You’ve most likely heard the term “SEO” but, what does it really mean, and is it something your equine business needs to be concerned about? In this article, we will de-mystify the world of SEO and explain why it is highly recommended as a means of successfully marketing your business! SEO, when used correctly, can drive high-volume, qualified leads to your website, as well as increase your ranking with Google and other search engines.
WHAT IS SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving internal and external aspects of a website to increase its visibility for search engines.
Search engines index the information contained on your site to determine where, on the search results page, your website will display. The goal of properly developed SEO, is to have your business’ information show up within the first page of the search results. Like the old real estate saying goes, “location is everything” and that certainly applies to your business’ SEO rankings!
Be forewarned, this is not a simple process, however, quality traffic means increased revenue and more publicity. Search engine optimization can lead to an organization’s success or failure. You may be wondering, “What about paid internet advertising?” The majority of online traffic is driven by search engines!
According to Britney Muller , MOZ.com Staff Writer, “While paid advertising, social media, and other online platforms can generate traffic to websites, the majority of online traffic is driven by search engines”.
SEO-RELATED TERMS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND
Keywords are the terms and/or words your clients (and potential clients) will use in their online search for the type of services your business offers. Proper keyword research & the use of relevant keywords throughout your site’s content, titles, metadata and all your promotions is of utmost importance.
TARGET MARKET/IDEAL CLIENT
Knowing your Ideal Client or Target Market is vital to the success of any business because it gives focus to your marketing efforts. It is imperative that you build relationships with this specialized group of potential clients. Recommended ways to build these relationships are through blogging, social media, SEO, direct mail, newsletters, articles and videos. A potential client that comes to know, like and trust you is more likely to become a paying client! All of your promotional efforts should focus on how you can meet the needs of your target market.
When you place quality content onto your website or social media, it will qualify you as an authority in your field of expertise. The content you place on your website or social media is the most CRUCIAL FACTOR for your online business and is absolutely necessary for enhancing your SEO and attracting a focused and engaged audience.
WEBSITE ELEMENTS THAT IMPACT SEO
Header tags are part of the HTML coding for a web page and carry a lot of weight with the search engines because they’re for categorization, not cosmetics. They usually reflect the title of the page or blog post. If your visitors understand the header on your page, the search engine will likely be able to do so as well. If you pay special attention to the keywords in your titles and header tags, your click-through rate should rise accordingly.
A Landing Page is a page that focuses on information that interests a specific target market or ideal client and are often used to elicit a ‘call to action’ such as prompting a visitor to:
• click (to go to another page, on your site or someone else's)
• buy something
• give you permission to follow up with them (opt-in)
• refer your page to someone else
• learn something
• post feedback or a comment
When visitors take action on your webpage it verifies the validity of your site with the search engines and raises your SEO.
Publishing quality content of interest to your audience, and then sharing backlinks on social media is the #1 way to enhance your SEO! A backlink is a reference from another source to your web page. According to Wikipedia, “The quantity, quality, and relevance of backlinks for a web page are among the factors that search engines like Google evaluate in order to estimate how important the page is. Having relevant comments on your blog posts will also help you garner more traffic.
The last topic concerns having a valid SSL Certificate for your website. What is an SSL certificate? An SSL certificate is a digital document that ensures the content provided is from the correct (verified) sender.
An SSL certificate is a security certificate that once installed on a web server activates a secure connection between the browser the surfer is viewing the content on and the web server that the content is derived from initially.
Google has announced that as of July, 2018, websites accessed via Chrome must have a valid SSL Certificate or the visitor will receive a security warning. When you secure a valid SSL Certificate your website’s URL protocol will change from HTTP:// to HTTPS://.
SSL certificates help the web cut down on instances of cybercrime that are often performed through security loopholes in web browsers.
For site owners who have lagged on adapting their site to HTTPS encryption, time is indeed running out. Non HTTPS websites will undoubtedly be exposed to the risk of lost search rankings and overall, less traffic.
Google AdWords and paid social media ads are also extremely effective ways to increase your web traffic and quickly raise your ranking with the search engines. Take special care to assure professional methods are used to create and manage these ads. Although it may take a few weeks to see results, when implemented properly, the payoff will often well exceed the investment.
Depending on your bandwidth, willingness to learn, and the complexity of your website(s), you could perform some basic SEO yourself. Or, you might discover that you would prefer the help of an expert! Either way, it's clear that the effort you put into enhancing the SEO of your website will ultimately pay off. And conversely, if you choose to ignore the factors that effect SEO, the growth and success of your site and ultimately your business will struggle to reach their full potential.
Equine Office Solutions specializes in implementing high performing marketing funnels, customized for your business and designed to increase your website traffic and that all-important SEO! Contact Us for a complimentary discovery session to learn how you can put our experience to work for you.