Search Engine Optimization (SEO) drives traffic to your website through search results. Every business owner understands this simple truth but most don’t understand the “not so simple” strategy of making it happen.

Unfortunately, creating a well-optimized website isn’t something that happens by chance or without a consistent, ongoing effort.  It isn’t a one-time task, nor is it something you can do quickly.

If you want to increase your visibility on the Internet, SEO is one of many ways to make it happen, but with search engine algorithms always evolving, you must employ stable and long term SEO strategies. These strategies tend to fall into three categories. 

One:  Pick the Right Keywords

What information does your website provide, and how would the average user search for that information? Seek to understand the behavior of your target demographic so that you can incorporate those keywords into your website. 

Next, place emphasis on long tail keywords over short tail ones. Short tail keywords are those that contain three words or fewer, while long tail keywords are longer and more descriptive. For example, “estate planning lawyer” is a short tail keyword while “estate planning lawyer in Detroit Michigan” is a long tail keyword. 

Short tail keywords are used more often, but are so highly competitive that they sometimes require enormous investments of time and energy in order to achieve rank with them. On the other hand, careful use of long tail keywords can yield faster results, by attracting a smaller but more specific audience. 

To use the above example, trying to compete with the keyword “estate planning lawyer” could be an uphill battle through thousands of search results. “Estate planning lawyer in Detroit Michigan” will be used in fewer searches, but is likely to attract the right target demographic. 

Two:  Content is Still the King 

Google has admitted that content – and more specifically, regular updates to content – serves as one of the top three ranking factors within their search engine algorithm. Businesses that publish regularly receive 55 percent more visitors, and 350 percent more traffic than businesses that do not post blogs. Not surprisingly, businesses that blog regularly generate 67 percent more leads.  

Clearly, blogging regularly is important. But before you get started, consider six important rules of content:

  • Produce unique and informational content related to your business.
  • Article length should be at least 350-400 words, but ideal length can vary by industry.
  • Utilize your keywords (but don’t “keyword stuff” so that your content sounds unnatural).
  • Use an important keyword in titles, descriptions, URLs, headings, and image tags. 
  • Include optimized visuals, such as pictures, embedded video, or infographics.

Finally, remember that there is more to great content than simply following the above rules. Blogs should always provide valuable information, written in an engaging tone, and be presented in an accessible format. 

Three:  Create Backlinks to Your Site

Search engines prioritize websites that have compiled a number of backlinks (when other websites link to your page). Think of these as “votes” for your website. 

The primary way of doing this is through social media platforms.  Take your content strategy from Step Two above and post links to all of your great content on your business Facebook page, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and any other platform that allows you to post links.  Not only is this a great SEO strategy, but it is also a way to drive traffic from your social media pages to your website.

Another strategy for gaining back links is to contribute content for other websites that can then be linked back to your site.  Examples are: 

  • Contribute to other sites as a guest blogger
  • Prepare industry reports that other professionals will want to utilize
  • Reach out to other business owners in your area and request social shares

Now that you’ve reviewed the three primary steps to effective search engine optimization, do you have any questions? It can be a lot to absorb at once, but no worries. We’re here to elaborate on any of these points if needed. Reach out to us, and we’ll assist you in putting together a comprehensive and competitive SEO strategy.