When someone wants to find your website, the first thing they will probably try is an internet search. It’s estimated that 75% of customers won’t navigate past the first page of organic search results. A strong search engine optimization (SEO) management plan will help you stay at the top of the list.
Spending time on SEO management can also improve your credibility, enhance your other marketing efforts, and help you stand out among your competitors. You might already be doing SEO. Take it further with SEO management tools to refine and enhance your strategy for better results.
SEO 101: The Basics
If you’re already doing some level of SEO, you are likely familiar with the basics. If not, here is an introduction to SEO, including steps you can take to improve yours.
What Is SEO?
SEO has strategies you can use to make your website more visible on the internet. When someone searches for similar businesses using a keyword or phrase, Google and other search engines use algorithms to determine if your website is a credible match.
SEO signals to search engine results pages (SERPs) that your website is relevant to certain search terms. For example, when someone searches for a local car mechanic, SEO management lets you optimize your website and content to pop up every time.
What Is Involved in SEO?
At the minimum, your website should include keywords and phrases that might show up in an internet search. Adding them strategically to your website copy without overuse lets search engine algorithms know your business is relevant to a specific search.
Adding content to the mix through other platforms, including blogs, videos, and social media, helps establish your business as a relevant search result and improve search engine rankings. These tools also help you establish yourself as an expert in your field and increase your chances of being cited on other websites.
What Is SEO Management?
SEO management usually refers to how you plan, organize, and implement your SEO strategy. This entails evaluating your current online presence to see how you can improve your traffic. You or your social media team will typically research your website, social media, and content platforms. You will also research your competitors and generate a list of keywords and phrases to include on your website and in your content.
This can be done in-house, or you can use an agency to deploy your SEO strategy. Since SEO is ever-evolving, you will likely need to regularly refine and update your strategy.
5 SEO Management Steps to Optimize Your Search Performance
It’s not enough to be familiar with SEO basics. Your competitors are likely optimizing their own online presence for SEO. A robust SEO strategy that includes the following steps will improve your chances of outperforming your top competitors online. Don’t risk getting lost on page seven of search results.
1. Know Your Audience
Like with other parts of your marketing mix, researching your audience is a key part of SEO. When you know what potential customers want and need from your business, you can craft your digital presence around these wants and needs.
Target market research helps you get into your audience’s minds and answer their questions before they even ask. Tailoring your website to address your target audience will improve your credibility and enhance your online presence.
You’ve probably researched your target audience as part of your other marketing efforts. But in SEO management, you want to think about what they would be searching for online and how they would stumble across your business in the SERPs.
Think about the following when you’re researching your audience:
- What are they looking for from your business?
- What are their common pain points and problems you can solve?
- How do they view your competition?
- How are they searching for you?
- What are their demographics?
Answering these questions lets you define who you want to bring to your website and devise strategies to get them to you.
2. Know Your Competition
One of the main goals behind SEO management is to rank highest in a search engine. Other companies in your market may rank higher in search results. Their brand may be stronger, or they might just know how to do SEO better. Whatever the reason, you need an idea of what they are doing in terms of SEO so you can stay competitive and potentially outperform them in search results.
SEO management tools like keyword competitor analysis can help you measure how you stack up against other businesses in your field. There are many different metrics you can measure, including:
- Keyword gaps
- Popular content
- Social media analysis
Start by using different keywords and combinations of phrases to find your business, and make a note of competitors who show up consistently. Use different search engines, including Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Safari, to see how you measure up in each.
Next, look at your top competitors’ sites and see which pages are the most popular. Use SEO management tools to look through their analytics and see which keywords draw people to your competition. This will help you identify keyword gaps you might have in your own SEO.
Look through search results for competitor backlinks. Backlinks are external links posted on other websites. If someone references your blog in their article or blog post and adds a link to your website, this is called a backlink.
Backlinks are a great tool for boosting SEO because they help establish your business as relevant to an internet search. Knowing what kinds of content people are referencing from your competitors will give you an idea of how to improve your own content strategy.
Along with your top competitors, take note of others who aren’t directly competing with you. For example, a jewelry shop and a pawn shop might be included in a search for “fine jewelry.” As the jewelry owner, your top competitors aren’t pawn shops, but they could still show up in some searches for your business.
Once you’ve defined your target audience and identified your competitors, you can move on to step 3.
