Digital marketing, Entrepreneurship

The lazy entrepreneur’s guide to SEO marketing.


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What if you could get a steady flow of traffic to your small business website? What if without any form of advertising, you could get customers to check out what you have on your site. And what if when they do get to your website, they find relevant content that engages them and leads to more of them signing up to do business with you?

SEO MARKETING MADE SIMPLE

What is SEO marketing?

If you’re new to the world of search engine optimization ( SEO) you may be wondering right now what in Jupiter’s name is SEO marketing?

SEO marketing includes all the activities you carry out on your website to make it more visible to customers searching for your services on the internet.

Most times, this usually involves a targeted content promotion geared at getting your website to the first page of Google with the ultimate aim of generating more traffic to your business.

This is different from promoting content through pay per click ads on  Google. Pay per click ads as the name implies means that you pay to advertise on Google or other search engines.

SEO marketing, on the other hand, helps your website come up naturally without having to pay for ads on Google.

What is SEO?

To better understand what SEO marketing is all about, we need to define SEO.
SEO is short for search engine optimization, which is the science of improving your website visibility on the internet to drive online traffic to your business.
To make your website more visible on the internet, you’ll need on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. For this article, I won’t go in-depth into all these various forms of SEO. I’ll touch on them briefly so you can understand how they form part of the SEO marketing strategy.
  • On-page SEO: this generally refers to how you make your website content more meaningful and engaging to your potential customers. It includes creating a high-quality website copy(essential). It also includes your site architecture and how well each page on your site links to other pages. Proper on-page SEO would require that you create a website that a user can navigate without difficulty.
  • Off-page SEO: This includes getting backlinks from other higher authority sites to your website. Backlink building is probably one of the most challenging parts of SEO marketing. It takes creating high-quality content that other websites would find useful. If they find the content on your website engaging and valuable, it’s easier to request a backlink or get them to want to link to your site naturally. There are other ways to get backlinks. Some of these methods are not encouraged by Google.
A good example is buying links from link farms. The danger with this is that you could end up buying weak quality links that do you more harm than if you had no backlinks at all. There’s also the risk of getting penalized by Google.If your website gets sanctioned, you lose all your online traffic. It may take a while to recover from such penalties( that’s if you ever).
  • Technical SEO is exactly what the term implies: all the technical bits that improve your search optimization. It includes schema org mark up ( tagging content on your site to make it easier for search engines to understand it). It also includes improving your site speed. There are other, more advanced aspects of technical SEO. You can check this excellent guide to SEO for more information.

How does Google know which results are relevant to a search query?

Google uses algorithms, mathematical calculations that tell it which results are relevant to a particular query.
The Google algorithms have been updated over the years until they can more accurately define a users intent and bring out the best results for that user.
Some years back, these algorithms relied majorly on keywords. If you typed in a query, the search engine came up with results that were a natural fit with your question. Some of these results were not necessarily the ones you had in mind when you typed in your query. For example, back then, if you typed in the word Apple. The answers that would come up would include a mix of apples as fruits and maybe a few Apple tech results.
A lot has changed in recent times. With the advent of newer algorithms, Google can more correctly predict what you have in mind when you type in a search query.
Now if you type in the word ‘apple’, Google shows you more relevant results to your query.
Apple products scree
You can see from the screenshot that the first results you’ll get are not for apples as fruits but Apple tech products.
If on the other hand, you typed in apples. Google understands that you’re most likely searching for results related to apples as fruits, and that is what shows up on your screen.
20190510_202251
Another example is typing in the word restaurant. Google takes this to mean that you’re most likely looking for a restaurant near you and not the definition of the word ‘restaurant’.  The first results you see on your screen reflect that understanding. But just in case what you’re searching for is the definition of the restaurant, Google also throws in a Wikipedia article as you can see on the screen.
20190510_202223
It is also essential that you understand that there are two kinds of search results that could come up on the search engine result page. 
The first kind is the organic results. These organic results are websites that Google believes to have high authority and relevance to your search query. The natural results are arranged in order of how relevant and authoritative Googles algorithms have found them to be.
The second kind of results that show up on the SERPS are the paid ads. These ads are arranged in order of how much the websites paid to Google.
This form of advertising on search engines is known as search engine marketing (SEM).

How can my website come up on the first page?

There are two ways by which your website can come up on the first page for specific search queries. The first is to rank organically for particular keywords.
When you rank organically, it means that in response to a search for your services, your website comes up on the first page of Google.
This can only be achieved through consistent and qualitative SEO.
The second way to rank on the first-page is through SEM( search engine marketing). Your website gets to rank on the first page as an advert in response to specific search queries.

How does Google assess my website quality?

