With millions of people using Google and less popular search engines to find products, services and information about companies, one key to success is for your company to show up on the first page of search results, if not among the top three entries.
This is done through creating an informed SEO or Search Engine Optimization strategy. This opens the door to creating a company and business website that provides an optimal user experience and provides you with data that you can use to increase website traffic, sales and brand awareness.
With many businesses offering a hybrid experience across brick-and-mortar headquarters and e-commerce sites, creating a SEO strategy can drive customers to both. Think about it. Even fuel delivery companies allow you to order a delivery online. And for new customers, an online search is often the first step in deciding how, where and from who to purchase products or services. In 2018, 63% of shoppers looked online first, according to research published by online marketing firm Think With Google. That percentage has only increased since then.
But creating a SEO strategy and compelling meta descriptions can be complex. While Google has tools and analytics to assist, wading through SEO research to find what will work best for your business can be frustrating and time-consuming. And, if you don’t get it right, all that time and effort is wasted.
8 basic ways to use SEO to drive your customer base:
1. Create high quality content directed at web users:
Write shorter paragraphs. Limit paragraphs to three or four sentences.
Use different sentence lengths. Longer sentences are more difficult to follow on a computer, phone or tablet screen. So, mix them up with shorter sentences for optimal readability.
Use sub-heads. With website visitors spending less than 45 seconds on a page, using short, bold-face sub-heads throughout your content allows the user to scan the page and quickly find the content or product they’re looking for instead of switching to another site on their search page.
Use white space. A crowded web page makes it hard to focus on the content that is there. Graphic designers have long known the benefits of creating white space around content blocks, and SEO writers have seen the benefits when calculating bounce rates — the percentage of visitors who leave a site within seconds of their landing.
2. Track your website. Google Analytics lets you measure performance, track your traffic metrics, and see what content is performing. This information is vital in calculating what is bringing potential customers to your business site. Then, you can formulate your next steps to turn potential customers into actual ones.
3. Create specific goals.
Time-stamp your goals. A time-stamped goal would be to Increase organic traffic to product pages by 13% by December 2021.
Keep goals relevant. Your goals should be a part of and match up with your overall strategic plan.
Make goals measurable. Set goals that can be quickly measured to calculate their success. If you’re not reaching your goal, then you can tweak your SEO strategy, as appropriate.
4. Include compelling long-form content. Whether your site offers wrenches or a multi-tiered service package, longer content in the form of blogs or white papers keeps users on your site and sharing your content.
5. Research and learn from the competition.
Type your product or service into Google to see what sites come up. Who is writing for top placement on Google?
Next, view the top websites that Google showed to see how they structured their content. Are there many sub-headings? Do they rely on bulleted lists? Do they offer a mix of long-form and short-form content?
6. Build your metadata. Website metadata consists of a page title and meta description for every page. Google and other search engines use this information to determine whether your website is relevant enough to display in search results.
Stay within recommended character amounts: Meta titles should be 56 characters or less. Headings should be 20 to 70 characters. Descriptions should be 156 characters.
Base your meta description on a successful keywork strategy. If certain keywords are performing well, based on the analytics, write your meta description around them.
7. Include Calls to Action. Increase traffic by including simple actions your audience can engage in:
Sign up for a free trial or sample.
Sign up for a newsletter.
Chat with a representative.
Make a one-click purchase.
Answer customer questions.
8. Integrate with social media.
Include Share buttons for FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media. A Share to social media is free marketing and advertising, so take advantage of it.
Start an internal program that rewards team members to Share on their social media networks.
Creating a Search Engine Optimization or SEO strategy is key to harnessing the power of the internet to market your company, product and services.