a topic for another day.
Facebook ads, this is probably the most unique push marketing method we’ve ever seen. The ability to find exactly what people are interested in, combine those interests, makes it so simple to reach the right person. The missing pieces are the right message, and the right time. But knowing for sure you’re reaching the right person makes it easier to get the other two pieces into place.
Now back to search engine optimization and how this fits in the definition of marketing. When someone searches for something on Google, that means they’re interested in it, so they’re the right person. And if they’re searching for it, there’s a good chance they want it now, so it’s the right time. So all that’s missing is the right message. But when you know you’re talking to the right person, at the right time, you can’t ask for a better opportunity to deliver the right message.
Let’s give you actionable steps to take for beginners in Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
1) Know your market
If you’re trying to sell your product or service, you need to first know if there’s a market for it. In SEO, it’s pretty easy to find out if there’s a market for what you offer. If people are searching for it, then you have a market! To know if people are searching for what you have, just search for “google keyword planner” in Google, type in the keyword(s) you think people are searching for and see for yourself if there’s a market.
2) Know what Google wants
Let’s get one thing very clear, Google does not care about your business or my business. Google cares about one thing: their user’s experience. They want to make sure that their user’s are getting exactly what they want from their favorite search engine. So make sure when you right about a certain topic it relates exactly to what they are searching. Don’t right about dogs if they’re searching for cats. That’s an extreme example and it sounds simple enough, but it can get more complex and difficult to figure out.
If people are searching for something and they click your page before someone else’s, this tells Google that you have what people want, and Google will push you up the search engines. So you want to make sure your title and meta description are written in a way that will convert. The meta description is just the description underneath the title on all the search listings.
Here’s an example of how we used this to our advantage when people search “SEO referral program”. Sorry for the poor quality, to see it more clearly just search SEO referral program in Google.
You see our site at the bottom (#5 on the 1st page) it was lower at one point and we were still getting clicks. This is because we titled exactly what they were searching for, and we wrote the description in a way that will inspire them to click our site over others.
Now we can fine tune it even further by adding something in the title like Make As Much As $1,500 Per Referral. And that’s what marketing is all about, testing, seeing the results, and fine tuning it to make it better.
Here’s another huge golden nugget. Google wants their users to have a great experience, right? Well, 50% of visitors are now using Google on their mobile devices, so if you’re site doesn’t look good on mobile, Google will penalize you for it. They don’t want their users having a bad experience with a difficult to use site. But they created a tool to help me and you out. It’s called the Mobile Friendly Test, you simply type in a url and it will tell you if the site is mobile friendly are not.
How else can you give Google what they want. Content. Natural, authentic content. People are searching because they want information, so if you don’t provide information, you’re not giving Google’s users what they want. This is why blogs are so effective. It’s a lot of focused information, and when you do a good job and get other people to talk about your blog post, this tells Google that you’re giving their users what they want.
That’s basically it. Know your market and know what Google wants.
Even though it’s only 2 steps, much more work is involved in figuring out the depth of these two steps, and my belief is that this article will put you a huge step in the right direction of figuring this stuff out.
As a side note, Google is always changing their algorithms, just like anyone who wants to succeed should. The world is always changing so it’s our job to adapt and change to stay ahead. That’s a huge reason Google stays ahead.