A Quick Guide to SEO: What It Is and How to Build a Strategy

SEO, a shortened term for Search Engine Optimization, is a way for your business to rank higher in search engines like Google, which directs more customers to your website. This is a relatively simple definition, but in order to build your SEO strategy, you need to know a bit more about how it works.

Content, keywords, domain names, and image tags are all ways for search engines to find your website. Using the example of Google, if someone were to search “flooring company Minneapolis,” Google would then produce a list of websites that have those keywords in their website, blogs, images, etc. The order in which websites come up depends on a few factors, so don’t fret if you aren’t listed first. Time of day, location, and the local competition are a few of the integral parts to where you show up on search. For example, if your local competitor regularly publishes keyword-rich blogs on their website, Google will rank them higher.

Now more than ever, buyers are researching businesses before purchasing from them. If you don’t come up in their search, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to find your business unless they have heard of it before.

So, how do you optimize your website so that Google makes it visible to those searching for your products or services?

There are numerous ways that SEO can work, but these are just a few of the most common:

  1. Your domain name. Let’s use the example of a bakery. A bakery named Tarah’s Treats would have better chances of being found by Google if the domain name was TarahsTreatsBakery.com. The use of the word bakery lets Google know exactly what your business is.
  2. Images on your website need to be optimized so that site speed is quicker, but also because Google has an easier time indexing a page with smaller image files. When uploading, you should use the image’s alt text to include useful keywords!
  3. Publishing a blog at least once a month is an excellent way to boost SEO. Use keywords that relate to the topic and to your business, but don’t use too many, which is something called keyword stuffing. Google will lower your website’s rank in search results if it can see that you’re creating poor-quality content and just trying to reach a specific audience.
  4. Internal links, such as including a link to the “Services” page in a blog, shows the relation between pages on the website. That page will then be indexed and has a higher chance of being displayed in relevant search results.

Now that you know what SEO is and a few ways that you can optimize your website, you need to be able to track it.

Here are just a few ways to track SEO:

  1. Organic traffic. This refers to website visitors who reach your website through unpaid search results. Using Google Analytics, you can get a report of your website’s organic traffic for previous months.
  2. Clickthrough rate. Known as CTR, this is the percentage of people who click the link to your page that’s listed in their search results. Title tags and meta descriptions play a huge part in your CTR, so if your rate is low, those might need some adjusting. Also, the higher your site is ranked in the search engine, the higher your CTR will be.
  3. Goals for conversions differ, but overall, a conversion is when someone completes a valued action through your website. A conversion can be when someone uses a search engine and becomes a website visitor, or someone who visits your website through the search engine and subscribes to a newsletter.
  4. There are various online tools to measure this, but the goal is to find out where your site stands in keyword rankings. You’ll be able to see the position of your site for each keyword—if your ranking is very low for high-volume searches, that will give you an indication as to why your CTR is low or why organic traffic isn’t very high.

There are plenty of more ways to track SEO, and these can all be done using various online tools. Google Analytics is a popular tool, but it certainly isn’t the only option.

If your website isn’t ranking high in search results or you’re struggling to find the right keywords, call That’s My Idea Marketing. We’ve been helping business owners across the Twin Cities Metro since 2003!