Your Guide to Search Engine Optimization
- Branding, Content Writing, Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, SEO, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Website Development, Website Optimization
- Benefits of SEO, Online Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, small business
- February 13, 2019
Your Guide to Search Engine Optimization
First off, what is Search Engine Optimization? The formal definition of SEO is: “the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine” (Dictionary.com).
At Lean Marketing, we define SEO a bit differently. We consider it “the sum of all online efforts taken to promote your brand’s ranking on major search engines”. The better your search ranking, the earlier your company’s website will come up in search results.
What Is the Equation for Optimization?
Website Ranking = Email Marketing + Social Media Marketing + Website Traffic + Website Backlinks + SEO + Search Engine Marketing + Google AdWords (including pay-per-click) + Content Marketing + Marketing Strategy
All of the above make up the pieces required to rank highly on search engines like Google. It may look daunting, but an average business owner can handle it alone. That said, it is incredibly time-consuming and vigorous.
At Lean Marketing, our professional suggestion is to use revenue from leads generated by your website to pay for a specialist. This can be a digital marketing agency or a hired marketing specialist. We say this because most business owners (especially in Alberta) don’t have the marketing experience or time to perform this themselves. The formula for good optimization is complex and can change rapidly.
But… It is completely possible to DIY if you understand these things:
1) Know Your Demographic/Target Audience
So to begin, you must first know: Canadian consumers are projected to spend approximately $39 Billion online in 2019. Isn’t that insane? Other than being an impressive amount, this number shows us something else. It shows that Canada is no exception to the digital media movement that the world is currently undergoing.
You probably want a chunk of this revenue. If that’s the case, you must take your marketing and communications efforts online. The best approach is using SEO best practices to reach your target consumer.
Before you create an SEO strategy, it is crucial that you perform market research and analysis into who your target consumers are. Having a strong understanding of the demographic that is keeping your business alive is vital for any marketing effort.
The demographic information you should be aware of is your typical customer’s age, sex, geographical location, shopping habits, and personal interests. Based on these characteristics, your target consumer will have several “pain points” (problems/needs) that they are trying to solve. To communicate most effectively to your target demographic, your strategy should focus on how your business solves their pain points.
So, how do you find out the demographic information of your target consumer? A great starting point is a tool called Google Analytics. For reference, Google Analytics is a highly popular, free piece of software provided by Google. It provides in-depth information about the people who are most interested in your products or services. When you use information from Google Analytics, you should see improved SEO rankings. This is because your content will become more relevant to the people most interested in buying from your company.
If you don’t have a website (and therefore do not have access to Google Analytics) you still have options. You can either run a survey manually on all willing consumers or you can try and locate customer data from secondary sources. These two processes are costlier and more time consuming, but are a necessary part of determining the “pain points” of your customers. This information will make your SEO campaigns more effective – helping your search engine rankings in the process.
Knowing your customers is crucial when determining what search terms to use for your SEO. Once that’s done, it’s time for the next step.
2) Keyword Research & Planning (Edmonton, Alberta)
Once you have understood your customer’s “pain points” you then need to try and put yourself behind the consumer’s keyboard. This is important because the keywords that you choose are essentially what your customer is typing into their search engine.
The next problem that you will encounter is understanding the relevance and rankings of keywords. Since the internet is such a utilized tool, the competition for the use of keywords can be fierce. It requires understanding the competitive density and relevance of keywords that you plan to use.
Choosing strong keywords generally requires software to analyze all the words in your industry. This is the easiest way to locate the words that best suit your industry, your geographic location, and your consumer. Keywords selection should also incorporate your location (which is why the correct software is important). This is because search engines calculate the searcher’s location when deciding what websites are relevant and should be shown.
