If you are a business owner looking to get started with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we at Wieting Design have created this SEO Starter Guide to help you understand exactly what’s involved and to help you make the right decisions when implementing an SEO strategy. Whether you choose to do some or all of the SEO work yourself, employ an in-house SEO or outsource the work to a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency, this SEO starter guide will certainly help. If you are ready to grow your business through online efforts, learn how SEO can be your ultimate resource to better leads, conversions, and boost your sales.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
In short, SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank on top of search engine result pages for search terms related to your products, services and locations. Ideally, you want to strive for page one as 67% of all clicks on search engine pages (SERPs) go the top five listings, and 95% of all clicks stay on the first page. The search engine process goes beyond showing up on page one; it’s a way for you to understand your website traffic and how to tailor more content to your customers. SEO is one of the best ways to pull traffic to your business by offering a solution to a problem people are searching for.
- Register with Google Search Console.
- Register with Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Claim or create a Google My Business listing.
- Conduct keyword research.
- Organize keywords by page.
- Target long-tail keywords.
- Test your keywords with PPC.
- Optimize your page titles.
- Optimize your meta descriptions.
- Request links from business partners.
What’s included in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
- WEBSITE: A well-structured, fast, mobile-friendly website is essential.
- CONTENT: Your content should help demonstrate why a customer should choose you.
- CONTENT MARKETING: Informational blog content can put you in front of a wider audience.
- ON-PAGE: Basic optimization is important so think page titles and meta descriptions.
- LOCAL SEO: Local businesses need to consider local SEO best practices.
- AUTHORITY BUILDING: Links are still highly correlated with strong search engine results.
- CREDIBILITY: Case studies, portfolios, social media links, reviews, and testimonials help you clinch the deal.
Is my business ready for SEO?
Why do you want to invest in SEO, anyway? Ranking for number one on the SERPs is not a valid business goal. Neither is getting twice as much traffic as you are getting today if you’re not ready for it. Your SEO campaigns should be tied to revenue with your overall business and marketing aims so you can measure its results. Secondly, is your website optimized to the latest technology and industry standards? If you are unsure, read our latest blog on a website redesign to see if your website is ready. Lastly, are you willing to commit to a long term marketing plan? SEO is not a quick overnight process and takes time to establish so before you commit to make sure you are in it for the long haul to reap the most rewards.
What are the benefits of SEO?
Marketing your business is hard work, digital marketing even more so. The benefits of a well-executed SEO plan for your business will start to pull in quality traffic that is more likely to convert to a sale. Organic search traffic has the best conversion rates over paid traffic. Why? Because people found your solution to their problem. SEO will also increase leads if you are capturing website visitors. Your business will build trust and credibility by showing up higher on search engines. Lastly, SEO can actually save your business money by lowering the cost per acquisition as many users tend to skip paid advertisements, and there’s no cost to rank in search results.
Can I do SEO myself?
The simple answer here is yes. At least some of it. If you have been running a website, then you are likely doing some SEO yourself already. However, an SEO expert will be able to generate improved results more quickly. Likewise, it may cost you more in the long run to do the work yourself or hire an internal expert, than if you partnered with an experienced SEO agency. The key takeaway is there are elements of SEO you can do yourself, but a skilled consultant or agency will get you better results in less time.
How can I compete for Organic Traffic?
By focusing on these top SEO Components.
- Heading Tags – These include your H1, H2, H3 and so on. These are the larger headings and fonts you use to title your content and call attention to sub titles. It’s important to make sure your focus keywords are included in these headings.
- Keyword Density – this is the amount of times that your focus keywords show up in your content. You want to use them in your headings, titles, and the body. However, their usage should make sense and not overly saturated. It’s also a good practice to learn to use synonymous keywords to help your content show up.
- Meta Description – this is your last chance to tell the SERP bots what your page or blog is about. It’s also the preview content that shows up on the SERP for your target audience. You should also include your target keywords here as well.
- Permalinks – After you domain name, this is the URL tail that directs visitors to the right page. It’s one more opportunity to nestle a keyword in the link to be considered for higher ranking on Google.
Are there any limitations of Search Engine Optimization?
