SEO, or search engine optimization, is currently a major buzzword within marketing departments of companies in a variety of industries. It seems that everyone is talking about SEO, its capabilities, and what it can do to drive search engine results that ultimately lead to higher conversion rates. But what is SEO really, and how do you use it to your company’s best advantage? Let’s take a look at SEO as a concept and learn about some of the SEO tools that are currently available to business owners everywhere who wish to boost their search engine ranking scores as well as find out more about their targeted marketing audience.
What is SEO?
SEO, an acronym for search engine optimization, is the practice of using specific keywords and phrases within the content of your company’s website to rank higher on search results pages. Whenever a prospective client searches for a particular product or company on Google or another search engine, such as Bing or Apple Safari, her search returns results based on the exact keywords she entered. Websites that contain the exact keywords entered will show up as a better match for her search, and appear at or near the top of the screen. Since most prospective customers tend to choose from one of the first search results links they are presented with, and hardly anyone bothers to go to page 2 of the search results, it is vital to a company to be able to rank as high as possible. That’s where SEO comes in- a person with SEO savvy can utilize one of the many SEO tools available to help decide on the best keywords to include, which will yield the best results. These SEO tools can also provide data analytics to the prospective customers, for a business owner to get a better picture of their targeted marketing segment. Catering to a particular market niche based on analytics results can help a company grow in a safe direction while making sure that most of the allotted budget is directed at effectively targeting and marketing to these prospective clients. SEO, in a nutshell, is critical to business and can help drive Google search rankings, which can ultimately lead to conversions.
In today’s digital marketplace, consumers know that the product or service they’re looking for is just a Google search away. By entering specific keywords relevant to what they are searching for, they can generate a list of websites that can help them find what they need. By harnessing the power of SEO, a business owner can have insight into the most searched-for keywords within their market, and use those keywords within their web content, which will help their website land among the top matches when the keywords are entered. Since most consumers don’t tend to go more than three or four links down on a results page before finding what they’re looking for, it is of utmost importance to be at or near the top to generate organic web traffic from search results. SEO can pinpoint the keywords and phrases necessary to create a near-perfect match between what a consumer is seeking and what your website offers, which can then boost your search results ranking score.
SEO is a relatively new marketing concept that gained traction as e-commerce, and the use of mobile devices exploded in recent years. Since the majority of consumers use mobile devices to conduct searches for goods and services, SEO has become more important than ever- consumers on the go are looking for a good local store that sells what they need, and they need search results fast! By using SEO to enhance your web presence and drive your organic traffic, your company’s website could be one of the top-ranking ones in town! Think of all the sales that could potentially generate- the addition of quality SEO to your site can make a big difference in your marketing strategy.
Perhaps the biggest, most well-known SEO tool around is Google Analytics. Those who are new to SEO may not have heard about Google Analytics, but it is a driving force in the big data revolution, as its purpose is to gather information about the people who make up your website’s core audience. Google Analytics is a “freemium” service, meaning it is initially free to use, but visitors can upgrade to a premium edition that includes a few more options for better gathering and analyzing company data.
Visitors to your website are tracked through Google Analytics, which catalogs their demographic information such as age, gender, and geographic location, as well as their online behavior both on your website and on other sites. Google Analytics can keep track of how long a visitor to your site spends on individual pages, as well as any conversions, or goals set by a company. Conversions may include the sale of a product, generating a lead, clicking to view a certain chart or report on a page, or viewing a video.
The e-commerce reporting features of Google Analytics tracks the activity and performance of your company’s sales, then generates a report for the website’s total transactions in a given period, as well as revenue and other commerce-based metrics. These reports can be beneficial to business owners for pinpointing areas of weakness, as well as forecasting for subsequent quarters. Google Analytics’ dashboards that display data to business owners are in-depth yet easy to read, and provides companies with insight into how they can better their website to boost search results and drive sales. You can also customize your segmented visitor lists to be able to market differently to each group of people by zeroing in on their chief interests and persona.
Still, have questions? Here’s a video overview tutorial of Google Analytics, courtesy of YouTube contributor Michael Kohler :
Another SEO tool for small business owners and digital marketing professionals, SEMRush provides a valuable service by giving you access to your competitors’ best SEO keywords, which helps you get a leg up on the competition. SEMRush gives you the opportunity to discover the secret to competitors’ success, as well as provide insights into how to include keywords that seem to be working for your rivals within your website’s content. SEMRush can give you the competitive edge you need to make sure your company stays in the game when it comes to ranking on Google and other search engines.
