In this blog, we’ll talk about:
- Why ranking among search engines is so helpful
- How to go about researching the best keywords
- Why linking strategies are important for ranking
Marketers often make a big deal out of website SEO. Why is it so important that you optimize your site with great content? Here’s a breakdown of why on-site SEO is vital to your business having a successful online marketing strategy.
How Can Search Rankings Get You Leads and Conversions?
For unbranded searches, the top result gets 30% of clicks, the second gets 15% of clicks, the third gets only 9% of clicks, and it keeps going down from there. This means that if you want to get leads from organic search, using search engine optimization to get to the top is crucial.
What’s so great about leads from organic search? Well, SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate. In contrast, outbound leads like mail or print advertising have only a 1.7% close rate.
So, if you want to get quality leads and more conversions, the way to do it is with a focused search engine optimization strategy that gets you to the top of those search results pages.
Why Is On-Site Optimization Crucial to Ranking Well?
Search rankings may get you leads and conversions, but how does optimizing your site help your rankings? To answer that, you have to understand what determines those rankings in the first place. Searchbots evaluate your site’s content and will penalize your rankings for issues such as:
- Content that’s too short or doesn’t provide enough value.
- Keywords used too little or too much.
- Images that are broken or have missing alt tags.
- Pages with title tags that are duplicates, missing, too long, or too short.
- Meta descriptions that are missing or have duplicate content.
- Pages with multiple, missing, or duplicate header tags.
- Dead internal or external links.
- URL structure not optimized for indexing.
This means that while you might think your website looks great, there could be a whole lot of behind-the-scenes issues that are dragging it down and keeping it from being ranked well and seen by people searching for your services.
On top of that, consider the fact that 60% of searches are from a mobile device. As a result, Google has announced a switch to a “mobile-first index” that considers the mobile version of your site the “real” version. Is your site ready to be judged on its mobile-friendliness? Optimizing your site for mobile has become a huge factor in on-site SEO, and soon a site that looks great on a PC but not on a phone will have a tough time ranking well and getting seen.
Why Is Keyword Research Important for SEO?
Most business owners recognize the importance of keywords, though finding the right ones to use is a delicate process to complete with the utmost care. Marketers call this process keyword research, which can uncover queries worth targeting as well as how popular those queries are.
Why are keywords important for SEO? Because they enable you to increase your business’s ranking with Google. By establishing queries that contain your target keywords, you can put your content in front of as many searchers as possible.
Prioritize the Most General Topics
A good place to start is either to recognize the keywords for which you already rank or to come up with a short list of 5-10 services/products. For example, a firewood vendor’s keywords might include firewood, cooking wood, mulch, kiln-drying or wood delivery.
Hone Main Keywords into Longtail Keywords
The next step is to find all those keywords and phrases beneath each service/product keyword. Let’s revisit our theoretical firewood vendor’s breakdown of the “mulch” keyword. Longtail keywords might include:
- how much mulch do I need
- which mulch is best
- how can I get mulch near me
- nearest mulch delivery
- premium mulch near me
- which mulch is best for flowers
- which mulch is best for tomato plants
And there’s no punctuation, here. Google can keep track of trivialities like rewording, so the ideas these phrases convey are most important to capture. They aren’t final, either. If you know your way around a computer well enough to tap into Google Analytics or ChatGPT, both tools are effective for coming up with additional key phrases. If you continue to struggle with finding the best key phrases, you can examine related topics when you plug one topic into the search bar.
As you come up with potential phrases to target promising demographics, remember or establish your buyer personas. Detailing buyer personas will improve your understanding of users’ queries. Matching keywords with those queries is most important for SEO.
Why Are Backlinks Important for SEO?
Backlinks can improve a site’s ranking by boosting authority. If someone else links to you, that boosts your credibility, but if you link to someone else, that also boosts your credibility!
Backlinks are external links that take a user from one site to another. Search engines, including Google, view backlinks as votes of confidence in the destination site. When placing an external link in your content, making sure that the external link goes to the highest possible authority on the subject is critical.
Also, avoid using keywords as anchor text. This causes search engines to dismiss your content entirely in favor of what’s at the external link’s destination. Including 3-5 words in anchor text is also important, as this will keep search engines from dismissing your content as spam.
While we’re on the topic of backlinks, let’s answer the question, “Why are internal links important for SEO?” Internal links are hyperlinks that lead to other places on your site. Including internal links is uniquely helpful because they allow for Google to crawl through your content, developing a comprehensive understanding of how organized and beautiful your site’s structure is.
The end result? A higher place on the search results page.
Why Is Local SEO Important?
Generally, most have an easy time seeing why organic SEO is important for business. But in the modern world of remote work and Amazon deliveries, location isn’t entirely beside the point. Tackling local SEO in particular can help businesses rank highest among users in certain counties, towns and cities. Let’s say our theoretical firewood vendor delivers products within a county. It could benefit from writing content about the value it provides to each of that county’s cities.
Unless you depend almost exclusively on countrywide delivery to sell your service, local SEO can help you focus on people with most incentive to buy your products – those who’re nearby.
Accordingly, renovators who travel from home to home or small stores that serve a local community benefit most from substantial investments in local SEO. Besides, for any business, competing locally is easier than competing nationally or globally. The bottom line is that optimizing as locally as possible is how SEO helps your business.
Why Are SEO Audits Important?
Investing in SEO enough to enjoy a high position on the search results page is great and all, but how can you be sure you’re not falling behind competitors? Today’s content may not be as effective tomorrow, so you’ll inevitably have to target and improve areas of weakness.
Luckily, monthly or biannual audits should do the trick. To conduct an appropriate SEO audit is to interrogate your content with the following:
- Have any links broken?
- Are blog posts up-to-date?
- How does the site fare on mobile?
- Which schema markup does this post have?
- Do any meta descriptions exceed 140 characters?
- Are there enough backlinks and internal links?
These questions are a great start, but if you’d like to reduce the process to even more of an exact science, you can use digital tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to develop a more intimate understanding of the changes you should make.
When Optimizing Your Site, Content Is King
So, more generally, what are the most important things that need to be optimized? What are the most important criteria for ranking well in search results?
Google says its top 3 ranking factors are:
- RankBrain (which measures clicks and dwell time)
If the top factors for ranking sites is content, then that means that the biggest thing you can do to optimize your website for higher search rankings and more leads and conversions is to develop an SEO strategy that focuses on regularly producing high-quality optimized content.
How Can SEO Take Me to the Next Frontier?
As difficult as the world of SEO can be to navigate, learning the ropes is the best way to boost your business’s popularity on the most important medium: the search results page. If you’re compiling your first list of keywords, plenty of resources are ready to help.
As a full-service digital marketing agency with dozens of happy clients, Frontier Marketing takes pride in turning small businesses into masters of content optimization through excellent website design among other services. On-site SEO focused on content boosts your search rankings as well as generating leads and conversions. Call Frontier Marketing today build your strategy and stay ahead of the curve!
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in November 2017 and updated in March 2023.