Many people make the mistake of seeing search engine optimization (SEO) as a specialized area that has little to do with other aspects of your marketing. In reality, SEO is closely related to everything you do to promote your business online. Let’s look at why SEO is actually inseparable from your entire marketing strategy.
How SEO is Impacted By Your Prospects
Your visitors and prospects play a crucial role in SEO. Visitor behavior can have a large impact on your SEO. This includes factors such as engagement and Click-Through Rate (CTR). Your CTR refers to the percentage of people who see your listing in the search results and actually click on it. It’s obviously good for you to have a high CTR, as it means more traffic to your website. A higher CTR is good for SEO because it informs Google that your website is relevant to people searching. One good way to improve this is to focus on creating a compelling meta description (which is another important SEO factor of its own).
The amount of time your visitors spend on your website is another factor that can impact your SEO. If you have a high bounce rate, this indicates people are quickly leaving your site. The best way to avoid this is to provide great content and make your site easy to navigate. You can measure engagement by using tools such as Google Analytics. If you want detailed information about where visitors are engaging and how long they’re spending on each area of your site, a heat map is a very useful tool.
Your Website and SEO
Your website design and user experience (UX) are important for on-page SEO. Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind.
- Easy navigation. You want to make your site as simple and intuitive to navigate as possible. Menus should be easy to find, with pages accurately named. Make sure visitors can return to the homepage from every other page on your site. Avoid having too many menu options so as not to confuse people.
- Page loading speed. Google uses page loading speed as a ranking factor. If your site takes too long to load you’ll also tend to lose visitors.
- Mobile-friendliness. You should be using responsive design so that visitors can access your site using any device. Test this using the Mobile Friendly Test.
- Optimize your images. Images help to make your site more interesting. However, if they are too large, it can slow down your site. You should also optimize your images using keywords in the alt-text.
- Internal linking. Linking to other pages and older posts keeps your visitors on-site longer and also helps you build authority with Google.
- Short and descriptive URLs. Use relevant keywords in your URLs to make your posts and pages easier to index.
These are some of the ways that website design and UX impact SEO. The main thing to remember is that all of the factors that improve your visitors’ experience also help you rank better. Google is increasingly rewarding sites that are user-friendly and that provide the best possible content. That said, let’s look more specifically at the role of content in SEO.
Content and SEO
Content marketing and SEO are really inseparable. This is truer now than ever before. While other factors such as backlinks are still important, Google now focuses on rewarding websites that provide the greatest value to visitors.
There’s some confusion about this issue as some people believe that content marketing is distinct from SEO. This is looking at things from an outdated point of view from when it was possible to rank your site by gaming the system — for example, by keyword stuffing or buying lots of low-quality backlinks. This approach is no longer effective since Google began cracking down on “black hat” SEO tactics. Here are some of the ways you can make your content more SEO-friendly.
- Write compelling titles. Titles are essential for captivating readers, and they also carry a great deal of weight for SEO. Use keyword-rich titles. You can gain some additional leverage by using interesting H2 and H3 headers in your articles.
- Emphasize topics and content over keywords. When you cover subjects that your audience cares about, you’ll naturally include the most popular keywords. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to also do keyword research using tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner tool. However, remember that your focus should be on covering your topic in an interesting, unique way rather than using the right keywords.
- Create longer-form content. For SEO purposes, longer posts have an edge. This doesn’t mean there’s no place for short blog posts. However, you have a better chance of ranking posts that are 1,000 words or even 2,000+ words. This is another way that Google rewards sites that provide more in-depth content.
- Include quality links in your content. Both internal (as discussed above) and quality external links to authoritative sites add value to your content.
Content Distribution and Promotion
Writing your content is only the first step. If you want to get the maximum results, you also have to implement a strategy for distributing and promoting your content. This can help you rank as you accumulate backlinks to your website. Here are some ways to get more attention and leverage for your content.
- Build your email list. Email marketing is a powerful way to send traffic to your website. As your email list grows, you can direct subscribers to your latest blog posts and other content.
- Share content and links on social media. You can’t ignore social media if you want to reach a wider audience. Best of all, if your followers share your content you have a chance to pick up new visitors. Visual content such as photos, infographics and videos are more likely to be shared on social media than text posts. Focus on the social media sites where your audience is most active. Aside from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, you should consider Reddit, which is sometimes categorized as a news aggregation site rather than social media. Post on subreddits that will help you connect with your audience. One tip to remember on Reddit, however, is not to be overtly promotional.
- Repurpose content. Once you have a blog post, don’t stop there. You can get more mileage out of a post by turning it into an infographic or video. There are various tools that make it easy to turn a blog post into a video. Another idea is to put a collection of blog posts together and publish it as an e-book on Kindle.
- Connect with influencers. Identify popular bloggers, authors, podcasters, YouTubers and anyone influential in your niche. Don’t just ask them to promote your content. Develop a relationship with them by mentioning and linking to them in your own content. Follow their accounts and make helpful comments. Over time, you may find that they return the favor by sharing some of your content.
SEO and Conversions
While SEO and conversions may seem to be separate realms, in reality, they’re closely connected. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) works hand in hand with search engine optimization. Conversions are really a key aspect of engagement, which we looked at in the first section.
Ultimately, conversions are even more important than traffic. Your goal, after all, is not to simply get website visitors, but to get customers. It follows from this that all of your SEO efforts are really designed to optimize conversions. All of the SEO factors already discussed are helpful in this regard. However, when it comes to conversions, you need to focus on some particular points.
- Make sure you’re targeting the right audience. If you’re getting traffic and clicks but a low conversion rate, you may not be reaching the right people.
- Identify a goal for your content. Are you trying to make a sale, build your brand or obtain leads?
- CRO is specifically impacted by a strong call-to-action. Always make it easy for your audience to take the next step in your sales funnel.
- Don’t distract your audience. A cluttered web page makes it harder for people to focus on your CTA. Similarly, don’t give people so many choices that it confuses them.
SEO actually gets simpler when you understand that it’s closely connected to your overall marketing strategy. As a rule, Google rewards content that provides the most value to its customers. You can help the process along with links, keywords, meta descriptions and other tactics. In general, however, you’ll find that the most user-friendly your content is, the better it will rank.
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