SEO is kind of a big deal. If you’ve got as far as this, you know that it exists, at least.
But are you aware of how truly important it is to give your business an impressive web presence?
We’ll give you a hint: it’s essential.
So what is SEO?
SEO is Search Engine Optimization, which pretty much speaks for itself.
If used correctly, it will ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine results pages.
It’s an all-encompassing term used to describe anything that achieves these results, from link-building and social media marketing, to having your website itself embedded with keywords that will alert search engines.
How do I use it?
Good SEO is a master of disguise.
It sits on the website, hidden in plain sight of your visitors but staring them straight in the face. It makes itself known to Google, Bing, and other search engines but doesn’t sacrifice your content.
The key to generating more leads for your business is optimizing your site for search engines.
Here’s a list of SEO strategies that will optimize your website, and help generate more leads from search engines:
1. Optimize Your Homepage & Inner Content
- Find the right keywords. Filling your website with keywords is vital to gaining the attention of search engines and attracting an audience. But using a bunch of keywords that have a lower search volume is always better than having one keyword with a high one. After all, you’ll be competing with a huge number of other brands, so any opportunity to step out from the crowd should be seized with both hands.
- Spy on your competitors. Backlinks are the incoming hyperlinks from one webpage to another site: and one of best ways to boost your leads is to steal these from your competitors. By finding out who is linking to competitor sites (aka, who is interested in their work) you’ve immediately created a database of prospects for yourself: simple! You get this information through backlink checker tools… although as backlink checkers tend to give you an incomplete overview of a URL’s backlink profile, you may have to use a few different tools and collate the result. SEMRush is an easy-to-use tool. You can find even more here.
- Use long tail keywords. Long tail keywords are keyword phrases which are specific to your brand or product. They’re usually 3 or 4 words long – for instance, back-end developer company London. When the customer is searching for something, they keep it specific and local. By peppering these long tail keywords throughout your website, search engines will point them towards you.
- Make your website responsive. Creating a website that looks great on desktop but all over the place on other devices isn’t good. Especially when most people are searching on the move nowadays. Make sure your page is sleek in both design and usability for all devices and you’re set.
2. If you’re a local business, use local SEO strategies
- Claim listings. Your company website alone just won’t cut it. To create an enviable web presence, you’re going to have to build and market yourself using online directories. They not only drive traffic, but rank well in search engines. A lot of people’s searches will bring them to an online directory, so it would be foolhardy to ignore how effective they can be. Take a look at this example, see when I search for the "Wedding Planner Toronto" keyword? Those that claimed their listing shows up first:
- Optimize content with local keyword data. Don’t be afraid to specify where you’re located at every opportunity, especially if you’re selling a product or service. Tell your audience exactly where you are, and the search engines will listen. For example, you own a Photo Booth company in Toronto, use “Toronto Photo Booth Rental” keyword throughout your website and whenever relevant. Make sure not to stuff your website with too much keywords or it will look spammy. Let your keywords flow naturally within your website. Remember to mix and match, or use alternative keywords. Here's an example:
- Generate positive reviews. Did you know that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? So consistently provide high quality service and ask for reviews. The more reviews (positive) you have, the more leads you'll get.
3. Build an Active Blog & Optimize Your Blog Posts
A blog combines everything that you need in order to nail a website’s SEO targets. Regularly posting blogs is an all-encompassing necessity that provides fresh content, keywords, images, social media engagement, and back linking.
Tips for Optimizing Your Blog:
- Create content consistently. The more you post, the better results you’ll get. The better results you get, the more you’ll post. Simple.
- Publish useful + easy to read content. Are you publishing helpful, useful, and interesting articles that not only inform but entertain? You should be! Sifting through poorly-written, badly-executed articles and videos with zero engagement and reach isn’t really something that search engines are known for. The wider audience your content has – the more they share it (and link it) – the more likely it is to show up. Makes sense, right?
- Use <H3> or <H2> for your subheadings. This will not only improve your users experience but will also help Google to easily grasp what your content is about. Using subheadings can help your readers to easily scan your content, and that could push them to read on (which could improve your bounce rate and thus, boost your search rankings!).
- Use keywords. Throw in keywords throughout the content and your headline, but remember to avoid keyword stuffing. Keep it natural.
- Add relevant links. Link to your older content or other credible websites whenever relevant. Google recommend to keep the links to a reasonable number (although nobody really knows what a “reasonable number” is, most experts recommend adding less than 100 links per page (but that’s including your navigation links, sidebar links, etc.)).
