What is SEO? Getting Started in 5 Easy Steps

It All Starts With SEO

The first topic that many people tackle when it comes to online marketing is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Why? Because SEO is where it all begins…

Do you know how many people in the world have internet access? The answer may surprise you:

4.66 BILLION

That’s great because it mean that business owners like you have a huge audience.  But it also means something else: it means that there’s more competition than ever.

When we start talking about Online Marketing, we’re talking about cutting through that – cutting through the noise and cutting out a (relatively small) section of that massive audience that wants what you are selling.

So why does it all start with SEO?  Well, if you think of online marketing as though you’re building a pyramid, SEO (including your website) is the foundational layer that you build everything else on top of. Does that mean you have to be ranking #1 on Google before you can run a successful Facebook Ads campaign? No, of course not.

However, it really is vital that you have at least knocked out the basics of SEO. Doing so will actually help your other marketing efforts perform better than they would have otherwise.

Would you rather watch it? This presentation summarizes the importance of SEO for local businesses, and the 5 things you can do to get started!

What Is SEO?

Simply put: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility to users on the internet – specifically on search engines like Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. By investing in SEO, you increase the number of organic visitors to your site. As such, SEO is one of the best source for qualified leads.

Organic visitors are valuable for 3 reasons:

  1. Organic visitors have pre-qualified themselves. They’ve done this by searching for something relevant to your products or services. They’re already interested in what you have to offer. You may have to convince them that you’re the best provider, but you don’t have to convince them that they need what you have. They already know.
  2. They have shown interest in your specific offering by clicking on your site’s link. There’s still some convincing to do, of course, but you’re already a step ahead, because they’re already showing interest that you might be the one to solve their problem
  3. Organic visitors are probably not going to feel like they’re being sold to, since their visit is in response to a self-identified need rather than some kind of prompt or an ad that they saw. You can still mess that up of course, if you have a lot of pop-ups, a slow website, or poor design. But it’s unlikely.

Basically, you can think of “organic visitors” like walk-in customers in a store: they’re great because you didn’t have to pay to advertise to them, and they’ve shown interest in your products and services all on their own. All you had to do is be in the right place!

SEO is Like Real Estate

Real Estate is a useful analogy for SEO. In both cases, “it’s all about location, location, location”.

Think about what business is like if you’re in a high-traffic area like on Main Street? What does that look like? Well, you get loads of visibility. There’s a lot of foot-traffic, and you get tons of walk-in customers.  People are going to walk in and browse, and some of those folks are going to buy. And that’s all without spending a dime on advertising.

And what about it you’re way off in some lost part of town? Do you still get all of those benefits? Of course not! There’s no visibility, low, if any traffic, and almost no walk-in customers.

You might as well be invisible. And when it comes to business, being invisible is about the worse thing you can be.

How Can You Get Started?

So how can you improve your SEO, and get that prime piece of real estate?

Well there are several things you can do. But we’re going to get you started with 5 things that you can begin implementing right away.

1. Make Sure Your Website is Built for SEO

Ensuring that your website is built for SEO starts with making sure that it’s fast. Performance is a huge element. See, Google cares about the end-user experience, and Google avoids sending users to websites that are slow. The assumption is that a slow website will esult in a poor user experience.

You also need to take into consideration the “technical” stuff. This includes: your sitemap, making sure your site can be indexed, making sure your links and buttons are descriptive, using good meta-data, and so on.

You’ve also got to make sure that your website works on mobile devices. It needs to look good and it needs to work well. If design or functionality is off, it’s going to hurt your SEO. 

Lastly: Security. You’ve got to make sure your site is secure. That means using an SSL certificate, and keeping your software up to date.

2. Use SEO-Focused Keywords in Your Copy Writing

Copy Writing is the text on your website – from your home page to your blog. You need to make sure that you are using “keywords” and topics that your customers would search for online. We covered this in-depth in last week’s blog post.

3. Own Your “Google My Business” Profile

To get started with Google My Business, there are 3 things you can do right off the bat that will help you out:

  1. Own your Google My Business profile
  2. Ensure that all of your business information is correct
  3. Set your Primary Category as accurately as possible

Google My Business is extremely important.  People overlook how important this is. Let me tell you: you will not show up in the Local 3 Pack if you don’t have a good Google My Business profile.

If you don’t know what the Local 3 Pack is – well we’ll cover that too. But when people are doing local searches, the Local 3 Pack is often the first organic results they’ll see. You want to be there.

4. Build Up Your Online Citations

“What are Online Citations?” Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. Online Citations just means getting your business listed in online directories.  The major online directories include websites like Google, Facebook, Bing, and Yelp. 

Those are the big ones, and there are others too. But in addition to the big ones,  you should also try to get listed in directories that are specific for your industry.  So if you’re selling VOIP, you may try to get listed on VoipReview.org. That’s an industry-specific site that will help you out.

Localized directories are also important. Your local Better Business Bureau, your Chamber of Commerce, think of sites like that.

5. Build a 5-Star Reputation

Do you know what the single most powerful marketing tool is? It’s word-of-mouth. When a friend or family member recommends something, people tend to listen.

The first step, of course, is to provide outstanding customer service. But you also need to have a system in place to ask happy customers for reviews, respond to reviews, and also have a way to handle any negative reviews you get.

It Sounds Like a Lot

You should now know why SEO is so important for your business, and how you can get started.

That may seem like a lot of work. However, as you dig and start working on those 5 strategies listed above, you’ll learn the truth: that it’s really not as hard as it seems.

However, if you feel you need additional help, reach out to us at hello@epowet.com or www.epowet.com/contact. We’re always happy to help!