When you have a passion for marketing, it’s easy to dive into learning the various components and strategies that are usually reserved for the experts. It may take longer to learn and you’ll make plenty of mistakes, but it’s worth putting in the time when you love marketing.
Although marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) seem related, with the latter, you’re entering deep waters. SEO may seem like a bunch of technical strategies from the outside, but it’s actually quite nuanced and difficult to do correctly on your own.
SEO is about more than just keywords – it’s about getting search engines to understand the context of your content so it comes up in relevant searches. This requires expertise.
“Just because a human can see great content on a page doesn’t mean Google can see it or understand what that content is,” says SEO consultant Michael Cottam. “You have to implement a bunch of technical details behind-the-scenes to make Google understand what your images are about, who wrote the article, and what expertise/credentials that person has in that industry.”
Although it’s better to hire an expert, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting on your own. If you still want to try your hand at SEO, try these strategies for best results.
1. Use market-appropriate strategies (and avoid ones that aren’t)
Some SEO strategies are better suited for certain industries. For example, at first glance, it seems like every business should collect email addresses and send emails out on a regular basis. This is true for most businesses, but not all. Sometimes, sending out regular emails can work against you.
If you’re running a plumbing business, for example, your customers won’t want to get regular emails from you unless you can truly capture their interest. You can only send out so many emails with solutions to clogged toilets and P-traps before people will start to unsubscribe.
On the other hand, if you sell software solutions, it’s much easier to retain subscribers with interesting content and nurture them through your sales funnel with your emails.
Some SEO strategies are essential regardless of the industry, but for the rest, make sure you’re using market-appropriate strategies.
2. Hire a professional copywriter
Once you get your web pages to rank in the search engines, you’re only halfway done. When visitors click through to your site, you then have to keep them on your site long enough to convert.
Holding the top position in Google and getting all the clicks won’t make any difference if your traffic doesn’t convert. This is why your page content can be considered part of SEO.
There’s no other way to put it: the difference between hiring a professional copywriter and hiring someone who can write well is lost revenue. If you need content and you hire someone who can simply write well, you’re not going to generate your highest revenue potential.
The difference is that good writers can tell an interesting story and produce copy that would pass an English teacher’s inspection, but they aren’t usually trained to write persuasively. When you’re after conversions – especially sales – you need persuasive copy, and persuasive copy isn’t always perfect. In fact, persuasive copy often uses punctuation improperly and includes slang.
If you’re serious about getting results from your SEO efforts, make sure your web page copy is convincing and persuasive enough to get your visitors to perform the action(s) you want them to take.
3. Take advantage of local SEO
When you don’t have a massive, multi-million-dollar SEO budget like the giant corporations, it’s impossible to compete for common keywords and phrases. However, you can compete with local SEO. This strategy works best when you have either a physical storefront or a local home base.
Local SEO significantly narrows down your reach and that’s what you want. You want to reach a smaller segment of your market that happens to be local to your business. For instance, if you’re running a business out of Bend, Oregon, your local SEO efforts will target people in and around the zip code 97701. It’s much easier to analyze and outdo your competition locally.
When people in this zip code perform searches related to your business, you also have a better chance at getting traffic from your Google Business listing. When your Google Business listing shows up at the top of search results, your potential customers will see your listing before they see organic search results. If your listing is well-optimized and you have a positive rating, you’ll get targeted clicks from potential customers or clients.
Don’t hesitate to hire a pro
Although it’s possible to learn SEO inside out just like marketing, it has an intense learning curve. If you’re trying your hand at SEO, consider hiring a pro to set up your initial strategy. See what they do first and then decide if you want to manage it yourself. You might be pleasantly surprised at how much easier it is to hand off the task.