The world of content marketing, building brand awareness, and engaging with prospects is complicated enough without adding more complex topics on top of it, like search engine optimization. But that doesn’t mean those other complex topics aren’t important to learn and understand. That’s why we’ve developed this SEO made simple guide.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a set of tactics that does exactly as it says: it optimizes your webpages and content to rank better on search engines and target your audience more effectively. That’s because SEO can make your content more relevant, engaging, and useful to your target audience, which shows search engines, like Google, that your content deserves a top ranking spot in the search engine results page (SERP).
In fact, the main goal of using SEO strategies is to potentially rank on the first page of the SERP. That’s because the higher your content ranks on the first page, the more clicks it generates. And if it ranks on page two, it has a click-through rate of less than 1%, essentially making your content useless for generating organic traffic.
Therefore, the more content you have that ranks well, the more organic traffic you’ll bring to your site and the more brand awareness you’ll generate for your business. This, in turn, can help you create more leads and revenue for your business. Afterall, the number one organic result in Google’s search has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 27.6% and the number one organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click compared to one in the number ten spot. SEO strategies help you get there.
When a business creates a new webpage or piece of content, search engines crawl the page and index it. Basically, they organize it based on keywords and content, so they know if and when to bring it up in a search result. From there, the search engines rank the content based on the searcher’s query and how relevant or helpful they think the result will be to the searcher. As days, weeks, and months go by, search engines continuously scan your content to see how it performs and changes its ranking accordingly.
For example, if a lot of people click on your content in the SERP and immediately bounce from the page, that tells search engines that they probably don’t find it helpful or relevant to their query. So, the search engine will most likely lower your ranking. On the flip side, if people click on your content and stay on the page for a long time or even navigate elsewhere on your website, the search engine will see that as a positive thing and possibly rank you higher.
SEO is the practice of getting more organic traffic for your business and website by ranking well on search engines. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are a direct transaction of money for views and clicks, generating paid traffic to your website versus organic. Search engines place these ads at the top of the SERP above the organic results for different keywords or queries that people type in. Basically, SEO helps move your content to the top of the search results naturally while PPC ads almost guarantee you a spot at the top.
There’s definitely something to be said about generating organic traffic versus paid traffic. That’s because it means your audience came to you versus you coming to them, which helps build relationships with them more easily. But there are times when PPC ads might be more effective. It really depends on your marketing goals and what type of PPC ads you use.
For instance, if you’re trying to boost your brand awareness quickly, you might want to use PPC ads. That’s because it can help people learn more about your business and what it has to offer. Basically, it tells people you exist. The same goes for if you’re trying to generate more clicks and website activity. PPC ads are placed at the top of search results, so it’s more likely that people will click on them and potentially explore more of your site.
However, there are some forms of paid advertising that are more effective than others, like contextual advertising. Contextual advertising is placing targeted advertisements on websites that are relevant to your business, its products or services, and your audience. Compared to search engine PPC ads, it’s often more effective because the content of the website correlates better to what your business has to offer. For example, Randall Reilly has a number of online platforms that give businesses the ability to advertise to their respective audiences in industries like trucking, construction, landscaping,and more.
From Equipment World and Hardworking Trucks to Overdrive and CCJ, Randall Reilly has a number of digital media brands where you can host advertisements your audiences are more likely to click on. Download our media playbooks today to see which platforms are right for your business and industry and how you can use them to target your audience more effectively compared to PPC ads.
Here are some factors that search engines take into account when deciding how to rank content:
There are three types of links that search engines use when determining content’s ranking:
Though each type of link is important for your overall SEO campaign, the only ones that search engines really care about and track are backlinks. But the balance of inbound and outbound links is still important. You want enough inbound links to keep visitors on your website and direct them to your products and services.
But it’s also helpful to have outbound links that direct people to high-authority sites. This helps to increase the satisfaction of your readers by sending them to sources on the information you share, like for statistics and other facts. The higher the satisfaction of the reader, the longer they’ll stay on the page. The longer they stay on the page, the better your ranking will be.
Keywords represent the main topic of the article or piece of content you’re creating. It’s what a lot of search engines use to index your content and ensure it’s relevant to the searcher’s query. It’s important to target specific keywords in your content and use them sparingly throughout your webpage. For example, if you were writing an article on changing the tire of a semi-truck trailer, some keywords you might target include “how to change a semi-truck tire” and “semi-truck flat tire”. Including those exact keywords in your article, including in the headings and title, can help you rank better.
But don’t overdo it! Years ago, whoever had the most keywords in their article or webpage would soar to the top of that search query online. But nowadays, “keyword stuffing” might lower your ranking because it gives your audience a poor experience. That’s because, it’s not helpful to the reader and can make the flow of the content feel stifled or awkward, which can cause them to feel dissatisfied with your content.
A good rule of thumb for adding keywords to your content is to include it once for every 200 words that you write. But even less is okay. This can help you space it out and ensure you’re not using it too often.
There’s a phrase that was first published in 1974 by Sumner Redstone which said “Content Is King”, and it’s currently the biggest reason that search engines now penalize websites for keyword stuffing. Basically, the quality of your content is, first and foremost, the biggest factor when it comes to search engine optimization. Searchers want to get accurate information as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s crucial to include as much information in your content as you can, while making it skimmable, engaging, and straight-to-the-point.
Now, it’s important to understand that search engines aren’t the ones in charge of judging if a piece of content is high quality or low quality. They aren’t sophisticated enough yet to judge a piece of content by writing alone. Instead, they use other metrics and stats to determine if the users think your content and webpage is helpful. Those metrics include things like the number of page visitors, the bounce rate, and the on-page time. The more engaging and helpful your content is, the better those metrics will perform.
Going hand-in-hand with content quality, general user experience is very important to SEO. If your page takes too long to load, it has a confusing layout, or it’s bogged down with advertisements, people might feel more inclined to click away. If this happens a lot, search engines might lower your ranking because people aren’t finding it easy to navigate or consume. Ways to improve your user experience include:
Now comes the more complicated – but still not difficult – part of SEO: The technical side. There’s more to SEO than simple front-end factors, like eye-catching design and good writing. There’s also back-end factors such as:
Looking for even more help or guidance with your SEO and content marketing? Randall Reilly can help with all of your sales and marketing needs. From our insights on current market trends and buyers to our programmatic marketing campaigns, we can deliver expert advice and back it up with expert data. Contact us today to see how we can help boost your marketing efforts and attract your target buyers.