You’ve heard about search engine optimization (SEO). Maybe someone in your company has suggested that you need to “do” SEO, or do it better.
The old days of SEO are over, but not every marketer understands that ranking well with Google isn’t about plugging a bunch of keywords and phrases into your site admin and hoping for the best. Today, SEO is about creating an ongoing content strategy that educates and engages customers with rich, on-topic content added to your website on a regular basis.
A Quick Primer on SEO
OK, so let’s start with the basics: There are billions of website pages on the internet. So we use search engines like Google (and Bing and others) to find what we’re looking for, typically by typing a few words or a question into the search box on their respective homepages. What we get in return, of course, is a list of web pages that Google thinks are highly relevant to our search. Google constantly scans those billions of pages looking for content that it analyzes to determine how relevant a particular page is to a particular search term or phrase.
In the old days, and we mean about 5 years ago, marketers would “seed” their web pages with words and phrases they guessed that prospects might be searching for. The result was online copy that read strangely to users. Google, naturally, wised up to this SEO game and shifted its algorithm to discount pages with SEO trickery.
Today, Google’s crawlers look for content itself — stuff that’s original (not duplicated elsewhere on a site), meaty (about 750 to 1,000 words) and current. For marketers in the fishing and paddlesports industries, that means updating your site at least once a week with new content.
If you’re concerned that your pages aren’t ranking high enough in search to drive the traffic you want, here’s what you need to know.
Characteristics of Great Content for Search Engines
Search-friendly content is:
- Totally focused on the visitor
- Service-oriented; that is, designed to give visitors the information they seek and answer their questions
- Linked to other related content on your site, and to relevant outside pages (Google likes cross-linking)
- Directed toward the next step; in other words, copy should gently steer the visitor to whatever action you want them to take, like viewing your product lineup or signing up for a special offer
- Updated frequently so visitors always find something new
Dynamic vs. Static Content
We’ve written about the importance of custom website content in your marketing strategy. Here, we’ll dig a bit more into dynamic and static content and their role in SEO-based marketing tactics.
Static pages are those that don’t change frequently; they include your company history, your team, your brand ambassadors and the like. These pages should be built on a content management system (CMS) that includes SEO-related fields including page titles, headlines and subheads, excerpts, descriptions and keywords. Images should have logical names and descriptions. All of those back-end fields should be written with key search terms in mind. (Moz’s Keyword Explorer is a great tool for researching commonly searched words and phrases. We also recommend their beginner’s guide to keyword research.)
Dynamic pages change regularly, preferably at least once a week. A blog is the ideal type of dynamic content; you should be constantly publishing stories about customers who use your products, fishing tournaments you’re hosting, sneak previews of the coming season’s paddling gear, owner spotlights and more. In addition, your online store — where products and pricing should update regularly — is ripe for SEO. Your ecommerce platform includes category labels, tags, headers, meta descriptions and other fields that deliver information to search engines. Any new posts in your blog and new products in your store should automatically feed to a prominent position on your homepage, giving it a dynamic element as well.
When you’re developing those static pages and updating dynamic content, make full use of the SEO fields in your CMS. They’re there for a reason. If your marketing team hasn’t been using those fields, make it a slow-season project to go into your CMS and fill in those gaps with smart, keyword-based copy.
If you think that your current website doesn’t “do” SEO well, if you’re not getting the traffic you think you should, give us a call. We can take a look under the hood and recommend strategies to get better results — more qualified traffic, more loyal visitors, more sales. It may be as simple as adding a new section of dynamic content; it may mean retooling the full site.
We can develop a site that works for you and teach your team to take the helm. No SEO trickery required.