Website Content: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Simplified For Business Owners

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Who This Article Was Written For

This article was written for business owners, leaders, and decision-makers. It was not written for programmers, coders, or technical IT folks. This was written to talk in plain terms from a business point of view.

This is not a how-to article or full of technical tips for mastering SEO.

It’s an article to help bring context and perspective to help business folks understand what SEO is, why it matters, and what to do next.

Update 9/22:
Google Modifies Its Algorithm To Demote “Low-Quality” content

Since this article was written, Google has announced its plans to pay more attention to content written by real people for real people.

In their words:
“..we’re rolling out a series of improvements to Search to make it easier for people to find helpful content made by, and for, people.”

Google will also be removing content that was primarily written to gain rank rather than help real people find answers to real questions.

In their words:

Next week, we’ll launch the “helpful content update” to tackle content that seems to have been primarily created for ranking well in search engines rather than to help or inform people. This ranking update will help make sure that unoriginal, low-quality content doesn’t rank highly in Search, and our testing has found it will especially improve results related to online education, as well as arts and entertainment, shopping, and tech-related content.

What does this mean for your website?

The more effort you put into answering actual questions your customers and potential buyers are asking on a regular basis, the more likely your website will rank better in Google for those topics and questions.

See Google blog post here

Why Would You Want Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Your website should be creating business leads and opportunities for more customers.
  • You would like it to be working better and look better.
  • You’d like to feel better about how it represents – and works for – your business.
  • You’ve had other people try and ‘fix it’ and it’s not getting any better.
  • You think your competition’s website is better than yours.
  • You want your website to rank higher in search engines like Google.

Perhaps you’ve read some articles, attended a conference, listened to a podcast, or were told by someone you think is smart that what you need is Search Engine Optimization or SEO.

You’re now Googling trying to find someone who ‘does SEO’. And you got a list of results.

What you’ve just done is what potential buyers do every day. Use the internet to find things they want o need.

Understanding why those specific results are the ones you saw is the backbone of search engine optimization.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Anyway?

  • The simple answer: improving the likelihood of your website being found online.
  • The business answer: getting more potential buyers to your website.

What Does Being Found Mean?

Good question. We are talking about having your website be one of the results shown to you in search engines like Google when phrases that matter to your specific business are used.

If a phrase is something you’d like to be found for because it helps your business make money, then we call that a ‘profit phase’.

What’s A Profit Phrase?

A profit phrase is a group of words that helps your business make money. Don’t overthink this. It’s pretty simple. If we’re fishing, profit phrases are the bait. Places like Google would be the water. Potential customers, the fish. To keep this analogy going, we’re simply trying to have the worm in the right place at the right time when the fish are hungry.

Ok, here are some examples:

  • Companies – example: “companies that sell or service XYZ in my area” or “who sells XYZ near me”
  • Product / Brand – example: “what are the best brands of XYZ” or “what is the difference between ABC and XYZ”
  • Buyer Research – example: “how much does XYZ cost” or “what are the most common problems with XYZ”
  • Repair/Service – example: “how can I fix my XYZ” or “who repairs XYZ in my area”

What Do Buyer Questions Have To Do With Search Engine Optimization?

Think about the average conversation with a potential buyer. It’s full of questions. Buyers are curious. They are looking for help. They are looking for answers. Just as those potential buyers are asking you questions, they are also asking Google.

In fact, there are a lot more people asking Google questions than there are asking you. And that’s the point of SEO.

Google’s primary goal – its mission – is to be valuable to the needs of its users.

It does that by providing answers to questions and queries. Finding folks what they want. Paying attention to how that works is how SEO helps you get your site in front of people asking the questions that matter most to your business.

In summary, you do this by:

Google Best Practices – Google is the code enforcement officer of the web. Following their technical lead on what is important for website coding is a sign you’re respecting their codes. Google likes to be respected.

Page Organization – Make things easy to find. Instead of putting all your products or services on one single page, create an individual page for each. On each page, focus specifically on that product or service and create copy that answers questions and helps your potential customer see experience and expertise in your company.

Valuable Content – Put your customer first. What would you want to see for information that would help you feel good about choosing your company over your competition?  Better yet, what are they asking about, and are you answering? Look at each product or service page you’re creating and ask yourself if you’ve provided the information most customers need to make a decision.

REVIEW FOR BETTER SEARCH ENGINE RANKING

Reviewing your website and other content efforts with SEO in mind can better help you develop a plan for addressing what needs to be added, edited, and improved to increase your ranking and visibility. For instance:

  • Content review – Fresh content is a key component of any SEO strategy. Having a content writer on staff or a point person driving the content creation process in your company is important.
  • Content creation – The best content comes from those who interact the most with your customers and potential buyers. Regular conversations with sales and service can help you formulate your content plan from a customer-first perspective.
  • Videos – videos account for nearly 80% of the website content consumed daily around the world. Google recognizes this trend and puts ranking preferences on websites that embed video into their websites. Whether for sales, service, employment, demonstration, fundraising, or informational, videos help drive and keep valuable traffic to your website.
  • Social media posting – Social media posting can help gain attention and traffic to your website. Utilizing and re-using the content you’re creating for your website as part of your social media posting plan is a great way to extend the value of your efforts to new audiences.
  • Link building – Finding directories and resources to post your company information to improve your backlink performance. The easiest way to start? Use Google to search for companies that do what you do and find the listing services that show up as results.
  • Managing local directories – if your business relies on a locally defined area for new customers, enhancing local SEO can help build visibility in your local market. Google Business and Moz are key components of ensuring your directories are visible, complete, and consistent.

SEO IS LIKE A BOWFLEX

You want six-pack abs. You look into a home gym and buy a Bowflex. You use the Bowflex for a week and from there on, it transforms into an expensive – but lovely laundry hanging device. And you wonder why the six-pack abs don’t form.

SEO is not a quick fix. You have to work it. Think of SEO as exercise for your website. No matter how hard you work, you’re not going to get results overnight. But you also don’t need to spend all day, every day on SEO either.

A simple, structured plan executed with focus and coupled with commitment can have positive impacts on ranking, visibility, website traffic, and yes, sales leads.

The Best Framework For An SEO Content Plan For Your Business

If you are looking for a practical and common sense framework to help build out a content plan for search engine optimization, check out the book They Ask, You Answer by Marcus Sheridan.