3 SEO Fundamentals Every Business Website Must Have
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a powerful role in your business’ online marketing strategy. Getting it right dictates how much return you’ll get on your investment, but understanding how to improve your search engine rankings isn’t easy—if it were, SEO wouldn’t have its own industry, it’d be a minor afterthought.
In reality, SEO is vitally important, and there are several fundamentals that can make or break your success. By addressing these, your content will stay relevant as search engine technology continues to change and grow.
That’s where this post comes in! In this piece, we’ll show you the three SEO fundamentals you’ll need for success, and how to optimize your business’ website for high-performance online marketing.
- Focus on long tail keywords that tie into the buyer’s journey. This will also help with your voice and conversational search optimization.
- Earn quality backlinks, rather than buying worthless ones in bulk and potentially getting your site blacklisted.
- Publish authoritative content not only to preserve your search result rankings, but to earn backlinks and business leads.
1. Long Tail Keywords
Long tail keywords are a powerful tool for businesses without a big marketing budget. They’ve been around for a while, and have now become a common SEO tactic. In fact, they could even become more valuable in the future due to voice search and personalized results—and who knows what other new search capabilities will change the game field? New searches are growing daily, and patterns suggest that long tail keywords are best over the long term.
If that’s not convincing enough, consider your return on investment. Long tail keywords are a smart move for businesses because they’re more valuable per keyword. In addition, long tail keywords target search intent that ties back to buyer’s journey.
How to Implement Long Tail Keywords
To get started, don’t just choose long tail keywords for the sake of it, but focus on those likely to bring in business leads. You can do this in a few different ways.
Firstly, start by reviewing your business’ services, and list out every service and product your business offers. Next, write one “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how” question for each service. Those questions will be the basis of a new long tail keyword to create a blog post or landing page for.
Next, check traffic analytics for keywords already driving visitors to your site. If possible, cross check that with the keywords bringing in business leads. You can use the results as a starting point for brainstorming related ideas.
2. Relevant Backlinks
Simply put, backlinks are when another website links back to yours. In the past, people tried to take advantage of this system by paying many websites to include a link back to their own. However, this is no longer a workable solution as Google heavily penalizes the practice.
That being said, backlinks themselves can help to boost your site’s rankings—but if you get it wrong, the results could be catastrophic.
It means you need to focus on the quality of your backlinks, rather than the quantity. In fact, there are a number of elements you should avoid if you want a healthy search ranking:
- Social bookmarking.
- Link directory submissions.
- Spinning articles.
- Press releases and blog comments with anchor text.
- Automated link building.
- Link purchasing.
When it comes to backlinks, it’s more about what you shouldn’t do, rather than the opposite.
How to Earn Relevant Backlinks
There are a few clear no-nos for acquiring backlinks. As a general rule of thumb, don’t buy links. In that same vein, don’t take part in bulk linking services. Instead, focus on organically earning links, rather than any quick schemes. One solid way to do this is by guest posting on other blogs.
Another method is to leverage social media to bring attention to your content. There are many ways to do this, but a good strategy is to establish relationships with content creators, who may then find your content useful and link to it on their own sites. Also, by getting involved in social media discussions, you can bring even more positive attention to your brand and content.
However, nobody will link to bad content, which brings us back to the overall quality of your site. In general, resist repeating yourself, and don’t use the same exact content on multiple pages of your site. Duplicate content makes it confusing for others linking to you, while diluting the strength of your pages in results.
Finally, put out content worthy of backlinks. We recommend focusing on authoritative content, and we’ll cover that next.
3. Authoritative Content
Over the last few years, Google has been giving more importance to ranking websites based around three key factors—Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT).
To help, the exact question posed to Google’s search result evaluators is: “Does the person or organization have sufficient expertise for the topic?” In other words, your content needs to prove that it can nail all three elements of EAT for Google to define it as high-quality. In fact, these guidelines are a good measuring point for quality content on a whole.
Authoritative content matters because:
- It helps build backlinks. For example, people would be happy to link to your expert how-to posts.
- It’s a ranking factor that goes far beyond regular keyword optimization. In short, make sure that your entire website follows the EAT principles.
- It is relevant and interesting, no matter what your industry is. Helpful content never goes out of style.
[Tweet “Authoritative content is helpful and trustworthy—two qualities that never go out of style.”]
How to Create Authoritative Content
As you can imagine, putting out authoritative content is not an easy gig. Firstly, your site needs to be reliable from a technical perspective, so make sure you’ve updated and optimized your site to meet user expectations. It should be mobile compatible, easy to navigate, fast to load, and have no broken links.
Next, you’ll want to audit your existing content for an evergreen quality, and make sure that it’s always fresh and up to date. One simple, yet effective method of keeping content fresh is by creating expert roundups to give industry insight to readers.
Bonus: Conversational Questions and Answers
Conversational search refers to a more semantic and fluid type of interaction with search engines. Instead of a few choice keywords, search queries include sentences, questions, or even partial ideas. Furthermore, search engines now use context to guess what we mean, and seek to provide more in-depth answers.
The rise of voice search means a greater focus in the future, and its specific nature means that optimizing for it is essentially a natural extension of long tail keywords.
How to Prepare for Conversational Search
To get ready for conversational search, you’ll need to look at optimizing in one of two ways. Firstly, you’ll want to optimize for instant answers and rich snippets. These are prominently featured results in search rankings, and in fact, it’s wise to optimize for them regardless of whether you’re looking to take advantage of conversational search.
Secondly, look to structure your content semantically using paragraph tags, headings, and lists, as they’re all elements search engines use to help establish context. Again, this is wise to do even if you’re not ready for conversational search.
SEO should rightly be central to your online marketing strategy, and you’ll get the most out of it by sticking to the core SEO fundamentals. You risk wasting your business’ online marketing resources, and losing what progress you’ve already made, by doing anything different. Staying on top of what’s important keeps your content relevant, even as search engines continue to change and grow.
In this piece, we offered up three SEO fundamentals every business website must have. Let’s recap:
- Long tail keywords.
- Relevant backlinks.
- Authoritative content.
Conversational search will also be important in the future, but will rely on optimization using tried and trusted ‘old school’ SEO techniques.
Are there any other SEO fundamentals you live by? Let us know in the comments section below!
Solomon Thimothy is the Co-founder of Clickx, a Chicago-based white label digital marketing platform. He has been in the agency space for over a decade and has helped 100s of entrepreneurs build 7 and 8 figure agencies. He helps agency owners on a 1:1 basis to scale sales and fulfillment. Follow him on twitter @sthimothy
Fantastic list and very informative! I find it interesting how over the years ‘content’ has always been important but what people actually mean by content changes e.g. Lots of content is best, relevant content is best etc.