If you’re a small business owner or a blogger, you’ve probably heard about SEO before. It tends to get thrown around online a lot, and the general assumption is that you know what SEO is. But I’ve discovered that most people have either never heard of SEO or they don’t know what it is. More than that, most people don’t understand why SEO is important.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It basically means creating your content with intention and creating a website that is user-friendly. There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page. Off-page SEO has to do with things that happen away from your site such as link-building which is when other sites link back to yours. We’ll be discussing on-page SEO today which is basically everything that happens within your site.
The most basic aspect of SEO is keywords. Keywords are words that basically tell search engines what your content is. Having keywords throughout your site helps search engines send the right people to your site. Picking the right keywords is crucial to any SEO project. If you’re looking to understand how to do keyword research, The Content Factory has a great article on the subject.
It’s incredibly important that these keywords happen organically. This is why in-depth content is best. It allows keywords to happen naturally. You never want content that is unreadable because it is so stuffed with keywords. Not only does this drive away readership, but Google knows what you’re doing. Keyword stuffing will hurt your ranking so watch out for that.
Now, I’m not going to lie. These bits can get complicated fast because it involves all the technical aspects of your site. You can go down the rabbit hole for sure, but we’re not going to do that here. But there are a few things to pay attention to even if you’re a small-time blogger.
The main one is site speed. Your website needs to load properly and quickly which means your images need to be compressed. There are many sites that do this, and you can do this automatically with Canva Pro. The other thing to pay attention to is navigation. It should be easy to navigate your site and find what you need. Headings and a good menu help with this. Both issues apply to desktop and mobile.
Another small thing you can do is pay attention to your alt-tags and your URLs. You want to make sure all of your pictures have alt-tags because search engines also pay attention to things like that. Likewise, your URLs (along with your titles) should have the keywords you need. Each page also needs a meta description which you can edit using a plug-in like Yoast SEO which is great for helping you figure out on-page SEO too.
Why Should I Care?
Basically, you should care because SEO brings organic visitors for your site. Organic visitors are visitors you didn’t pay for and visitors that didn’t have to find you through social media. SEO is what allows people to find you naturally. SEO means that when someone searches wedding photographers in New Hampshire, you actually show up.
Beyond that, you never want to rely on advertising or social media to bring in all of your traffic. I’ve heard horror stories of bloggers losing access to their Pinterest accounts and losing all of their traffic. You need people to be able to find you without you having to point to yourself constantly. Not to mention, SEO is free.
How Do I Improve My SEO?
This starts with your content pages. You should make sure that your homepage, about page, and services pages are hitting the keywords you want to hit. This means that they clearly spell out who you are, where you are, and what you do. Every page you write should be a minimum of three hundred words in order to properly rank in search engines. Pay attention to the things we’ve already talked about like alt-tags and keywords.
Let’s break down keywords a little more because they are crucial. You typically want to target long-tail keywords because they’re more effective. Long-tail keywords get less traffic on search engines, but they are better for driving the right people, meaning potential clients, to your site. It’s also easier to rank for long-tail keywords. It’s much harder to rank for “caterer” than it is to rank for “outdoor wedding caterer.”
The number one way to improve your SEO is through blogging. Blogging allows you to hit the keywords you want to hit in multiple areas, and search engines love great content. They love it because it allows them to quickly find what they need. If someone asks a question, and you have the answer, Google wants to find you. They want to show your content because it will give their users what they’re looking for. In-depth blog posts are a great way to drive organic traffic to your site. Blogging also means that you’re constantly updating your website and providing more pages to index which is another thing that search engines love. They assume that if you’re constantly updating your site, then you must be providing timely content.
SEO is important no matter what kind of business you’re running. Why bother creating a website if no one can find it?