Unfortunately, in this day and age, it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle. This is especially the case if you are a small business trying to increase traffic to your website. The competitors might make you feel like you are drowning in a vast sea of search results.
In a big city like Chicago, this can feel doubly so. After all, you are competing with the neighboring businesses as well as strictly e-commerce sites. That is why getting a solid grasp on the concept of search engine optimization, known as SEO, is so critical. Keep reading to get a better understanding of what it is, why it is so important, and how you can get help with it.
A Crash Course on SEO
The first thing to do is define it for you. Of course, the phrase “search engine optimization” is a bit self-explanatory. However, there are more complex definitions out there. Put simply, though, it is the process of getting a higher volume and a higher quality of traffic for a web page.
The goal of it is not to gear towards paid traffic. Rather, it targets unpaid traffic. Sometimes this is called organic. These views can come from a variety of sources, including but not limited to academic searches, video searches, photo searches, and news searches.
What this process considers is the different programming and algorithms going on behind the scenes on engines such as Google. While Google is the most popular one with billions of inquiries occurring each day, it is not the only one out there. Try to target multiple audiences when applicable and appropriate.
How it Works
It seems a bit complicated and intimidating on the surface, but adapting these practices is often not as hard as it appears. Rather, it requires a bit of knowledge and research.
The primary thing to remember is the concept of keywords. You can learn more about them at this site if you want. Keywords and phrases are the lifeblood of any SEO campaign.
If you learn what people are looking for when they ask an engine about something related to your field, you can curate your website to reflect that topic and those words. Let me provide an example for you.
Say you are a business selling cookies. Consider phrases that consumers will look up when wanting to purchase them. You probably do not want to market to someone looking for a recipe, for example.
So, rather than going with “sugar cookie recipe” or “how to make sugar cookies” you could use “buying sugar cookies” or “sugar cookies in bulk” for your selected keywords/phrases. This is a reductive example of course, but hopefully, you understand the concept.
The goal of these campaigns is to give a search engine a better idea of the content on your website and why it should display yours over others when responding to inquiries. Having good article titles that are short and to the point and relevant meta descriptions are a good way to jumpstart this.
What are the Best Practices?
Well, it is a bit difficult to provide a simple list of the best ones to use. There are a large variety of strategies that exist, and each has its own merits and drawbacks. At the end of the day, it will be a personal choice for you. However, I will provide some basic guidance.
The first thing to remember is that you should always have your keyword appear early on in your content. This is because most engines will put more weight on the content on top of a page than further in. So – while it probably shouldn’t be the first word, it should be in your introduction certainly.
Titles and meta descriptions, as I touched upon above, are another component. You can learn more about them here, but just remember they should be unique. Don’t copy paste any other titles you see for similar content.
Really, all of what you use needs to be original synthesized content. Plagiarism is never a good look and will not boost you in algorithms. This goes for pretty much all aspects of your page, from the meta description to your image alt text.
Some other things to do are more on the technical side of things. Making sure that your website has a high loading speed will boost your traffic. Potential customers won’t be turned away by a page that lags and is annoying to refresh or move around on.
You can also do something known as internal linking. It’s like it sounds – you give a link to something else on your own website within an article or body of text. This directs more traffic to your page with fairly minimal effort.
For those unfamiliar with the internet, this can feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do it all on your own, though. There are groups like Chicago SEO Scholar that can aid in your campaigns. You probably have enough on your mind and your plate already, without needing to worry about something like this.
A lot of SEO comes down to your website and the design of it. Consultants can help fine tune your landing pages and other parts of the site to best promote organic clicks. They can also help to give your site a much-needed refresh.
After all, outdated things on the internet typically don’t get much traffic. A sleek, modern design provides an easy environment for customers to browse. A team can assist with this.
They can also help with analyzing any data that you collect on your efficiency. Looking for a keyword and phrase trends, for example, might be one function they perform for you. This saves you valuable time and energy that can be directed toward your business instead.
If you are in the Chicago area and want to stand out amongst the crowd, consider employing some of these SEO techniques. It should help garner attention for you!