Search engine optimization (SEO): It’s not scary. We promise. It’s also not just another buzzing trend or silly acronym to forget. SEO is proven to drive real results so focusing on a few SEO tactics is important to strengthening your website.
The good news is that small brands and marketing teams can adopt SEO strategies that impact business growth. SEO can help push the ROI needle without investing thousands.
We’re going to give you a few quick and actionable SEO tactics to get you started on your search optimization strategy right away.
What is SEO?
Let’s first begin with a working definition:
“SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
That’s how Rand Fishkin, CEO and Co-Founder of Moz -- a massive SEO tools, resource, and community -- defines it. And we like it.
To clarify, organic, in this sense, means unpaid. Organic website traffic is made up of the online shoppers who are finding your website through a regular old search engine like Google or Bing. They are not arriving to your site because they clicked on a paid ad or campaign. The more organic search, the better. It’s less expensive and ensures your place as a top search-ranking company.
The key though is not to get just any traffic, but quality traffic. Quantity doesn’t hurt to start, but you want traffic that is likely to convert. You want your site visitors to take an action by signing up for your email newsletter, or even better, making a purchase.
SEO Tactics in Action: How to Boost Your Website’s Traffic
Here are some affordable ways small marketing teams can work to grab a piece of the SEO pie.
1. Choose an Ooptimized Domain Name
Start with the basics by getting a domain name that describes the type of work your company does. A domain name is your web address. It’s helpful if you use words your audience typically types in to find you. The web is no place to hide your business; it’s the place to let it shine, so don’t keep secrets. Tell people what you do and be clear about it.
For example, if your Chicago-based shoe company is called Jack’s Shoe Store, you might select a domain like “JacksChicagoShoes.com.” This includes the location, name, and the product you’re selling, making it easy for customers to find you.
Pro Tip: If your company already has a domain name that can’t be changed for whatever reason, consider buying additional domain names and set them up so that they point back to your original site. This is a helpful way to capture those additional search terms.
2. Measure and Set Goals with Analytics
If you’re not keeping an eye on site analytics, you have no way of knowing if your SEO (or other digital marketing efforts) are having any impact. Know where you’re starting from and follow your site visitor trends as you go.
Google Analytics is a free tool that will create a unique embed code for your site. Among a variety of metrics, Google Analytics will share site visitors, audience demographics over customized time periods.
Here, Google Analytics is showing an overview snapshot of this sample website’s traffic from Q3, 2017. If you know, for example, that your website averages 80 or 80,000 visitors, it provides you a benchmark from which to grow.
3. Create Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
A title tag is another way to let your audience know who you are and what you do. In many instances, this is a potential customer’s first impression of your business.
Here’s how Underground Creative Group’s title displays in Google. You can see the title plus the type of work we do as an “inbound marketing agency.”
A meta description is a quick summary of a given webpage. You can (and should) create a unique meta description for every page on your site. For example, here is the meta description for our homepage:
These concise descriptions pop up in search engine query results and are a free way to display exactly what your company does.
4. Create Content
There’s a reason you’ve been hearing a lot about content marketing. It works. Content marketing generates 3X as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less!
Less about specific keywords or pushing your audience to purchase, content marketing aims to deliver resources your audience needs and may be searching for. Content can encompass marketing assets that include everything from blog posts and forums to webinars, quizzes, and polls. By its very nature, content marketing is educational, not promotional.
Arguably the most effective form of SEO, websites with blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those not publishing.
Pro Tip: While it may at first seem overwhelming, we recommend starting out small to test what works. Share the content creation responsibility among your team. Maybe one employee writes one short blog post per week to begin. Kickoff topic ideas might range from product reviews, the latest company news, or answers to frequently-asked-questions (FAQs). Keep it light. The only important thing is to keep creating relevant information.
5. Link Frequently (and Appropriately)
Whenever appropropriate, link back to your own content. Links to and from your company’s social networks, email newsletters, or blog can help you expand your reach to connect with more potential online customers. Do avoid linking to unrelated third-party websites, which can reduce the authenticity or credibility of your business.
6. Go Mobile and be Responsive
For the love of all things, please be absolutely certain that your website is responsive and readable on mobile devices. This means that the content on your website should be easily viewable on varying-sized screens on multiple device types.
Globally, mobile website viewers are increasingly surpassing traditional “desktop” users -- 71% in the US! If your site is not responsive, you will lose significant traffic.
Automate your SEO
If all of this sounds a bit daunting there are a variety of products available to help automate certain aspects of your SEO strategy. There are several tools available to help automate part of your SEO strategy.
We recommend HubSpot, the industry leader in inbound marketing, to help take digital engagement measurement and customization to the next level. HubSpot’s built-in SEO features enable companies to gain a personalized view of how consumers engage with a website. Measure your content’s impact with integrated tracking so you know what works and what doesn’t.
Choose one of these tactics and get started. You may find that even a small move could result in a big impact, but you won’t know for sure until you test what’s best for your website, product, and team.
One thing is for certain, SEO matters -- assuming you want to continue ramping up your business and increasing sales.
For more SEO tactics and advice on how to run successful campaigns, download our free ebook.