As more businesses shift their marketing campaigns from traditional outlets to online channels, it’s important to understand that the strategy needs to shift along with it. One of the main practices to adapt to for a successful online marketing campaign is SEO. SEO determines the reach and visibility of your campaign. But what is SEO, you ask? Let’s first start with an introduction.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a Web page in the search engines via natural search results (also known as organic, unpaid or algorithmic search results). When someone searches for a keyword or keyword phrase related to your business, a service you provide, or a product you sell, it is important that your website show up in the search results. Optimizing your website so it’s search engine-friendly is key in order to maximize your overall visibility.
Optimization requires several different tasks. Some of these tasks need only be performed once or on occasion when the site is updated. Other tasks require frequent or scheduled attention, based on factors such as site popularity, changes to content or focus and actions by competitors. Each of these tasks falls into one of two types of SEO:
- On-page factors – anything related to the actual website, including its content and how the website is programmed
- Off-page factors – anything related to how other websites interact, link to, or mention the company’s brand or website
Proper SEO starts with keyword research. Understanding exactly what terms your potential customers are using when they search for your product and creating content that effectively utilizes these terms is crucial to the success of your website and your business. You may think having a certain phrase or term on your site is important, but if no one else is looking for this term in the search engines, it will not be useful for drawing customers to your business.
A variety of paid and free tools are available that allow you to perform keyword research. Google Keyword Tool, for example, is a free online tool that allows you to enter keywords and keyword phrases to see the amount of search volume occurring each month for those terms, both locally and globally. A great feature of the Keyword Tool is that it also lists keyword ideas, showing you variations for the entered keywords as well as other associated terms you may not have considered, and the search volume for those terms.
Keyword research is an ongoing process, as the popularity of certain keywords rises and falls over time, and as new keyword phrases are created. It’s recommended that you perform keyword research on a regular basis and combine it with a review of the website’s analytics. Website analytics show how users experienced your website; how they got there, how long were they on, what keywords attract them to the site; I found that Google Analytics is a great tool to use for analytics.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how much time or effort you’re puting into your marketing campaign unless you’re optimizing your content with right keywords in the right places.