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SEO & Digital Marketing

SEO 101: Shape How Prospects Search for and Find Information about Your Brand

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The concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is simple

If you want to help prospects find your product or service online, you’ve got to create content for them and then help search engines provide those links to searchers. You don’t necessarily have to pay for this privilege.

Create relevant content. Generate links. Benefit from incoming prospects who learn about you and then become customers. The strategy is straightforward. It’s the tactics that can get complicated – or at least complex. And the tactics are evolving because the way that people search is changing. Here’s what you need to know.

In this article, we’ll discuss:

  • How keyword research is changing
  • Why you should use quality backlinks
  • Why you should name your media files

Why SEO is really really important

Why? HubSpot has wrangled up a powerful collection of statistics that showcase the reasons for making sure that your online content has been carefully crafted to be found and shared by search engines.

  • Looking for higher conversion rates? Add a video to your landing page and see increases of up to 86%.
  • Aiming for more traffic to your website or online store? Focus on SEO efforts that boost traffic driven by external sites – known as referrals.
  • Want to show up in more local searches? Make your content mobile-friendly and capture the 82% of smartphone shoppers who conduct “near me” searches.
  • Wondering how to breathe new life into existing content? Optimize it and see monthly organic search views increase up to 106%.
  • Got a minimal budget for paid search? Focus on SEO that optimizes organic search. Up to 80% of search engine users focus solely on non-paid results.
  • Listen up! We’ve reached a voice search tipping point. At least half of all online searches are now using voice searches. If you don’t optimize your content for non-screen searches, you’ll miss 50% of those looking for you.

Playing nice with keywords

You can’t talk about SEO without the mention of keywords. They used to be the holy grail of SEO. Embed them in your content and be found through organic efforts.

Keywords are still extremely important for SEO; however, keyword stuffing is still bad. Some things will never change.

Search engines – especially Google – continue to change all the time. Most people no longer query Google with a single search keyword or even a phrase. They’re asking complete questions. And keeping that last bullet in the section above in mind, this shift is because of voice searches.

Keywords are the foundation. But Google wants your content to go beyond their inclusion. Google wants you to answer the questions that revolve around these keywords. This usually means you’ll be more effective in incorporating long-tail keywords because they offer more clearly defined intent.

If Google’s objective is to deliver relevance, your aim is to get to the point by using keywords central to your brand.

Link quality versus quantity

Link building – especially referral links – continues to be an important SEO practice. Those external links are third-party votes of confidence that search engines deem to be valid. They’ll boost your rank in searches.

This turns into a chicken-or-the-egg situation, though. How do those valuable external referral links get made? Some might be because you ask. Most are because other individuals or organizations have decided that you created awesome content. It’s relevant. It offers perspective and education. It demonstrates that you are obviously a subject matter expert.

You’ve validated the problem, and perhaps most importantly, you’ve explained why you are associated with the problem.

So, maybe it’s not a chicken-or-the-egg kind of thing after all. Kick-ass content comes first. Sharing it with influencers who’ll recommend it to their respective networks via referral links comes next.

Focus on content. More quality content is better than more links. That’s even more important when you consider that the links you create aren’t what search engines are looking for.

One last thing about external links. Offer them in your own content. Search engines are looking for ways to provide value to searchers. One of the indicators of value is relevance, and a powerful way to boost this is to offer citations or additional examples of the ideas you’re sharing in the form of external links.

More than words

Good thing for us Google uses both file names and URLs to understand images. Hopefully, one of those describes the graphic you’ve included for more relevance in your content. Oh, wait. Did you name it Image4newblogpost.jpg?

Don’t skip the step where you create an appropriate filename and descriptive alt text for every image.

You’ll make images accessible for people and devices that can’t see them. You’ll also assist search engines in determining who’ll find your images relevant.

Keep in mind that Google gives extra gold stars to content that loads quickly. SEO for graphics includes image compression.

We’ve already touched on the monster boost that video can give you when you add this type of content. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google (which owns YouTube). Users crave video, but search engines need your help in understanding what you offer so it can make recommendations.

Your SEO tactics for video should include:

  • Video thumbnails
  • Appropriate tags and categorization
  • Useful video titles and descriptions
  • SRT files

They go together

Quality content is found by relevant links. These are the two foundational building blocks to successful inbound marketing. Everything in SEO begins and ends with content.

Your prospects are looking for it. Search engines want to understand what you’ve created so they can offer it as value based on relevance. Successful SEO comes down to answering the “why.”

Learn how better content increases traffic and leads. Download our free guide.

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