SEMRush offers analytics reports that highlight your competitors’ keywords, as well as a technical SEO audit, position tracking, and ideas for generating more organic traffic. SEMRush can also be helpful with PPC, or pay-per-click traffic, with features that provide analysis of your ad strategy, optimization of cross-group negatives, and a thorough analysis of the competition’s paid traffic strategies. SEO has never been more comprehensive or understandable than with an all-in-one SEO tool like SEMRush! The Pro edition, which includes 25 advanced tools, starts at $99.95 per month. Beefier editions with more features, more detailed reports, and extended limits are also available. These versions, called Guru and Business, have a monthly fee of $199.95 and $399.95, respectively, and can be useful for larger companies and e-commerce projects.
Additional SEO Tools
Google Analytics and SEMRush are just the tip of the SEO iceberg- a huge and steadily growing number of SEO tools, both free and paid, have entered the arena and are available to business owners who wish to enhance their web presence, drive organic traffic, and boost search engine ranking. These SEO tools include:
Agency Analytics- An all-in-one reporting platform for SEO, PPC, social and analytics designed to yield professional-quality results.
WordStream- A free tool that generates thousands of keyword suggestions, as well as keyword grouping and analysis that can offer insights and add value to your campaign.
BuzzSumo- Now you can analyze the best-performing content for any topic or competitor website, thanks to BuzzSumo! Simply enter a keyword or website into the search window, sit back and let the content research tool generate a comprehensive overview of key influencers that will promote your content best.
Ahrefs- If your competitors’ performance leaves you wondering why they are ranking so high, wonder no more! Ahrefs contains tools to help you research your competitors, monitor your niche and improve your traffic and rankings so you can stay ahead of the competition.
Yoast SEO Plugin- A handy SEO tool that integrates seamlessly with WordPress to offer keyword suggestions, check content readability, and optimizes your technical configurations for constantly-updating Google search algorithms.
Check My Links (Chrome Plugin)- Make sure all the links on your site are in perfect working order with Check My Links. This tool goes through your webpage checking for broken links, alerting you to any that need to be fixed.
HARO- HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, is a fact-checking tool for articles and news stories you wish to publish on your website. HARO can provide a source for every story, ensuring you are delivering credible, factual information.
Google Mobile Friendly Test- Is your webpage mobile-friendly? Google Mobile Friendly Test is here to help you find out! In today’s society, where mobile device usage is outpacing standard computer use for the first time in history, it is more important than ever to make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices, so your visitors can have a top-quality experience.
GTmetrix- There is nothing more frustrating than a slow website. Don’t turn away prospective clients with a sluggish site- GTmetrix can test your speed and make it faster by providing valuable advice on how to optimize your performance.
Google Search Console- When it comes to search engines, Google is the undisputed king. Make sure your website and mobile app is Google-friendly with this easy-to-use search console. Simply add your website or mobile app to the Google Search Console and you will begin receiving notifications, alerts and other information on how to tweak your content to make it more readable by Google.
SEO Monitor- This innovative SEO reporting platform includes Topic Explorer, a tool that employs state-of-the-art technology which “understands” semantically-connected keywords, allowing you to bring the focus of your content to topics rather than just keywords.
Google Trends- What’s trending now? Find out with Google Trends- a comprehensive look at all Google data for the current date, compartmentalized into categories for easy searching.
SpyFu- An SEO tool that allows you to access your competitors’ most profitable keywords in order to boost your own paid and organic search rankings. Now you can discover the marketing secrets of the competition!
Authority Labs- This tool provides daily SEO tracking with trustworthy search engine ranking data and keyword recommendations. Authority Labs will save you time by tracking your rankings for you, so you can focus on running your business.
SEO Tools in Action
When you utilize SEO tools to drive your website’s search engine results, you are putting your company in a position to generate more organic website traffic, versus the pay-per-click traffic you may be getting from ads and paid links. By using SEO tools to discover your best keywords, you can then integrate them into your website content, thus generating organic search results when these keywords are entered into the search engine. This can boost your ranking over time, leading your company’s website to be among the first to appear on a search results page, leading to more visitors to your site and, ultimately, more conversions.
SEO magic doesn’t happen overnight- it is the product of hard work, analysis, and knowledge of what works to drive search engine ranking scores. Your company can benefit greatly from the incorporation of SEO tools over time, which can lead to more business coming your way! For business owners of all sizes, SEO is an important and efficient marketing strategy in today’s digital marketplace.