If you have looked into digital marketing in recent years, it’s possible that you’ve heard the phrase “SEO is dead.” However, nothing could be further from the truth. Search Engine Optimization has been the lifeblood of being found through search engine searches for well over a decade and it will continue to be important for years to come. The “dead” part of SEO is attempting to manipulate the signals that search engines use for ranking sites. In recent years, Google and other search engines have caught on to these manipulated signals and worked to minimize the effect of the manipulation and/or penalize those sites that have used those practices, especially in excess.
Relevant, Useful and Important In its true form, however, SEO is making sure that your website is following specific, best practices so that Google and other search engines can see and rank your website. Put another way, SEO is creating or improving your website — sometimes in ways that aren’t visible — so that the search engines recognize it as being relevant, useful, and important in regards to the question asked by a searcher.
When a search engine thinks that your site is relevant, useful, and important to a search query, it should rank well. in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Unfortunately, SEO is not a “one and done” process. It can be a relatively slow process at the outset and requires consistent effort to maintain. Search engines are constantly evolving, and your SEO strategy has to be able to evolve with them. The power of a good SEO campaign is unbeatable, but it is a very competitive and fast paced environment. You should also note that successful rankings and traffic from SEO seldom happen overnight. Instead, you will need to consistently work on your site to make sure that everything is working properly and being seen by search engines. Additionally, you should understand that SEO isn’t really about being ranked number one for one specific keyword. In fact, the best SEO strategies target many different keywords and focus on garnering better traffic, not just more traffic for your site. Think about it, would you rather have 1000 visitors with only 10 converting into customers or 800 visitors with 15 converting into customers. Don’t get so stuck on rankings, specific keywords, and overall traffic numbers that you lose sight of the overall results that can come from your SEO strategy.
Taking it back to our event analogy, SEO is all of the planning that goes in ahead of time to make sure that the event runs smoothly and that people are aware that the event is happening so that they can attend. For example, if you’re hosting a public event, you would want to have the event fully planned and scheduled ahead of time so that there are fewer opportunities for problems to arise. You’d also need to follow applicable deadlines and guidelines in order to make sure that the local newspapers, magazines, and event listings are able to publish information about your event in their events calendars so that people who might be interested in your event can hear about it.
Establishing an SEO strategy is like planning your event. The more thought you put into who you want to attend and how you’re going to let them know about your event, the more successful you’ll be.
Your SEO strategy should begin with these questions:
• Who is your ideal customer?
• Where are they located?
• Where do they spend their time online?
• What words and terms might they use to search for companies like yours?
• What is their likely intent behind each search query?
Once you have a strategy in place, you’ll need to optimize your website. Doing so is like following the rules and guidelines established for having our event listed in event calendars and listings. Typically, you can’t just call The publisher of an event calendar on the day of your event and expect it to be listed. Similarly, you can’t expect SEO to launch you to the top of the Search results overnight. Below, we’ve provided you with some of the most foundational ways in which you should optimize your website to yield long term SEO results.
1. Utilize Relevant Titles and Meta Descriptions
Your titles and meta descriptions are very important pieces of information because they show up in the search engine results. A page’s title is the heading that shows up in the search results and it is also the name that appears on the tab or window when you are on the page in a web browser. A meta description, on the other hand, is the information that shows up below the title in search results. These two short pieces of information are generally the first impression you get to make on a potential website visitor, so make them count.
Page Title: Aquarians Web Services - Digital Marketing Agency
Meta Description: Aquarians Web Services is a premiere digital marketing agency specializing in paid advertising, social media management, and website SEO.
2. Submit an Up-To-Date Sitemap
A sitemap is essentially a list of all of the pages on your website. An HTML sitemap is generally accessed via a link in the footer or header of your site and helps visitors find a specific page that may or may not be accessible through your other menus. An XML sitemap, on the other hand, helps Google and other search engines to better crawl and index your site. By submitting an XML sitemap, search engines are able to discover and index all of the pages on your site more easily. When the search engines are able to crawl and index new and updated pages on your website and blog, your organic search rankings tend to improve.
3. Have Relevant Content on Your Pages
As we’ve already discussed, having relevant content on your pages allows your site to be relevant to searchers’ questions. On-page content needs to be written and presented so that it can be used by your site’s visitors to answer the questions they have. Search engines exist to help people find what they are looking for on the Internet. It’s your job to make sure that the information on your site’s pages is relevant to the questions your ideal customers are likely to ask. Don’t write for the search engine bots though. If your content isn’t useful to real searchers, they are unlikely to stay on your site and become customers.
4. Target Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Business
Your on-page content should include the words and phrases that you want to rank for. If you want people to find your site when they are searching for Blue Widgets, then you’d better have the words Blue Widgets on your site. You should be aware that while ranking for general keywords can be a great goal, it may not be practical due to competition levels and varied searcher intent. Going after less competitive “long tail keywords” can actually be more productive and result in better qualified traffic coming to your site. As an example, instead of targeting just the phrase “Blue Widgets,” you may want to target a phrase like “Blue Widgets for sale in Your Town, USA”.
5. Work to Gain Links from High Ranking Websites
Clear back in the dark ages of the Internet (circa 1997) Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to find a better way to organize the seemingly infinite amount of data available on the World Wide Web so that people could find what they were searching for. In the early days of their company — a small endeavor they named Google — they started looking at links between websites as votes approving of those websites. This groundbreaking idea would eventually become the foundation of most modern search engines. Over nearly two decades, this idea has been refined and become more detailed and complex. Now, instead of simply counting the number of links leading to a specific website, search engines also look at the quality of sites from which those links originate. If the links look “spammy” or are irrelevant to the website they link to, the links will be discounted and the site possibly penalized for low quality links. Links from a .gov or .edu domain tend to be more trusted than those coming from more general domain
types like .com because entities have to prove who they are in order to get these types of domains. Nevertheless, .com sites that are well established and trusted by the search engines also have more weight when it comes to their links. As illustrated in the graphic below, large numbers of links can boost your importance but so can a smaller number of links from trusted and well established sites. In essence, getting links from high ranking and trusted websites is like bringing a popular friend or friends with you to a party: you’re cool by association and the host’s estimation of your popularity is increased.