Search engine optimization helps bring more people to a company’s website organically
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For any brand to prosper, visibility is key. Founders, therefore, give social media prime importance when trying to establish their brand. Search engine optimization is usually an afterthought for many. Why not push for both simultaneously from the beginning? A February report by US-based social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholic says in 2017 Google outshined Facebook as the top traffic referral driver, with search driving 34.8 per cent of site visits compared to 25.6 percent from social.
“The majority of Web traffic is driven by the major commercial search engines: Google, Bing and Yahoo!. Although social media and other types of traffic can generate visits to your website, search engines are the primary method of navigation for most Internet users. This is true whether your site provides content, services, products, information or just about anything else,” says international speaker and social media expert Linda Coles in her new book, Social Media For Business—Foolproof Tips To Help You Promote Your Business Or Your Brand (Wiley; $21).
Before jumping to the tips to grow brand visibility, let’s understand what SEO really is.
Back To Basics
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a marketing discipline that focuses on growing visibility in organic, that is, non-paid, search engine results. It encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in search engines, says Coles.
One of the key recommendations of the Shareaholic Traffic Report was that marketers, publishers and site owners should continue to invest in search, as search will continue to be the largest and most efficient traffic driver in 2018. “It’s easy to get distracted by the ever-growing list of social networks, but at the end of the day, the lack of fragmentation in Search also makes the return on your efforts even more apparent as you only need to focus on one or two platforms,” it says.
The Internet is becoming increasingly competitive, so companies that perform SEO effectively will have more advantage when it comes to visitors and customers. In the book Social Media For Business, Coles lists some tips that founders could use to make their website work better.
Tag Them Right
After overall content, title elements are the most important on-page SEO elements, and appear in three key places—browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites.
Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tags. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, you can expect at least 95 per cent of your titles to display properly. A title tag, writes Coles, should contain the keywords that relate to that page, be no more than 69 characters, be relevant to the content on that page, and be unique for every page.
Content is the Boss
Writing a compelling, engaging and relevant information about each and every product of a company is important for a website’s performance. Coles lists some basic rules of thumb for writing content. They are: have a separate page for each product and service you offer; write a minimum of 300 words per page, but aim for 1,000 or more; the first couple of paragraphs should focus on the core offering; and talk about the benefits, not just the features, of your products and services.
Growth is Necessary
“Each and every time you add new content to your website, Google robots take note,” writes Coles. Adding fresh content to your website on a daily basis will work in your favour, as it will make you more visible. “If you look at the main news sites, new and fresh content is added at least daily, so they grow massively over the course of a year,” she says.
Having a widget showing your latest social media posts is a great idea as content changes regularly when you make new posts.
According to the Shareaholic, when it comes to social networks, those looking for brand building should go where the users are. “Facebook still has the dominant position, but Instagram and Pinterest are eating into that lead,” says the report. “In fact, Instagram is very close to overtaking Twitter, a traditional staple of these reports, in driving traffic. Make sure that your Instagram and Pinterest profiles are up to date, findable, and chock full of content for users to consume, share, and link out to your site.” It adds founders should ensure that in addition to optimizing content for site performance and SEO, they must invest time to include beautiful shareable images for Instagram and Pinterest.
Founders should ensure that their website is clean, and easy to navigate, for it reflects the reflection of the brand.