Horizon Featured Article

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): What Is It & Why Does It Matter?

Organic Traffic is the Key to Long-Term Profitability

If you've taken the time to read through some of our other Horizon articles, you'll know that there are a few keys to success that can make an enormous difference to your business - if you take the time to build them into your long-term plans.

Consistency and reliability are two of the biggest factors, which is something that Northsail prides on providing for all our clients. That's why they always know they can trust us to deliver projects on-time, on-spec, and on-budget; otherwise, we simply wouldn't take the project on.

One of the other, more tangible tactics that can make a huge difference to the success of your online business is search engine optimization (SEO).

But what is Search Engine Optimization? How does it work? Why is it important? After we teach you a bit about what SEO is, we'll get to some suggestions that you can use to improve your own on-page search engine optimization strategies.

How Does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Work?

People are browsing the internet and searching for things all day, every day. Often, consumers will use search engines (i.e., Google, Bing, etc.) to make their search query.

At its most basic, search engine optimization (SEO) are strategies that you can implement into your website (both in technical aspects and content), so when someone is looking for the types of products/services that your business provides, your brand is one of the names that comes up first.

Search engines will use certain page elements to help determine what pages will be the best fit, when a visitor is searching for something.

Things like meta titles, meta descriptions, internal linking structure, image tags, and backlinks are just some of the ways that you can improve your technical SEO and draw more organic traffic.

For the purpose of clarity, this article is going to focus more on on-page types of SEO, which can function as part of your website content marketing, so you can holistically improve your business' ranking in organic searches.

The Benefits of a Clear SEO Strategy

There are lots of ways that you can increase the effectiveness of your on-page SEO, but before you dive into making a bunch of different changes, you should stop and do some planning.

A clear SEO strategy allows you to have all the different elements of your pages work in tandem. Otherwise, you could end up actually working against yourself, if you're not careful.

Using keywords, for instance, efficiently involves more than stuffing them into your website content.

There needs to be a clear plan of action for your SEO strategies, so that every part of your plan can support the other pieces. Remember, it has to be done efficiently; without having a negative impact on your user experience.

A bad user experience will hurt your search engine rankings, and lazy SEO tactics like keyword stuffing, makes your pieces of content feel amateurish and unprofessional. It also won't work in your favor when it’s being reviewed by Google Analytics.

7 Ways You Can Improve Your SEO Strategies:

1.) Only Post High-Quality Content

A big part of the way that major search engines determine which sites are more relevant/better than others is through the quality of their content.

Potential customers want to reach websites that look and sound professional, while also offering them all the educational tools they need to make the most informed buying decisions.

Ideal customers aren't always the people that are well-informed. Sometimes, high-quality educational marketing efforts are a good way to build excitement and engagement with your brand.

This also means keeping content relevant. Even if the quality is high, irrelevant content will muddle your brand voice, as well as potentially make your user intent unclear, which isn't good for your conversion rates.

2.) Avoid Overusing AI Content Writers for SEO

Sometimes AI can be really beneficial for your website; especially if you've got hundreds of pages or product descriptions that you need to create in a short period of time.

However, AI writers are infamous for things like keyword stuffing, grammatical errors, and inaccurate facts, which require hands-on adjustments from real humans to ensure it can still be used.

You also don't want to have a bunch of virtually duplicate content on your website either, and depending on the instructions you're giving the AI writer, it's an issue that could arise.

We're not saying don't use AI writers for SEO content, but just be mindful that you will probably have to review everything it spits out before you upload it to your website. It takes a bit of time, but it's certainly better than having your new types of content negatively impact your search algorithms.

3.) Remove Any Broken Links - IMMEDIATELY

Not only will broken links negatively impact your SEO efforts, but it's a great way to accidentally boost your own bounce rate.

Internal links are an easy fix, and they are a good thing to keep an eye on, because as your team is making changes to the technical aspects of your pages, it may accidentally break some of your internal links.

SIDE NOTE: If you have strategic partners that are using inbound links to your site, be sure to keep an eye on these on a regular basis. This way, these partners can fix their own links relevant to your changes if they become broken.

External links are just as important to watch, because if people like mobile users are unable to access your site because the link is broken, they'll likely look at your competitors instead.

4.) Only Use Relevant Keywords

Are you using a lot of different keywords in your copy may seem like a good idea, but is it making your market unclear for search engine algorithms?

The search intent that users have when they make their query online helps guide them to the next stage in their buying journey.

However, if you're using a lot of high-volume target keywords that don't necessarily fit with your brand, you may not be appearing in the relevant searches you need to get conversions.

High-volume target keywords are great for pulling traffic, but that's only a good thing if what your business is offering is valuable to the people you're appearing to in searches.

Otherwise, you may see more traffic from search engines, but no more conversions; which is bad for your click-through rates and counterproductive to growth-driven strategies.

5.) Consider Arranging Guest Posting

Guest posting is a great way to start strategic partnerships with another complementary brand, so that you can both take advantage of your respective customer bases simultaneously.

Typically, this involves your team guest blogging on their site; either talking about what you do, or how your services help solve problems. Then the other brand's team will do the same for your site.

The type of online content isn't necessarily important, but most commonly, this is done with a few short blog posts, a single piece of long-form content, or a combination of both (the pillar/satellite model).

You could also arrange backlinking between your two sites. This helps add authority to your site, as well as your partner's site. In turn, it can have a positive impact on your search rankings. It's also great for expanding your online presence.

6.) Purchase SEO Tools to Track Your Metrics

Tracking the metrics for your SEO campaigns is essential to making sure that you're actually meeting or exceeding the milestone goals for your content strategy.

This isn't a single type of tool either. There are lots of SEO tools that you can use to make more informed decisions about how to move ahead with your future strategies.

Keyword tools can help you determine which keywords are relevant or trending, as well as where in your sales funnel each of them is targeting. Trust us, it's good to invest in a reliable keyword research tool; rather than just going for the highest volume target keywords and hoping for the best.

Awesome content doesn't just happen. It takes time and effort to both plan and execute. SEO tools are a great way to support your content strategy with hard data.

And the numbers never lie.

7.) Hire an SEO Provider or SEO Agency

Understanding all the intricacies of search engine optimization to increase organic search traffic is important; especially if you're hoping to see some major improvements in your numbers.

However, learning how to use search engine optimization tactics effectively, or all the rules that go along with SEO best practices, isn't something that happens overnight.

If no one on your team has the expertise to effectively manage the relevant content or technical optimization necessary for your SEO strategies to succeed, it might be time to look at hiring an SEO provider or agency to help.

These people are the SEO experts that can turn a small campaign into some big numbers. So, if you're not an expert in SEO, don't be afraid to lean on the people with the knowledge your business needs to be successful.

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