Let’s say that you are a bakery owner in Edmonton. You would want your keywords to incorporate the Edmonton area. Keywords and phrases you would focus your content marketing on would contain your location plus your type of business. Some examples include:
- “bakeries close to me”
- “bakeries in Edmonton”
- “top bakeries in Edmonton”
- “Edmonton’s bakery of choice”
- “Edmonton bakers”
This kind of search engine optimization is referred to as local SEO. It can help you pull in customers from the area around your business who are hoping to find a service nearby.
Free tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest are great starting points for understanding how to select your words. Once you understand the basics, Lean Marketing’s SEO experts suggest buying keyword research software. Some good suggestions are SEMRush and Wordtracker, as these programs provide consistently great results in search engine rankings and website traffic. Any marketing expert or SEO company of quality will have these paid tools.
3) Building a Website & Incorporating Keywords
The theme of this blog is essentially that digital marketing and search engine optimization are incredibly complex and time consuming. However, it is completely possible to do on your own. Creating a website from scratch is unfortunately no different. Having a high-quality site can be one of the greatest investments a company can make. The issue is that creating a high-quality website is almost impossible for the average person.
If you don’t currently have the budget to have someone build you a website, there are low-cost alternatives. You can utilize websites like WordPress to get an attractive (if simple) website running. WordPress is easy to use, highly flexible, and in has built-in SEO features. However, marketing agencies have the resources and experience to drive better search engine results, creating a better return on investment.
Be sure to use your keywords in your website’s written content. Once you have completed your keyword research and created a web site, Google Analytics can help you understand your average consumer. From there, you can further finesse your SEO strategy.
4) Create Social Media & The Content for Each
It’s finally time for the fun part of building your online presence – with social media marketing!
If you are a company that deals with customers and you don’t have a strong social media presence, you are behind. We say this because the statistics are entirely against you.
Instagram alone recorded over 9.1 million Canadian Users in 2017. This is a crazy statistic seeing as though there are only 37 million people in Canada. That means that literally 25% of Canadians are on and using Instagram. That’s just one social media platform that you have at your disposal.
The beauty of all this is that social media is probably the easiest portion of all your digital marketing efforts. It is also typically the first “touch point” in which your customers find you online. So what does this mean?
It means that the entire reputation of your company can be destroyed if this is done improperly.
You must ensure that your social media accounts are maintaining a professional voice all while posting high quality content. This includes images and written content. What you say to your followers is incredibly important. It reflects on your company’s personality and values – and people buy from companies they identify with.
Whenever you do any activity on your accounts, always understand that everyone can see that and they will make judgments about you. Just stay away from controversial topics, impolite replies, crude jokes, and other potentially offensive topics. Then you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Here’s how to launch your online presence using social media:
- Register/ create social media accounts.
- Get a high-quality camera and take as many pictures to showcase your staff, your building, and your products and services.
- Start following potential consumers that fall into the target demographic group you have identified.
- Post sharable content every 1-2 days. This can be informative and engaging articles, personable photos of your company, and graphics (that either promote or share tips).
- Try and be as responsive as possible to your followers. You should always be empathetic, polite, and positive when interacting. Remember that gracefully handling negative comments is as important – if not more important – than how you handle positive comments and reviews.
If you want to get even more intense, then you can try more complicated techniques like:
- Utilize following software or commenting software. (This kind of software will automatically follow users and comment on their posts, with pre-approved messages.)
- Talk to influencers to give you shout outs. (Payment will probably be required.)
- Reach out to websites to see if they will let you write a guest blog. (Writing guest articles is a great way to get backlinks to your website.)
Need Edmonton SEO Services for Your Company?
Lean Marketing in Edmonton, AB can provide full search engine optimization services for you. We can handle everything from your website design and social media management to your content marketing and SEO strategy. We are your Edmonton digital marketing agency here to help your business succeed – with effective, and yet affordable, online marketing services.
Please remember that the article Your Guide to Search Engine Optimization discusses the basics. The whole system is incredibly complicated and if done improperly, can be detrimental to your company’s reputation. On the flip side, if you do these things adequately – then you can be certain that your company will generate more leads.