In my previous article, I wrote about ways in which you can get your business online. I mentioned having a website as an important factor of getting your online. Today I will talk about the basic of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how you can use them to direct traffic to your website and generate leads. But first let’s define what is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is.
WHAT IS SEO?
Search Engine Land defines SEO as the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines. Relevant traffic can then be converted into leads, there increasing the chances of generating sales.
SEO is an effective tool and a very important part of digital marketing and every business should invest in it in order to improve their online presents.
For example, imagine you own a business that sells mobile phones, and you have a website for your business. However, whenever people are looking for smartphones on search engines, your business does not appear on search results. Only your competitors’ businesses are appearing on search results. Every day, there are millions of searches on Google from people looking for smartphones to buy but none of these millions of people can ever find your website on search results. I believe now you can see how many potential customers you are losing.
Having a website is not enough. You need to be able to optimize your website and direct traffic to your website in order to generate leads.
HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
Search engines uses programs called web crawlers to craw your website in order to understand what it is all about, stores information about it and index it. That’s how they identify relevant content related to search engine searches.
HOW CAN I START SEO?
For you to get started with SEO, you need to understand more about keywords. Keywords are words or phrases that people use when searching for anything online. For example, if you are looking for a smartphone to buy online, you search using specific phrases like “SMARTPHONES FOR SALE IN HARARE” or specific words like “SAMSUNG S8”. That’s what keywords look like.
Keywords comes in 2 forms, broad keywords and Long tail keywords. Broad keywords are made up of one or two words whilst Long tail keywords have more than 3 words and they are usually phrases. Long tail keywords are usually:
- Informational (e.g. How to)
- Transactional (e.g. buy),
- General (SAMSUNG GALAXY S8)
Broad keywords usually have more competition than Long tail keywords. If you are starting out, I would recommend you start with Long tail keywords then ease into it as you progress. SEO is a process and it doesn’t happen overnight.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH SEO?
- Register your website with search engine webmasters (Google, Bing or yahoo) so that they are able to craw your website.
- Come up with keywords that will allow people to find you online. Search what keywords your competitors are using and select keywords with higher searches (more people searching using them). Use tools like similarweb.com, alexa.com, or Google keywords planner to come up with keywords.
- Use the keywords when writing your content (including in your headers and meta tags). Avoid keyword stuffing and using negative keywords. This will reduce your chances of ranking higher on search results.
- Start blogging using those keywords. Many websites nowadays have blogs where they engage, entertain and educate people about new products and services using those keywords. This increases your chances of ranking higher on search results.
- Make your website responsive – having a responsive website that is mobile friendly or that can fit on any screen size will increase your chances of ranking higher on search results. Many people now use mobile phones to access the internet. Google now has the mobile first Indexing policy. According to google,
Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.
- File sizes (images) – huge file sizes can cause your website to be slow therefore reducing your chances of ranking hire. Slow websites usually lack recommended user experience which means people will stop visiting your website. Speed is an important factor in SEO meaning your website should be faster in order to increase your chances of ranking higher.
Like I said earlier on, this is an ongoing process and you need do this more frequently. Failing to do so means your website will fall on rankings risking losing a lot of traffic to your website.
Don’t forget to share the knowledge. Make sure you leave a comment with any additions or suggestions on topics you might want me to cover.