SEO, short for search engine optimization, is a relatively new concept when it comes to marketing, but it has quickly become an essential consideration for virtually every business in today’s day and age. The boom in digital and online marketing over the past decade has revolutionized the advertising industry. If you aren’t taking care of your online presence and branding, you’re missing out on a huge source of potential new customers.
What is SEO?
When building an online presence, one of the first things you’ll want to address is SEO. So, what does SEO actually accomplish? SEO is essentially the process of ensuring that your company’s websites, social profiles, and online business listings are effectively recognized and ranked on Google search listings and results for keywords and locations matching your business. However, unlike traditional marketing tactics such as a billboard or a commercial, a high organic search ranking isn’t something that can just be bought.
SEO is a process, and your website and other online profiles aren’t going to rank number one on Google overnight. Don’t be discouraged though! With a little diligence and the right techniques, your Google search rankings will gradually increase and tons of new customers will be exposed to your business.
Link building is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Besides taking care of your own website and its content, building off-site links to your website should be one of your top priorities. To be clear, an off-site link is accomplished any time another website posts a direct link to your website on their page. For example, if your business was mentioned by a local news outlet in an online article, that news website would post a link to your website within the online article. Another example would be simply listing your company’s website on an online platform such as Yelp or WhitePages.com.
When it comes to link building, it is important to keep in mind quality over quantity. A few years ago, SEO specialists routinely listed their clients’ websites in countless online directories, outdated social media platforms, or literally anywhere else they could find a place to post a link. This strategy doesn’t work anymore, and now Google rewards websites that gain off-site links from more reputable websites. Think news sites, educational sites, and popular media outlets.
One way to look at link building is that you are working as a publicist for your website. You will want to search out any and all opportunities for your business or company to be featured in an online story, study, or feature. What type of events or online promotions will get your company mentioned by other online outlets? These are the types of questions you’re going to have to ask yourself.
The only constant is change
Google’s change in its mentality regarding link building is an especially valuable lesson for anyone just entering the world of SEO; prepare for the rules to change. Google loves to switch up its search ranking criteria and change its approach to evaluating websites. What works right now will probably need to be tweaked in one or two years time. Even if you reach a point where you think your search rankings are in a good place, be prepared to keep evolving your approach and strategies as time goes on.
Content is king
Other than link building, you should primarily focus on creating great, relevant content for your website. Google is looking for websites that can be held as an authority for a subject, industry, or product. The more useful, high quality content and media on your website, the higher your pages will be ranked and indexed by Google.
Creating original content on your website can also help your link building initiatives. If your website is super helpful and engaging on a certain topic or field, it will eventually start to be shared online by other websites, thus gaining you more valuable off-site links.