Basic Search Engine Optimization is essential marketing.
If you build it… well, they will not come without Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Are you on Google’s first page for your specific product or service? What are your keywords?
Keyword research is FREE market research because it's based on actual customer behavior.
If you don’t “get found” and sell online easily for keyword searches other than your brand name, you're unlikely to grow your business.
There are two kinds of SEO, both essential:
#1 Technical SEO
#2… is what I call “keyword” or topic.
Technical SEO for SMB’s is (mostly) a set of easily installed software “tags”, and explanatory pieces of code that Google specifically wants you to implement, to help them understand what your website is about, so they can then “serve” your site to people who are searching for your answers, services, products.
Side note: It’s also making sure your pages load very quickly, especially on mobile phones. Slow loading sites are losers.
Most of technical SEO is very easy for any level of web developer, (and this is important) IF THEY KNOW THE KEYWORD AND CONTENT STRATEGY.
Because technical SEO basically signals to Google “Look here… this is what the content on our site is about. These are the questions we answer for people who are searching.”
So what is your keyword/content/topic strategy? You created your website based on that strategy, right?
Too often, the answer to that question is no.
I can tell you anecdotally, that really smart business people often guess wrong, about what potential customers actually search for. I can also tell you anecdotally that often, what the smart industry wide jargon is… is NOT what customers say or search for.
But here’s the good news:
Google gives away all the keyword search data free. It’s possible to use that free data to figure out what your keywords should be. Google actively encourages this and provides tools to do it.
In the Google Keyword Tool and Google Trends you can enter your broad topic keyword phrase. Google will give you a spreadsheet of every related phrase that people search, how many times it gets searched, and how difficult it is to “rank” against the competition, both nationally and locally.
Google (and other tools) also provide a way to see what keyword/topics your competition is optimized for. I always review the competition, and if it’s a local business, I will review the best similar business in other cities.
Here’s the main point: Online marketing without a keyword/content strategy is the proverbial tree falling in the woods. It does not make a sound, and you will not get found.
So again, keyword, content and topic strategy is essential. Google makes absolutely relevant and frankly, priceless “market research” available FREE. You just need to know how to access the data, and apply some business judgement to what is possible for you.
THEN you have to go out and create great content: Text, video, infographic, podcasts, etc. That’s content that you can wrap your selling messages in, and viewers will trust you, and engage you, and buy from you.
Here’s the virtuous circle of SEO keyword strategy: If you have the right keywords, and you create great web pages with excellent content, people will find you. When they find you, Google will see that “time on site” was longer because searchers actually read the content, and they probably looked at other pages on your site, and didn't “bounce” off your site. Google's algorithm will report that your site must be a really good site to send MORE searchers to and they will reward you by raising your search engine ranking (SERP) and MORE people will come to your site.
And you can then sell more.
But it all starts with a real keyword strategy followed by great content.