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As a CEO, you need to keep a 30,000 foot level on your company's bottom line, but you also need to understand enough about SEO to make decisions. Here's your guide to the basics, so you get the info you need to make decisions, without pulling your hair out.
Keywords and SEO
Search engines depend primarily on keywords on your website or blog to index and find your site when users search online. Relevance is key. The content on your company's website needs to have relevant keywords for your business. Otherwise, potential customers will not find you in search results because you will either not rank well, or not rank at all. But of course, if you are stuck on page 10 of Google search, very few people will just happen across your webpage during a search. What should your strategy be? After all, you have limited marketing dollars and you don't want to spend them all in one place.
There are many free tools online to help you determine what keywords and keyword phrases are most popular. The tools include geographic statistics of searches per month, demographics of who is searching for what, and other information to help you target your specific customer type. The thing to remember is it's not just what keywords people are searching most for, but what keywords have the highest value in terms of ad revenue. This aspect of monetization is the core of the misunderstanding about keywords. People use the most popular keyword related to their industry and expect to get some magical results. What they forgot about is certain keywords, while common, do not have very high unique value associated with them. Be unique by using more specific keyword phrases to describe your product or service online. For example, “online marketing” garners the top global search results, but it also has the highest competition. If you specialize in mobile application development or marketing, try a keyword like “mobile advertising marketing”, which has fewer global search results, but also less competition.
Where to put keywords within your webpage matters too. Search engines love to see keywords placed prominently in the Title of a blog post, within the content itself, and also within the attributes of photo and video files uploaded within the post or webpage.
Ranking and SEO
While you can chase your tail trying to make changes for every search engine algorithm change (which happens all the time), you will go crazy and miss the point of reaching your target audience. It is simple. Develop content that you know will interest and engage potential customers. Think about what they are searching for when they go online. Think beyond keywords and look at keyword phrases. Make sure your sales page or landing page has those targeted keyword phrases within the titles and headers.
Make your website more friendly to search engines by labeling everything you post online, including naming conventions for uploaded photos and videos, and attributes of uploaded content. The worst thing you can do for SEO is to provide a link to another website that says “Click Here”. Search engines are looking for descriptive text, so a better label for a hyperlink would be “Premium Online Marketing Resources”. Do some research on ranking methods, but don't get too over-the-top. Focus on providing your customers with information they need and they will find you naturally. Also, use humor in the information you post and people will want to read your content. It will engage people to return to your website just to see what you have recently written because it makes them laugh.
Conversion and SEO
Just because you have increased the visitors to your site doesn't mean that you are getting them to buy-in to your product or service. The process of getting a potential customer to be a loyal, paying customer is called conversion. Given that people need to visit your site an average of 7 times before they commit to purchase, you have a long road ahead. Here are some tips for increasing the conversion rate on your company's website:
- Engaging Titles – Make people want to read more. Don't give it away completely in the title, but tease the subject. You want people to keep reading! It's cheesy, but go on Yahoo's main page and see how they tease their top 10 titles.
- Make Every Page Count – businesses focus so much on their main websites, they forget potential customers may stumble across subpages by accident. Include critical company contact info and email subscription info on each page.
- Optimize for Mobile – You can have the best keywords ever, and the most engaging content on the planet. But if your website is not optimized for mobile devices, you're losing out on some serious conversion!
So, go bold into the world of online marketing. Just like an in-person business meeting, strive to give the customer value, good service, and a smile. Make sure your technical team is paying attention to the details of keyword optimization, ranking, and conversion. Most importantly, measure your performance. You won't know how well any strategy is working unless you as the CEO get regular reports on website analytics.