Every business that has or wants to grow a digital presence needs to understand the ins and outs of search engine optimization, or SEO. To be fair, there’s a ton of information on the subject to help you understand exactly what is SEO and how it works, but there’s still a lot of “gray area” surrounding it.
Let’s take a closer look to bring clarity to SEO and what you as a business owner need to do to take advantage of it.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO is a process of increasing the traffic to your website by optimizing your website’s content to improve search engine ranking. Even though you’re writing for a human audience, your content must also be written and structured in a way that is easily understood by search engine algorithms.
How does SEO work?
Google and other popular search engines work off algorithms that crawl your website and rate the effectiveness of your content. They use these rankings to match user’s search results with your website if it relates to their search and provides the most valuable content.
Some of the ranking factors you’ll want to focus on include:
2 Onsite SEO
3 Building Links
4 Social Media
5 Location-based searches
6 Webpage security
7 Analytics Tools
Let’s look at each one in greater detail.
What are keywords?
Keywords are brand and industry relevant words placed throughout your website that explain what your website content is about. Taking the time to create a list of keywords you want to rank for and then placing them throughout your website will help focus your SEO efforts on where it matters most.
How do keywords affect my SEO ranking?
Google and similar search engines check your website for frequently used words or phrases and match your website with similar search requests.
There are two types of keywords in this guide:
Short-tail keywords - Keywords made up of a single term, such as “acne”
Long-tail keywords - Keywords made up of phrases, such as “popular acne treatment”
Tools for finding your Keywords
After creating your list of keywords, spend some time adding them to the content on your website. Remember, user experience is most important, don’t compromise the quality of your website by stuffing keywords everywhere you can.
Best places for keywords:
The general copy on your website
The URLs on your website should be short and to the point. For Example, if your business does facial treatments and you have a page for each service then match the URL pathway to the name of the service. EXAMPLE: medicalspa.com/microdermabrasion
Meta Description and Title Tags
The Title Tag and Meta Description are what show up when users see your website on google. Base this on the products/services you provide, the keywords you chose, and the geographic location you service if you are a brick and mortar store.
Load Speed Test
Google has publicly said that page load speed is an important factor for rankings. Pages that load quickly not only help you rank better, but also provide a better user experience to reduce your bounce rate.
Check the load speed of your website using this free Website Performance Report.
Search engines use the quantity and quality of “backlinks” to rank the authority of your website. But there’s an art to building backlinks — quality is greater than quantity, so focus on getting backlinks from reputable, high-ranking sources if you want to move the needle faster.
What is a backlink?
A backlink is a hyperlink on another website that directs their website traffic to a page on your site. Take the time to find websites that are trustworthy and relevant to your brand.
Creating Social Media accounts can help drive traffic to your website while putting you in front of a new audience. You can use your social media to promote your blog posts, run ads, or connect with users to build your brand and credibility. It is also a best practice to include links to your social media accounts in the footer of your website.
Local search optimization is essential to SEO because it caters to people searching for your services within the area you serve. This is why when you search for restaurants or hair salons you don’t see options for places that are hundreds of miles away.
Google My Business
Verifying your business with Google My Business will allow your business to show up on Google Maps as well as when people search for things like “Medical Spa Near Me.” Add photos and videos of your business to this account to create more familiarity with prospective clients.
Structured Data Mark-Up
Structured Data is a system of tags that search engines use to better understand your website. Send this request to your web developer or follow the website guide to create your mark-up, and install the code in above your websites Head Tag.
We can’t stress this one enough, reviews can be seen as the driving force behind online marketing. For most people, reading testimonials is where the conversion process happens. “93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.” (Podium) This can benefit your Medical Spa just as much. “68 percent of consumers will form an opinion about your local business after reading just 1-6 online reviews.” (Revlocal)
Read our blog on building testimonials that drive sales.
Add Your Site to Search Directories
Adding your website to search directories that people frequent will help your business be found, and the back-links provided will help increase your search engine ranking.
When you leave your business at the end of the day you make sure that the doors are locked and the alarm system is active (we hope). You should treat your website in the same manner. Google kicked off a security initiative in 2016 by flagging websites that were not HTTPS secured. Why did they do this? An unsecured website allows for hackers to find a way into the back end of your site and access your visitors' information. This can be a nightmare if you are processing confidential client information or credit card information. Once an unsecured site has been flagged, Google will begin pushing that site to the bottom of search results, making it harder for potential customers to find your business.
Google provides a free tool, Google Analytics, to help track your website traffic. Installing this on your website will show your website performance, how many people visit your site, as well as the demographic, gender, and locational breakdown of your site’s traffic.
Google Search Console is another free tool by Google to help improve your SEO results. You can see what your users are searching for, plus it allows Google to crawl your site, re-index new content, and fix potential issues that could be killing your rankings.
How Does Your SEO Stack Up?
There are a lot of moving parts to SEO and developing a solid strategy that will help your customers find you online. Combining all of the above factors, do you know how well you’re doing with SEO?
Access our free SEO Performance Report to find and fix issues and start earning the rankings you deserve!