Search engine optimization - SEO for short - has been a popular marketing buzzword for more than a decade. At its worst, SEO is responsible for keyword-stuffed nonsense articles that not only alienate viewers, but are highly penalized by Google. When done right, though, SEO creates a direct pathway between searcher and business, providing shoppers a friendly yet powerful nudge in the right direction.
A Simple Concept
The idea behind SEO is simple - build your website and online brand around specific keywords that people are likely to search for. Now, this doesn’t mean cramming your website full of a specific keyword over and over again. Instead, it simply means the tasteful use of your desired keyword. The keyword can (and should) appear in your site’s title, URL and Google description, which means it doesn’t need to appear dozens of times in your content. One or two native instances in your Web copy is just fine.
SEO vs SEM
There’s also paid SEO which is referred to as Search Engine Marketing ("SEM"), which involves paying Google to display an ad for your site anytime someone searches for your desired keyword. Depending on what you’re going for and how quickly you want to see results, this can be a useful solution while your organic SEO is established. It depends entirely on your unique business situation.
SEO and Digital Marketing
Effective SEO does not exist as a standalone marketing tactic. It’s is also an integral part of a successful digital marketing strategy. It’s important to see SEO in the context of a broader marketing framework.
More important than your use of SEO platform is the keyword around which you’ll base your campaign. You’ll want to find something that’s unique, yet effectively describes your business and what makes it special. Something generic like “restaurant” is no good, and “seafood restaurant” isn’t much better. Why? These keywords do nothing to differentiate your restaurant from the other seafood restaurants in your area. However, something like “seafood restaurant (city name)” or “seafood restaurant (specialty dish)” can help to set you apart from competing businesses - and more importantly, help your site to rank very highly within your niche.
Keyword Research Tools
Identifying the right keyword isn’t easy, especially to first-time SEO marketers. Sites like Moz and KeywordTool.io can help you to not only come up with great keyword ideas, but monitor the current usage of these keywords. Knowing how often people search for given keywords - and how much competition there is within those keywords - will help you to find the happy medium of exposure and Web traffic that will enable new visitors to find your site.