Yes! An important aspect of SEO is making your website easy for both users and search engine robots to understand. Search engines aren’t good at completing online forms (such as a login), and thus any content contained behind them may remain hidden. Errors in a website’s crawling directives (robots.txt) may lead to blocking search engines entirely. Although the engines are getting better at reading non-HTML text, content in rich media format is still difficult for search engines to parse. This includes text in Flash files, images, photos, video, audio, and plug-in content. Text that is not written in the common terms that people use to search. For example, writing about “food cooling units” when people actually search for “refrigerators.”
How much does SEO cost?
Ranking in Google is 100% FREE. If you’re just getting started with the basics, you might be able to do most of the work yourself in 10-20 hours a week, but if you’re an established business owner are you really saving money in the long run? How much is your time worth? How comfortable are you with making changes to your site? Do you understand some of the terms we’ve mentioned above like long tail keywords, robots.txt file, PPC, and meta data? As a business owner, chances are you already have enough on your plate so you could hire someone in house or you hire an agency that is specialized in building comprehensive SEO strategies for business just like yours. Agencies can offer their resources, expertise and team for a lower cost than it would take to maintain an in-house team and involves less risk than outsourcing to a cheaper company.
Once I start SEO, how long will it take to increase my ranking and traffic?
SEO isn’t an overnight strategy. The first few months are dedicated to making updates to your site and waiting for the search engine spiders to crawl and index the changes. Depending on your website, the amount of work it requires, and the crawl frequency of the search engine spiders, it may take anywhere from 1-4 months to begin seeing new rankings. Traffic is typically a direct result of an increase in rankings. Once your rankings begin to increase, you will also begin to see gradual increases in traffic to your website.
My website is ranking on the first page, can I stop worrying about SEO?
Achieving the rankings is only half the battle. Since the search engines are constantly evolving and updating their algorithms, your rankings can fluctuate from one day to the next. Maintaining current rankings is just as involved as getting new ones; it takes constant research, updates and testing to keep your URL ranking in the top positions. Discontinuing SEO after you’ve achieved rankings will result in a loss of rankings fairly quickly.
Can I just rank for general business terms?
General terms are highly competitive and would be extremely costly to rank for based on the time and resources it would take to achieve rankings for a term that broad. Another reason we advise against going after terms that broad is relevancy. If you are a lawyer in Connecticut, traffic from Florida probably isn’t that relevant to your business. It is more cost effective and pragmatic to go after terms that relate to the location of your business.
What is local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of ranking for geographically local search queries, which draw on a separate algorithm from Google’s national search results. It uses many of the same considerations that national SEO uses, including domain authority, inbound links, and on-site content, but a handful of extras, including local citations in third-party directories, and the quality and quantity of online reviews for your business. It’s a much less competitive strategy compared to national SEO, and is vital for brick-and-mortar storefronts that serve local customers.
How do I pick good keywords to target?
Today’s search algorithms rely more on semantic search (understanding and appeasing user intent) than they do on mapping keyword phrases to identical phrases on the web. Still, you can pick good keywords for content topics (and possibly dedicated pages) by looking for common user questions in your industry, trending topics, and any important business areas you notice your competitors aren’t covering. By working with an experienced agency, we’ll help you decide on keywords based on your marketing goals, your target audience, and your geographical region.
Are search engine ranks guaranteed?
No! Ethical SEO agencies cannot guarantee something they can’t control, and beware of any company that claims they can. There is no way to know 100% how a site will rank because of the search engine’s constantly evolving nature and to guarantee rankings would be unethical. Also, beware of companies claiming that they do guarantee ranking positions as they may use illegal tactics that result in your domain being sandboxed or blacklisted. With that said, Wieting Design has worked with countless of local businesses to improve their search rankings and increase their digital marketing footprint.
Getting placed on the first page of a Google search doesn’t happen overnight, however, your SEO strategy will go a long way for your business with the proper maintenance. Your SEO strategy needs to be a continuous process. As technology develops, search engines also adapt to these changes by altering their algorithms that define how your website gets ranked. Stay on top of your SEO strategy and make sure that it is up to date.
Wieting Design | CT Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is no longer optional. In order to remain competitive in today’s internet marketplace, you need a successful online presence for your Connecticut (CT) business. At Wieting Design, our revenue-driven approach to SEO services in Connecticut is designed to attract, engage, and convert high-quality leads, faster. Our #1 focus is on obtaining long-term, residual results for our clients through organic search engine optimization (SEO).