Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of changing the position of your website in search engine results. The higher your website ranks, the greater potential you have to increase organic website traffic and attract more customers. A winning SEO strategy needs to be an integral part of your overall digital marketing efforts, given that businesses now on average are spending 32% less on traditional outbound marketing than they used to.
On March 1, 2016, I’ll be teaching our next an ”An Introduction to Search Engine Optimization“ class in Boulder, Colorado and on April 6, 2016, I’ll be teaching our next half-day SEO training in Denver. During the workshops, I’ll present the 5 pillars of SEO, keyword research, writing tips, SEO audits and more. Here’s a brief sneak preview of these topics:
In order to elevate your website in organic search results, I recommend implementing what I call the 5 pillars, or main components, of SEO. There’s so much to say about each of these pillars, but for the purpose of this blog post, I’ll describe them at a very high level. For the details, I invite you to come to my workshop and read the links in the content below.
The first two pillars involve your website:
- Technical Health of Website – analyze the structure of your website for potential technical issues such as URL canonicalization, 404 pages, page speed load times, etc. If you have technical issues, your website may rank lower than your competitors.
- Website Functionality – make your website as user-friendly and functional as possible so people stay on your site and ultimately convert to paying customers. Google provides website guidelines to help improve your quality.
The next three pillars involve:
- On-Page Search Engine Optimization – this pillar includes things like developing a list of target keywords, implementing a content strategy using the keywords, optimizing meta tags and measuring your success. Developing high-quality content is critical and I’ll talk more about it later in this post.
- Off-Page Search Engine Optimization – this pillar includes things like links back to your website from other sources, business listings, press releases and anything you can do outside of your website to tell Google and other searches about your site. Where your business is linked to outside of your website and what people are saying make a huge difference.
- Social Media Marketing – involves using social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus in your content marketing strategy. Having a solid and sounds social media strategy is required in today’s world of communication and will help the search engines discover your content.
The foundation of your digital marketing strategy is content marketing.
SEO Keyword Research
Keyword research, which involves figuring out the words that your potential customers are using to search for things in search engines, is the foundation of overall search engine optimization and content development. You need to have a keyword plan or else you’re just shooting in the dark.
There are a variety of tools you can use to do keyword research; I prefer using Google’s Keyword Planner tool which is part of Google AdWords. We’ll often go through hundreds if not thousands of keywords to discover the “golden nuggets” for our customers. After analyzing and fine-tuning your keyword list, you’ll then use the keywords to develop high-quality content, which I’ll discuss next.
SEO Writing Tips
Content is everywhere – we’re bombarded with it. In order to grab people’s attention and keep it, you need to develop a content marketing strategy to deliver high-quality content on a regular basis. Content can be in all kinds of forms: blog posts, website copy, white papers, videos, social media content, email newsletters and much more.
I’d recommend that you start by developing and then maintaining a content calendar to include things like target audience, purpose, form, date, author and targeted keywords. You’ll need resources, which can be on staff or outsourced, to develop and track the content. There are a lot of specific guidelines for optimizing content which I’ll share in our workshops.
SEO Site Audit
Performing an SEO site audit on a regular basis will help you gather data to see how customers are interacting with your site, how long they’re staying and what they’re downloading. When I speak with potential new customers, I usually run their website through our complimentary SEO site audit tool to see how well (or not) their site is optimized for search. The tool generates a report delivered as a PDF to your inbox within a few minutes. There are a lot of other free tools to use; here are a few that I like:
- Google Search Console – website health data such as broken links, website errors, etc.
- Google Analytics – different kinds of data about your website or app such as organic search volume, bounce rates, length of visit, and much more
- Screaming Frog – crawls websites and provides meta data info, points out images without alt tags, etc.
SEO Training in Denver and Boulder
Search engine optimization has become quite involved but it’s worth the effort. I’ve been offering SEO classes for quite some time now and I love when previous class attendees share their success stories with me. One previous class attendee reported that their revenues directly related to organic Google search traffic help them improve revenues by nearly 200% year-over-year:
If you’re ready and interested in learning SEO, then I invite you to check our upcoming events schedule. We offer introductory, half-day, full-day and also a two-day SEO certification boot camp in the Boulder and Denver area: http://www.boulderseomarketing.com/seo-and-social-media-classes/upcoming-events
About the Author
My name is Chris Raulf and I’m the Founder & President of Boulder SEO Marketing. We’re located in beautiful Denver and Boulder, Colorado. My team and I assist local, national and international clients with all of their digital marketing training and consulting needs. If you’re a subscriber to Social Media Examiner, then you may have read one of my guest-articles for them before. Having become an SEO expert has completely changed my life. I now speak around the globe in front of hundreds of people and I get to meet some of the brightest and interesting business people. I truly enjoy teaching search engine optimization, and I’m also the first to admit that it’s not for everyone. To be successful, you have to be passionate about this topic, open to embrace the methodology that I’ll teach you and willing to spend the time to implement it. I hope you’re up for it!