In 2018, more business owners are turning to the internet to sustain a steady inflow of new leads and customers. It’s no longer feasible to continue with the same, tired marketing tactics. Millennial’s especially are more skeptical of these tactics and want more honesty out of the companies they patronize.

More people are surfing the internet mostly on their phones and tablets, and far less of them are watching TV and for a good reason. With these demographic changes, how can your business keep up without falling behind? Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, might be the way to go!

What is SEO in digital marketing? In short, it’s all the ways that you optimize your website to show up in search engine results when someone’s looking for a product or a service. In the last twenty years, SEO went from being mostly about having a site with clean code to becoming a massive force in digital marketing, coupled with a greater emphasis on creating valuable content. In this article, we will explain SEO to you in 5 practical ways that make sense and are legit.

1. Search Engine Optimization is Really About Branding and Awareness

The fundamentals of SEO largely haven’t changed much. You still need to have a website that functions well. Customers won’t have much patience for a site that takes an eternity to load on their browser of choice. It also still helps to have a healthy source of backlinks to give your website higher domain and page authority. And yes, keywords are still important to have so Google and other search engines will deem your site relevant to what people are looking for.

However, there’s a big part of SEO that many marketers fail to emphasize, and that’s in branding. When you’re doing SEO, you’re not only thinking about what keywords you want your website to be found. You’re creating a whole marketing strategy where the branding really matters. Branding will determine the type of content you create and what audience you want to appeal to.

Focusing on building a strong brand and product from the start will guide your SEO too. It’s okay to rank high on your branded keywords because those are keywords that your customers will use once they’ve gotten a chance to know your business.

You also want to concentrate on improving the click-through-rates of the meta descriptions surrounding your site. However, how can you do all of this when your business is still new and competing against far bigger brands? Turn to social media marketing and run ads promoting your content and persuading people to give you traffic. In the meantime, your SEO will continue to improve as you add more useful content that matches the search engine user intent well.

2. SEO Is About Keeping Your Customers Engaged

SEO can be summarized in another incredibly simple way: are your customers engaged enough with the website? It’s one thing to have content that has your target keywords and a bunch of internal links, but does any of it actually solve the problem your customers are having? Is it even the right kind of content? These are all questions you must consider to improve the engagement levels on your site.

Engagement can also be determined by how long people stay on your site. What’s the average pages viewed per session? How high or low are your bounce rates? Examining those metrics can give you a clearer picture of whether your customers like your website and what pages need improvements.

Furthermore, your website design should be based on best SEO practices where you make the navigation and buttons easy for someone to use. People want to find things on your site as quickly as possible and don’t have time to second-guess themselves. Otherwise, they will leave and never come back!

3. SEO and Public Relations are a Perfect Match

When you invest in SEO, you’re also investing in your reputation as a company. So much of SEO in 2018 depends on how strong your local presence is on Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, the Better Business Bureau, and any prominent site where customers can leave feedback. The more positive reviews and testimonials you can get, the more likely Google will think your website is credible enough to show up high in its map pack results.

There’s a subset of SEO called local SEO which focuses heavily on these aspects. You can read more about local SEO by reading our guide here. It will show you everything you need to know to take full advantage of these websites and local citations to rank higher in search engines.

How you respond to people and their feedback is also something to note. There are whole rules of etiquette that you should know to provide an excellent customer experience. Even when the feedback is negative or hostile, you should always remain calm and ask the reviewer to clarify what they didn’t like about your business. It’s one of those times where you can kill meanness with kindness, and benefit by protecting your business’s reputation.

4. SEO is About Testing and Experimentation

Following the fundamentals of SEO will set you on the right path towards increasing search engine traffic. However, you must be willing to experiment and be prepared to fail sometimes to grow. Many business owners give up on SEO because they don’t get the quick, immediate results they want. You have to be different by being patient. SEO is a long process that could take in excess of six months to start seeing significant results. It also varies on how competitive your industry is.

The best way you can succeed in SEO is taking some risks and trying out different ideas for blog posts, website content, keyword targeting, and social media marketing. Also, make changes to your website’s call-to-action buttons and site layout when needed to see how people respond. This is called A/B testing and is a highly useful digital marketing technique you should know about.

5. SEO is About Selling Without the Cheesy Sales Gimmicks

What makes SEO so great is that you don’t pay a single cent for the clicks that you get. With that said, you also have to put in some effort to earn the trust of people searching for businesses online through search engines. They aren’t going to be interested in reading pages stuffed to the brim with keywords. What they really care about is whether you’re providing maximum value for them.

That’s why in SEO, you make sure that you have lots of decent content people will want to read and share on their social media. At the same time, you give them reasons why your products and services help improve their lives. This is where strong storytelling makes a difference and doesn’t make your selling appear too obvious.

Incorporating best copywriting principles into your SEO content heightens the possibility of site visitors converting the way you want them to. Also, another critical point to remember has to do with the fact that a lot of content on the internet goes unread because business owners don’t actively promote it outside of their sites. Take the time to share your posts, articles, and website on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to increase conversions and sales even more.

Summary

SEO is far more than about having the right keywords in your content or doing a whole bunch of link building. In 2018, it’s literally your overall branding and marketing strategy rolled into one, with a heavy emphasis on providing as much value and information as you can. No amount of pretty colors or buttons alone will make much of a difference if the content and what you’re selling isn’t valuable or compelling.

You can trust our Atlanta SEO experts at Viridian Geeks to assist you with your digital marketing needs! Call us at 470-440-3434 or email us at [email protected] to get a free SEO website audit and consultation today! Please share this article if you liked what we had to say.