SEO: What it is and How Your Business Should be Using it

SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a shifting landscape. There is no easy formula or magic bullet to showing up as the No. 1 search result, but there are some things every business should be doing in order to improve their visibility on the web, and ultimately drive traffic back to their website.

Did you know? Websites listed on the first page of search results generate 91.5% of all web traffic on average. Think about it. How often do you go to the second or third pages of a google search? I know, I’ve very rarely ventured out of the top five results. Ayaz Ninji provides some more insight into the value of being at the top of search results in this article.

I am by no means an SEO expert, but I’ve read a lot about the benefits and here are some of the tips/information I’ve taken away as most important.

SEO Tips:

  • Add a sitemap to help Google index relevant pages. A sitemap is similar to the index or table of content of a book. It makes it easier to find information and for Google this is all to important.
  • Clean up links. Make sure your website doesn’t have any “bad” or old links, and for the links that are current make sure the helpful ones are visible and less relevant ones are hidden.
    seo-image
  • Quality content is more important than the quantity of content. Focus on important keywords and phrases, but don’t overload your content with these, so that it doesn’t make sense. Your content should not only be quality, but you should have a schedule to regular keep it updated.
  • Choose keywords wisely. I mentioned it in the above point, but focus on specific keywords. Google Analytics has a tool that can help you select the right keywords for your
    website.
  • Optimize images and videos. Make sure to use keywords in images and videos, as well as, always fill out the alt tag and titles.
  • Write quality titles. When formulating the title of a webpage, blog post, image, or video, always use the most important keywords in the beginning rather than the end of a title. SEO weighs the beginning of a title more than the end.
  • Share your content on Google+. I actually recently did a project on Google+ for my other class and talked a lot about the importance of SEO on Google+. Check it out!

Google-Analytics1Google Analytics

Once you implement using SEO on your website, you need to monitor and analyze the results. Google Analytics is a great tool to utilize. Here’s a brief introduction to how the service works and why it’s important. When it comes to analyzing the metrics, as a business, you should be looking to learn who is returning to your site. How often are they “stopping by” and how long are they staying.

You also want to keep track with how many visitors are engaged on your site. I know at my organization we pay a lot of attention to bounce rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page. You want to keep visitors on your site by keeping the engaged. Google Analytics can help you track this, along with how many pages the average user usually visits, and how long they are spending on each page.

The best part of Google Analytics: It’s free! Well for most of us. If you receive 10 million or fewer web hits a month it’s free. So, you should routinely monitor Google Analytics and try and make strategic changes to your website accordingly.

Questions to Consider:

What do you think is the most important aspect of SEO? Keywords? Links? Content? And why do you think it’s so important?

What are your thoughts on Google Analytics? Have you used it a lot? What are the best features when it comes to measuring and tracking SEO?

Other Resources:

10 SEO Tips for 2013

How To Move Your Blog Post Up in Search Results

7 Ways to Use Google Webmaster Tools to Increase Traffic To Your Website

How to use Google Analytics to Measure Engagement on Your blog

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9 thoughts on “SEO: What it is and How Your Business Should be Using it

  1. Hi Laura,

    When it comes to SEO, I think there are a few things that are important, while I still think that content that is constantly being updated and engaging is extremely important, I now know that keywords are also important. Also, photos and articles that open in a new page and are being properly titled also helps when it comes to SEO. I still think that the most important thing is content though, if you are not pushing forward content that is being updated and that people want to engage with, all the optimization in the world won’t help.
    I haven’t used Google Analytics fully yet, I don’t know that much about coding and widgets, so I am still working on how to have all of my sites integrated into the system so that I can track all the information. I think it is an interesting way to track different sites in one place. I have been using Hootsuite this week and getting used to that, so I do realize how important tracking your own content for engagement can be. I think it is all important when it comes to growth and awareness. Great post!

    • Thanks for the feedback Amanda. I agree content should rule when it comes to SEO, but you’re right, all those other elements: keywords, photos, titles, tagging should also be incorporated consistently. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a high-ranking search result and realizing it’s not good content at all. Thanks for the comment and good luck tracking your analytics!

  2. Hey, Laura.
    First off, great blog post. Well organized and easy to read. Learned even more about SEO from it, so thanks for that.
    I feel content is the most important part of SEO. I feel using keywords and content somewhat go hand in hand. As far as Google Analytics go, I’m fairly new to them. I’ve known they’ve existed, but never really looked into them in-depth like I do now. The best features is giving you keywords to use. These keywords with your content can be what gives your site the boost it needs.

  3. Hi Laura,

    Great post. Thank you for explaining what a bounce rate was! I saw that in a reading earlier this week and didn’t understand, so I’m glad you were able to put it simply.

    As we’ve all now learned, Google Analytics doesn’t work with WordPress.com. BUT I’ve recently discovered that the analytics behind WordPress are actually pretty good! For being only a free user, I’m still able to learn a lot about my site’s stats.

  4. Laura,

    I think the most important aspect of SEO is content. Links and Keywords are great when it comes to directing people to your pages, but if you want a positive response and return traffic you have to ensure that your content is going to make returning worth it. Having good content will also lead to outside sites linking to your page ect.

    I get to dive head first in to Mason’s Google Analytics this week, the nerd in me is very excited to get to explore GA and see what it has to offer!

  5. Laura, if you had asked the first question even a year or two ago I would’ve said keywords were most important hands down. But now with all of these new algorithms on search engines and Facebook I would definitely say content still reigns supreme. Links certainly help and they too now are becoming more important than keywords, but content is still king.

    I have honestly never used Google Analytics. The one time I tried I got confused and gave up. It didn’t look like it was very easy to navigate. I’ll stick with bit.ly and WordPress analytics and I think I can get by without using Google Analytics. I haven’t attempted Hootesuite yet either because I don’t have my own website, but when that time comes I think that’s what I will use for basic analytics.

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