We will learn about what is SEO, for which businesses it is an important channel, how to start in SEO, and what tools you will need to set basic things up.
What is SEO
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of optimizing content to be discovered through a search engine’s organic search results. It could be Google, Bing, Yandex, or any other search engine, where people can search for information or services. Google is the biggest one globally, so generally, it makes sense to optimize for it.
There are two options to appear in Google: paid search results and organic results. Advertisements always are marked with the Ad or Sponsored signs.
Organic results are always free, and you could not pay to appear in the desired position.
SEO is the technic to make your site appear in organic search results.
What is the optimization and how Google works
Google try to show the best answer to the users query.
For example, if you search for “Nike sneakers”, you will have a list of pages about, where to buy them, news about models, etc.
Or, if you will search for the best universities in Italy, you will have university sites and maybe some ratings from media or governmental sites in your search results.
You can test different search queries, and you will see that there are only 10 organic places (or 11) on the first page of Google.
So if you are e-commerce shop selling sneakers, you for sure would love to be on this list of the results. With this task, SEO can help you.
The optimization is to make your site visible in search results for the related to your business keywords and show Google (and in the end the user) that you have the best content on the best site in the search about sneakers (or one of the best).
The optimization is to make your site visible in search results
Do all businesses need SEO
Among exceptions, it can be startups with innovative ideas about which nobody knows, but even in this case, it is possible to find keywords about the solution.
It also could be a case that you need to show traction fast. As SEO is a long-term game, paid advertisement (PPC) will be your channel.
If you have not found yourself in these two situations, then you can benefit from SEO: have traffic, leads, and clients with this channel.
How to start with SEO
Zero step will be to set up the site, buy domain and hosting, but let’s deep-dive in the SEO itself.
There are 4 important components of SEO:
It is super important to understand what are queries (or keywords) people can search in to find about your company of services.
Ex.: if you have an e-commerce store with outdoor clothes and gears, people can find you by keywords like: hiking shoes, clothes for trekking, etc.
It is also crucial to check related non-money keywords like “what boots I should have for hiking”.
The content is the one pillar of success. You need to understand:
what your target audience looking for,
how to answer it the best way
on which keywords to target based on competition
and where you have higher chances to get on TOP-10.
When you create great content and have everything in place with Onsite SEO (meta tags, descriptions, etc.) Google (and users) should know that you:
they can trust you.
When you open the offline store, generally, you will have a sign "We are open".
Also, you share information about the store with different people.
Links are the “We are open and working" sign to Google and the trust mark. If somebody mentioned you, it makes sense to show your site in SERPs. Not that simple, but you get the idea :)
Ideally, link building is not just to have links but also to gain authority and traffic.
Your goal is to find places where you can tell about your business and have links.
It could be high-quality directories, blogs, or newspapers.
Tools: Ahrefs for competitors' analysis and Google/Google News to spot relevant media.
The next part of successful SEO is tech elements. The first thing is to set up Google Search Console and check if all pages of your site are indexed so Google can rank them and show in SERPs.
There are other important parts of the tech SEO:
Avoid duplicated content
Have in index only high-quality pages with the relevant content.
The general idea of the tech part is like the inside of the car. A car can look super modern (it is our content and design), and a lot of people will recommend it but, if on the tech side you will find some issues, you would not be a happy driver. Nobody likes to wait for a site to be loaded in the browser, or receive a 404 error when opening the page you expected to answer your question.
Tools: Google Search Console to check indexation and errors.
UX (User Experience)
The fourth part of a successful SEO strategy is UX. If the three other pillars are about how to attract people (and search engines to show your site), UX is about how users interact with your site and do the like the content and navigation.
Let’ use our example with a car. Even if on the tech side everything is okay, but it is not user-friendly, you would not buy it.
Same with the sites: if you could not find the information you are looking for or how to make an order, you will just come back to SERPs and search for another more friendly site.
For example, I hate advertisement banners, which cover a big part of the page, and I would not stay and read the article just because the site does not provide UX I expected.
Main things to keep in mind:
Start with content and keyword research
Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Check the indexation of your site
Have relevant links from local directories and relevant media/blogs
Check your UX with basic metrics: Bounce Rate, Time on Site, and Number of pages per session.
Set up goals in Google Analytics to track conversions.
And in the end - enjoy the process. In long-term, you will have a lot of clients for free with this channel :)
If SEO is the channel you need to have in your business, you can learn more with our free resources or ask for help with your SEO strategy.