In an internet marketing world which seems to focus increasing attention on social media, questions about the value of search engine optimization (SEO) come up with increasing frequency, particularly when Google rolls out yet another algorithm update.
The questions, although phrased differently, always boil down to the same core inquiry. Is SEO worth the time, energy, or money? Some business owners pour money into SEO and never see a return on investment (ROI). Social media can show immediate results in likes, fan engagement, and shares whereas quantifiable metrics for SEO can sometimes take months to emerge.
Although social media can be a lot more fun than SEO, your marketing plan should include time for SEO for long term success. There is still a great deal of value to be placed on keyword optimization. After all, billions of organic searches are conducted every day and Google’s recent mobile algorithm update shows that they still place a great deal of value on mobile search.
So how can you improve your website’s SEO without breaking the bank?
There are a number of ways to do it on a fairly regular basis that don’t eat up a lot of time and money, if you’re willing to roll your sleeves up.
1. Make sure that your site is visible to the search engines
Believe it or not, this is a more common problem than you may think. Sometimes a developer may forget to “turn on” the site by adjusting the site’s robots.txt. And if you don’t see your site, this may indicate a Google penalty, in which case some more damage control is needed.
2. Check your metas
Your title and descriptions should have your major keywords incorporated but should also immediately tell a user that your site is relevant to their search. You do this now and don’t even know it. When you do a search for a term and you don’t see it in the title, you automatically move to the next result.
For example, you are doing a search for gold jewelry and these results pop up:
The first title tells you that a company called Ross-Simons sells gold jewelry. This is exactly what you were looking for. The second title tells you that Amazon.com sells contemporary and designer gold jewelry. This is a little more in-depth of a result. Notice how the title is truncated and ends in ellipses which are these…. That is indicative of a title that is too long. The third result is an article about how to sell your diamond jewelry. This isn’t a relevant result for your search. The two seconds that it took you to read each title told you which was the most relevant search for your keyword.
3. Good content across all platforms
In many cases with social media, the purpose is to drive potential customers to the website. If the website has poor quality content, then the conversion hasn’t been completed. Pinterest doesn’t sell anything per se on its site. All of the jewelry and crafts for sale are actually sold on another site like Etsy or a personal site. A user will click on an image of a picture to learn more about the product. The content on other site will help convince a buyer. And don’t forget how a user found the pin to begin with – the 500 word description on Pinterest.
4. Update the site regularly
A user who goes to your site more than once has a much higher probability of converting. So make sure that you update your site regularly with fresh content to keep them coming back. One very popular way to do this is to blog. You’re reading this blog now because we regularly publish content about marketing and you want to learn more. Another bonus to publishing new content regularly? You’ll increase the number of pages on your site, as well as the site’s authority as a knowledge base, two things that Google loves.
5. Link to your social profiles
Needless to say, linking your site to your social media profiles and vice versa is important if you get a lot of traffic to your social media pages. Remember, not every social media platform is a good fit for every company. Pinterest or Etsy are great for selling certain kinds of goods. If you’re a financial or legal service, then LinkedIn would benefit you. Just about every company should have a Facebook page, simply because Facebook users span virtually every demographic.
SEO is very much alive and kicking. It can be a lot of work, there’s no question about that. But unlike social media which uses a sprint approach, SEO is the marathon. Longer, with less immediate gratification, but ultimately going to get you to a very satisfying finish line when done properly.