According to this article, Google uses these three major ranking factors – content quality, backlink ( quality and quantity ), and Rank brain to decide if your website is worthy of being on the first page.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase content is king a lot of times. Google ranks high-quality content above low-quality content.
High-quality content is original content that is presented in a new and engaging form, comprehensive in its coverage, and with a high level of authority or expertise.
High-quality content also has a higher chance of being shared on social media and attracting links from authoritative websites. Google uses this level of shares and backlinks quality too to judge the quality of the content on your website.
For your website to rank organically for your services or products, you also need to optimize your site for easy readability, easy navigation, usefulness to your audience, and easy indexing by the search engines.
Readability: How engaging is the content on your website? Is it easy for your readers to follow your thoughts? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes for a minute; would you share the content on your site?
Ultimately, you should build your website with the interests of the end-user in mind. If your web visitors cannot understand or browse your web content quickly, they will not spend much time on your site. This may pass the wrong signal to Google that your website is not user-friendly. As a result, your site could get de-ranked or fail to rank on the first page.
Indexability: Several technical SEO issues could affect Google’s ability to crawl or Index your website. Some of these issues include your site architecture, robots text configuration and site speed. It’s important when building your website that you consider all the above factors. There’s no point having a beautiful website if you have issues with getting it found on Google.
How useful is your website content? : If users cannot understand the content on your website, they won’t spend much time on your site. It doesn’t matter how much authority you have on a subject. If your audience can’t follow your thoughts, they are not likely to stay on your page.
Ultimately, you should build your website with the interests of the end-user in mind. If your web visitors cannot understand or browse your web content quickly, they will not spend much time on your site.This may pass the wrong signal to Google that your website is not user-friendly. As a result, your site could get de-ranked or fail to rank on the first page.

Why does my small business even need SEO marketing?

Traffic
Increased traffic and more conversions to business
Good question! If you’re anything like me, you probably want strong reasons why you need to optimize your website for organic rankings. There are other ways by which you can attract customers to your online business, PPC ads, display banners, etc.
PPC ads are okay, even great when you’re just starting up your business. Display ads are super cool for new product launches or the occasional promo offers. These advertising methods, however, are resource consuming without significant generating compensatory results.
Recent stats show that 70% of your online customers would prefer clicking on an organic result over a paid advertisement on Google.
They may help to drive a fair amount of traffic initially to your site, but this begins to ebb when the ads get stale. Then you’ll need to start another campaign to get another wave of visitors to your website and so it goes up and down, and down and up.
But what if you could get a steady flow of traffic to your website? What if without any form of advertising, you get customers to check out what you have on your site. And what if when they do get to your website, they find relevant content that engages them and leads to more of them signing up to do business with you?
That is what SEO marketing is all about!
Recent stats show that as much as 70% of your online customers would prefer clicking on an organic result over a paid advertisement on Google.
This is because they would rather trust their business to a site that is recommended( on the first page) for that service. Truth is over 90% of web visitors don’t even bother going beyond the first page of the SERPs.
To build a solid strategy that drives traffic regularly to your business requires that you optimize your website for organic rankings.
Some of the challenges that small-medium sized businesses in Nigeria face when it comes to choosing between SEO marketing and other forms of marketing  include:
  • They have only a vague idea of what the concept of SEO is and what it can do for their business.
  • They want immediate results and are often not patient enough to get the more lasting results from a solid SEO strategy
  • They think SEO marketing is either too complicated or too expensive.
SEO marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. There are cost-effective ways to achieve the results you want without having to rob a bank. Bear in mind also that quality SEO services are not exactly cheap. The advantage of SEO marketing over PPC marketing is that the results are more sustainable.
In this article, I’ve broken down SEO marketing such that even a dummy can grasp the rudiments of what it takes to rank organically, and how to go about it.
A simple guide to starting an SEO marketing campaign for the savvy entrepreneur.
To consistently produce content that is optimized for organic rankings, you need to create content that is relevant to your target audience and addresses their challenges by providing the most useful information they can find on that topic. The most effective way is to start a targeted content marketing campaign.

Starting a content marketing campaign

The best and most effective way to get your website to the first page of the search engines is to produce high-quality content consistently.  The main objective behind your content marketing should be to satisfy your target users with high-quality material and not just to rank for specific keywords.

How do you start a content marketing campaign?

There are several forms in which your content marketing could take. The ideal would be to combine all kinds of content marketing to achieve a more rounded approach with your seo marketing strategy.
  • Starting a company blog is one of the most effective ways to start a content promotion strategy. If you do not have a blog, then it’s high time you got one. Posting relevant content channeled at your target audience is an excellent way to rank higher in the search engines and drive more traffic to your website.
  • Starting a newsletter: Newsletter marketing is also another great way to promote content to already subscribed customers. You send emails to inform them of a new and relevant content on your website. The more they engage with the content on your website, the higher your chances of ranking organically for that article.
  • Social media marketing: Creating content is one-half of the SEO marketing strategy; having people share it is another ballgame entirely. To get more people to view, interact with, and possibly share what you’ve created, you need to put as much effort into marketing your content.
  • Video marketing: This is another SEO marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to give you tremendous results. A lot of people favour watching videos over reading articles. Explainer videos do very well on Youtube. Interestingly, Google may begin to rank video content above written materials because of the high level of user engagement. A robust approach to SEO marketing would involve creating some videos that explain parts of your services or products that users are interested in learning about.
To get more in-depth information on how to start and scale a content promotion strategy, check this article on how to scale content promotion.
SEO marketing doesn’t have to be a drain on your time or financial resources. With the right team and tools, you can get your website to the first page of Google where more customers can find you. At the articles depot, we help you create the right content for your SEO marketing activities. To inquire about our content SEO services or start a free content strategy chat with us, please click on the BIG BUTTON BELOW.

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