SEO stands for search engine optimization, and you'd be surprised to know how many people are skipping over this crucial component of their marketing strategy. So if you're one of those people, let's get you on track. We're going to explain this crazy SEO stuff and what it means.
What is SEO and what's so great about it?
Starting a business involves a lot of moving parts. You've spent so much time on research and development, you've likely worked through the trials and tribulations of producing and finalizing a product, and you've got great online presence.
You're not done yet, though.
So, let's get into it...
Let's start with some stats. Did you know that there are 3.5 billion searches on Google every single day? By the time you finish reading this, a million searches will have already taken place.
Not only that, but every individual person searching for answers on Google does it with a specific intent. That specific intent is made evident by the words that they type. So, the key to SEO is listing those phrases and making sure that when potential customers type those phrases, your website is what comes up. That's it. That's the game.
You gotta find out what your customers are searching for...
The first step is to get together a list of phrases that your potential customer might be using to find products and services like yours. Those are called keywords. Once you figure those out, you'll need to "rank" for those keywords so that you appear on the first page of google searches. They say the best place to find a dead body is the second page of a google search. Grim, but true.
So for these keywords, try to be as specific as possible. As you narrow down your keywords, you start to reduce the number of people searching for that phrase. If you're just starting out, even 50 specific searches a month can be good. There are tools that you can use to check the volume of your keywords and we highly suggest finding one that works for you and your budget. Ultimately this all requires some trial and error, but looking at keyword rankings can be a great place to start.
How do you convince Google to rank you?
Now that you have a list of keywords, we need to understand how Google works. For this, I would like to take the analogy of a library.
Let's say you want to research about photosynthesis. The most relevant books would likely have "photosynthesis" in their title itself or at least in the title of the chapters. That might give you hundreds of books. To narrow it down, you might want to know the number of times the word photosynthesis appeared in the book. That's not a bad way of explaining how Google does its indexing. Instead of the book & chapter titles, it looks at the "Page title" and also the headings on each webpage, with total keyword occurrences on that page also taken into account. Therefore, you would want to optimise each page by including a keyword in these places. Naturally, this is called "On-page optimisation".
Since we might still have tens of books and require a way to order them, we now need a second level of ranking. So you might reach out to your friends and ask them for a reference. It is very likely that the book with the most references is the one you pick. But not all such endorsements are equal. Some friends might be more reliable than others and their opinion would have greater weight. Now, replace friends in this analogy with other websites, and references with links that other websites give to yours (also called backlinks). More reliable friends are popular websites, such as Forbes and TechCrunch. While Google doesn't publicly share the reliability scores, some companies (Moz & Ahrefs) have formed estimates called Domain Authority or Rating. It can be a maximum of 100 and the higher the better. Last nuance. Some friends might say that while they have heard of a particular book, they can't speak for it completely. Even backlinks are similar. Some websites might be comfortable endorsing you ("do-follow" link) and some would not ("no-follow" link). Bottom line: you need as many backlinks (preferably do-follow) from high domain authority websites.
What should you do, now?
So, that's the short of it. All that's left to do is start executing. Your next steps should be:
Making a list of keywords
Optimising your existing pages for those keywords and/or creating new pages
Getting backlinks to your website.
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