3. Optimize Your Website
Your target market research and competitor analysis should give you a better understanding of the keywords and phrases people are using to find your company online. Improve your performance by optimizing your website, including these keywords and phrases in natural spots on your website.
Keywords and phrases often appear in subheadings on various website pages, product descriptions, and the company overview. You want to include them wherever you can, taking care not to overload your website. Including too many keywords, especially using language that sounds unnatural, can cause search engines to move you down in the search results.
Start with your homepage. If you have a lot of subpages on your site, it may take some time to optimize all of them. So start with the homepage, and follow with the pages that get the highest level of engagement.
Optimize your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers. Your title tag is an HTML code tag used to title your webpage. When someone searches for “fine jewelry,” they might see your title tag in the search results as XYZ Jewelers: Fine Jewelry.
A meta description is a short page overview below the title tag. Keep it short, preferably around 150 characters. Think about how you would describe the page in a Tweet. After optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers, look at your images. You can add keywords to your alt text and captions to improve your SERP performance.
Once you’ve edited all the pages on your website, focus on your external content. Publish compelling blog posts and social media content to further enhance your credibility. Do a backlink analysis on your own business to see what people are linking.
Check the links to make sure none of them are broken. If you find broken backlinks in your search, contact the business that linked your content and ask them to fix the link.
4. Track Your Results
SEO optimization doesn’t improve your performance in an instant. It might take some time for your search engine ranking to improve. Once your site has been optimized, you should notice that you’re performing better in searches.
But over time, your competitors might continue to improve and leapfrog over you. Perform regular SEO audits to gauge how you’re doing among your competition. You might find that keywords have shifted based on emerging technology like voice searches and others.
Regularly measuring your SEO performance will help you keep your website and content optimized, so you’re consistently coming in at the top of organic search results.
5. Consider Local SEO Management
If you’re operating a business with a physical location, you need to consider optimizing your site for local SEO along with typical organic searches. Local optimization helps your business pop up in searches “near me.”
Local searches make up nearly half of all Google searches, and many people search for local businesses on mobile devices while they’re out. Local SEO management will help you appear in searches for “Mediterranean food near me” and similar searches if you operate a Mediterranean restaurant.
To optimize your website for local SEO:
- Update your listings on Yelp, Google My Business, and other local databases.
- Make sure your address, phone number, website, and hours of operation are correct and consistent.
- Make sure your website is responsive on mobile devices.
- Include local keywords in your SEO.
- Encourage satisfied customers to review you online.
Proximity is one of the most important factors in local SEO. Listing your business correctly on Google My Business, Yelp, and other databases helps you pop up on maps and other local search tools. A Google My Business listing lets a potential customer see your location, hours of operation, website, and phone number in your Google Maps listing.
Voice searches are growing in popularity with the rise of virtual assistants in mobile phones, smart speakers, and other household devices. Generally, voice searches are more conversational than typical internet searches. Where a person might find you online by typing “Mediterranean restaurants in Houston,” they might ask “what’s the best Mediterranean restaurant in my area?” to their digital assistant.
Think about potential questions someone might ask a digital assistant, and include them in your meta descriptions, titles, tags, etc.
Incorporating local keywords in your website can be tricky because it’s not always natural. If you can, add references to your location in headings, subheadings, and other website content.
You can also improve your local search results with content that centers on your area. Consider partnering with another local business and doing a series of cross-promotional blog posts, or make a video about a local charity you work with.
Put location-specific content on your website. You can include:
- A map and driving directions
- Hours of operation
- Parking instructions
- Customer reviews
Location-specific content helps establish your website as a relevant local search result.
Let Redstitch Help You Manage Your SEO
If you’re like a lot of fellow business owners, you’re likely juggling multiple marketing duties while trying to serve your customers. SEO management can be time-consuming, but it’s important to analyze SEO from multiple angles to generate new leads and find new business.
If you’re ready to optimize your SEO management strategy, let RedStitch help. We offer multiple tiers to meet your specific needs. You can use our data collection and analysis tools to research your target audience and competitors.
Once you’ve figured out your gaps, we can help you develop a content strategy to improve your SERP ranking and make it easier for customers to find you online. We can also help report on relevant metrics, so you’re always at the top of your SEO game.
Contact us today to find out more information.