4. Guest Posting
Writing guest posts helps build your portfolio and credibility.
By offering your services to someone else’s website, you not only show that you can throw yourself in at the deep end and cater to a completely new audience, but you show that you can be trusted with other people’s deadlines.
Who knows? What may start as the odd guest post may flourish into something more, and from there your own page will go from strength to strength as you make a name for yourself as a reliable and talented writer.
For guest blogging tips, here’s a great article for you.
5. Use Alt Tags for Your Images
Is every one of your images tagged correctly? Google isn’t human (yet), so doesn’t have the ability to see the images we post on our page.
It can only read, and how can it read what the image is if it hasn’t been tagged correctly? Doing so will increase the chances of your images appearing on a Google Images search.
Always add a descriptive text on your images ALT tag. Here’s an example on how you can do it via WordPress:
6. Improve Your Website Speed
How fast your website runs is another huge factor that search engines consider. After all, they’re not going to point their users towards a site that isn’t optimized.
Not only that, but faster websites will respond to the search quicker than yours, and result in them being placed higher than yours.
Quick Tips to Make Your Website Load Faster:
- Choose a reliable web host, of course.
- Optimize your scripts (CSS/JS/HTML). WP Fastest Cache plugin allows you to combine and minimize your files.
- Enable caching. If you’re using WordPress, I recommend WP Fastest Cache or W3 Total Cache plugin. If you’re not in WordPress, use MaxCDN.
- Optimize your images using TinyPNG or ImageOptim or you can use EWWW Image Optimizer plugin if you’re using WordPress.
- Make your website responsive.
- Remove your website baggage (remove unnecessary scripts + plugins, delete spam comments, fix broken links, clean up your database, etc.) Use WP-Optimize your plugin to clean up your database.
My favorite tool for checking my website speed is Pingdom. It will tell you your website’s performance, load time, page size and some suggestions on how you can improve your website.
But each platform is different so you’d have to do further research on how to speed up your business website. You can simply go to Google search and type “How To Speed Up _____”. Just replace the blank with the platform you’re using (could be WordPress, Shopify, e-commerce, etc.)
7. Be Active on Social Media
Major search engines indexes social media content (they include social posts on the search results). So the more active you are, the more likely you will appear on a search engine.
Take a look at the websites with the most ranking keywords on Google:
See how the major social media networks are included in the top 20? This means whenever people use the Google search, chances are your social media posts may show on the search results.
Also, people nowadays use social media directly to search for something. Be sure to optimize your social media profiles and posts for maximum visibility.
So being active on social media is definitely one of the best ways to gain traction and visibility.
Here are some tips:
- Include some keywords on your name + bio.
- Write unique description for each posts with relevant keywords.
- Use relevant hashtags and/or trending hashtags.
- For Pinterest, create boards filled with keywords and update them frequently with fresh + relevant pins.
- Add social media sharing button to your website. More social media shares = more visibility.
Each channel has different rules, however. You’d need to do more research on how to optimize your social media for the search engines. Here are some helpful articles:
- Advanced Hacks of YouTube Optimization
- Youtube SEO: The Ultimate Guide
- 7 Key Ways to Optimize Facebook Fan Page SEO
- Pinterest SEO: A Guide for Businesses
- How Does Google Index Tweets Today? How the New Twitter Deal Will Impact SEO
8. Use Google Adwords
Adwords is a tricky platform to perfect, however it is definitely worth putting the time in to learn if you’re serious about growing your business. After all, it’s the largest and most widely used online advertising network in the world.
Here's how it looks like:
When someone enters your keyword in Google Search, you'd show up in the top search results.
Here's a good guide that can help you get started with Adwords.
9. Avoid Common SEO mistakes
Don't stuff your content full of keywords to the point that they show up every other sentence.
Many businesses aiming to get the most out of SEO give this a shot and, although it may work, you don’t want your content bloated and unreadable.
It doesn’t exactly offer the greatest user experience, and won’t inspire consistency and loyalty from your followers.
More SEO mistakes you must avoid (or what they call “black hat SEO”):
- Invisible/Hidden Text. Don't use the same font color as your background color.
- Link Buying or Exchange. If you want to advertise on another website, make sure your link is set to “nofollow”.
- Article Spinning. Taking a single article from another website and rewriting it to make it look new is a big NO.
- Duplicate Content. Be sure that all of your products are unique and not duplicated.