6 Simple Guidelines to Understanding SEO as a Digital Marketing Strategy
To many businesses which are trading online or have created an online presence, and which desire to have more traffic to their website, SEO is a marketing strategy that they must consider and have. SEO is a simple strategy that endeavors to position a website and its content at a high ranking in search engines based on some factors.
Studies show that SEO accounts for over 30% of e-commerce traffic, which shows its importance. The major attribute of SEO that makes it very popular and important is that with knowledge of SEO and after optimization, it is able to give you a remarkable increase in traffic to your website, even without having to pay a single cent.
This is a series of activities that are performed upon a website so as to make it more popular online. These activities optimize every element of the website and as a result, it ranks higher in the search results. Studies have shown that Internet users mostly click on the first page of results when they are searching for information. They rarely explore the second page of these results. As such, you want your business website to appear on the first page every time. SEO can help a website to not only show up in the first page but also to rank among the top 5 results
To better understand SEO as a digital marketing strategy, you must understand the following principles of SEO:
1. Mobile compatibility
As of April 2016, Google has added to its ranking algorithms the compatibility for mobile platforms. This is now fundamental because the largest numbers of Internet users are nowadays using their mobile phones and other portable devices, e.g. tablets, to access the Internet.
With this in mind, it is therefore paramount that your website be compatible and responsive for use on mobile phones, irrespective of the operating system of the device.
If SEO is the way to go for high ranking of your website on the search engines, then content must be the driver to it. It is practically impossible to have an optimized website if it does not have quality content which is consistent over time. Content is important because to a large extent, most of the other optimization principles will be founded on it, e.g. keywords.
It is also the content that will dictate the user experience that your website users will have. It will determine if they will visit it again or not and its structure is the one that gives a free flow of execution of requests to it too. Errors and broken links in the content will definitely injure your website’s ranking on the search engines.
Keywords are important as they are the ones that help establish a link between your website’s users, other Internet users and yourself. By knowing the trends and searches of Internet users, you will know what they are searching often and in turn customize your content to have specific keywords that match what they are searching for.
Good use of these keywords in the website content, descriptions and structure will help the search engines to rank your website high and when users carry out a search using keywords that match the ones you have used, your website and content appears among the top results on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
It is researched that over 75% of users do not go to the next page of a search result, so if your website and content appear on the first page, you are guaranteed more traffic.
4. Website speeds
The speed at which your website loads also greatly affects its ranking on search engines such that if it loads faster, it is ranked higher, and vice versa. It is therefore important to check the website development strategy you use to know how to enhance its response time, e.g. by streamlining element and using light images like .jpeg or .png image files which load faster.
You can also reduce the plugins and redirects on your site that slow it down. For websites that are slow to load, you can prioritize above-the-fold content such that the website loads the top of the page faster. It is a common observation that most users are unlikely to skip the website even if when the rest of the page takes a bit longer to load
5. External link
Just like a referral is valued, having external links (other websites) linking to your content greatly enhances its ranking on the search engines. You can encourage your content linked to and shared by including social media links on the website, or you can interact with various platforms or people and ask them to reference or share your content.
6. Encourage Social Sharing
Enhanced social sharing is one of the best ways of increasing brand awareness and stepping up SEO campaigns in the process. You can take advantage of external links to reach out to greater market segments through consistent social media sharing. The result will be increased popularity of your brand among consumers, which has a positive impact on SEO. To benefit from such, you need to ensure frequent and captivating posts. Many clients or potential customers will find such content easy to share across various social media platforms. Increased sharing boosts the number of posts bearing your links, which in turn improves SEO rankings.
SEO can give you great outcomes if done well and as such, an SEO expert is best placed to undertake this optimization because he is then able to do a thorough job. However, you must keep in mind that no matter how much you want to pass the company information or content on products and services, the target customer must be the center of it all.
This way, you will tweak your content and approach to fit the needs of the audience and thus capture their attention and build their interest in what you are marketing.
Selina Jenkins is SEO expert and founder of a tech startup, and is well known among the SEO online circle for her blog articles and latest Chicago SEOupdates. She has taken this guest post from one of her lengthy articles about changing trends in SEO.