About the Author:
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a search marketing and design agency located near St. Louis Mo. Travis loves researching and writing about SEO strategies and implementing innovative strategies for his clients. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.
If you have a business, you need to be marketing to reach new customers and grow your sales. Unlike many other SEO professionals, I will not tell you SEO is the only strategy you should be using to market your business, but it certainly should be among your top channels of marketing.
In case you are not familiar, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of making your site appear higher in the search results when people search for terms related to your business. These terms are known as keywords and determining which keywords to use is one of the most important parts of the entire SEO process. There are several types of keywords to target, but they should all be relevant to your product or services.
What are the types of keywords?
When you hear SEO professionals talk about keywords, they may use several terms to describe them. Here are common terms you may run across:
- Informational keywords are terms that people generally search when they are trying to learn more about a topic such as “how to choose a wedding photographer”.
- Buyer keywords are terms that have proven to convert higher than other similar terms in the past. One good example of this are review keywords like “reviews of best wedding SEO companies”
- Long tail keywords are terms which consist of four or more words instead of a single term. “SEO for wedding photographers” is an example of a long tail keyword.
- Body keywords are short terms such as “wedding SEO”. These terms generally have more traffic than long tail keywords but they are harder to rank for as well. These terms are two – three words in length.
- Head keywords are extremely competitive terms that are a single word such as “SEO”. The traffic for these terms is usually very high but they are less targeted than body or long tail keywords.
In order to setup an effective SEO campaign, you need to use a combination of the types of keywords. Informational blog posts would be paired with informational keywords where as sales pages should target buy keywords. If you want an in depth overview of keywords and how to select keywords, I recommend reading Brian Dean’s keyword research guide.
How Does SEO Work?
Once you have selected keywords or worked with an SEO professional to find keywords, there are several steps that should be taken by you or your SEO provider. These steps are generally broken down into two sections, on page SEO and off page SEO. On page SEO consists of:
- Your website needs to be reviewed to see how well it is optimized for your target keywords. If you have a page about “wedding SEO”, you need to make sure that “wedding SEO” is included in the page text a few times, within the page title, and in the alt text for an image.
- Speed is an important ranking factor too. If you have a website that loads slowly, people will leave before the page loads and search engines will rank your site lower than faster websites. To test the speed of your site, you can use the Google Page Speed Insights Tool. As you can see below, it will grade your site and give suggestions for how to improve the speed.
- You should review the content on your website to make sure that you do not have duplicate page content, title tags, or Meta descriptions. This can be done several ways but Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a free tool you can download and use to scan your website. I wrote a tutorial on finding and removing duplicate content for Website Magazine so make sure to check that out for more details.
- Eliminating unnecessary pages is a step many SEOs overlook but it can be very helpful if you have pages without unique or helpful content. Previously, a page would be optimized for a single keyword but thanks to advancements by Google, a single page can now rank for multiple terms, combining or removing pages will prevent keyword cannibalization issues on your website.
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics as it will provide you with a great deal of data for free. Once you sign up, you should also make sure to set your preferred domain in Webmaster Tools to prevent duplicate content issues from www vs. non-www pages.
Although the above steps are a top level and basic overview of on page SEO, completing them will give you an advantage over many other sites, especially in the under optimized wedding industry. After completing the on page steps, here are some tips for off page SEO.
- The first thing you need to do is determine whether your keyword is a localized or organic term. A local term is one that contains a geo-modifier such as “wedding SEO St Louis” and returns local results when searched for. An organic term would be “wedding SEO” and would not trigger local results when searched. Here is what local search results look like:
- If you find that your keywords do return localized results, you will need to create a citation building campaign. Citations are listings made on sites like Yellow Pages that list your name, address, and business phone number. The Whitespark local citation finder is a good tool for finding citation opportunities.
- Links are built when another website has a clickable link to your site. Link building is more advanced and unless you are confident, you can do more harm than good building links so I suggest leaving it to the professionals. If you want to give it a try, here are some good resources for you to learn more.
- 20 Worthless SEO Tactics to Avoid
- Link Building without Content
- Google Plus Link Building Strategies
- The Four Types of SEO
- Ranking Keywords 101-The How to Guide
Aside from directly building links to your site, there are several steps you can take to get traffic and links to your website.
- Reaching out to related sites and asking them if you can write an article for their site is an effective method and many times you end up getting a link in the process.
- Being active on social media sites is also important and will grow in importance in the coming years. If possible, you should try to have an account on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, and Pinterest.
- You should also remember to promote your website in offline marketing as well. Adding your website to business cards, flyers, banners, and other printed materials is a must.
Hopefully you now have a better understanding of what SEO is and how it works. If you decide to try it yourself, be sure to check out the resources in this post to learn more and if you are looking for SEO services for your wedding business, I would be happy to discuss your project with you.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.