An SEO Primer For Oregon Businesses In 2023
Are you looking for ways to improve your website's SEO in 2023? What can your Oregon business do to rank higher in search engines? I'm here to tell you there's no quick fix, but there are some simple actions and best practices you can follow to boost your company's online presence.
First of all, it's important to be realistic. Anyone who's promising you amazing SEO results in a short amount of time should not be trusted. Just think about it for a second. If there were an easy fix to SEO, then every company would be doing it. Considering that there are only 10-12 search results (both paid and organic) that show up on the first page of search results, common sense will tell you that these SIMPLE, EASY, and CHEAP solutions are fool's gold.
The real truth is that effective SEO is not easy, and in fact involves a great deal of work. It's either going to entail a big time commitment or a significant money investment (or both), and you aren't going to see results right away. But every smart business knows that search traffic is too important in 2020 to ignore. So you need to create a long term approach to SEO and start implementing it right away.
How do I know all this? My very first job out of college was for a search engine optimization company. We had two dozen people working on how to game Google's algorithms and Fortune 500 clients paid us a lot of money to ensure all of their keywords (in some cases, they would number in the thousands) would rank at the top of the results. The algorithms were constantly changing and becoming more advanced, and it was an ongoing game of cat and mouse to stay ahead of the competition.
So while I would never discourage someone from getting their website's metadata just right, you're going to need to do a lot more than find the right header tags if you want to perform well in search.
Here is what you should be thinking about if you want to rank well on Google:
Content Is King
Google is looking for unique and frequently updated content as it decides what sites to rank highly. That means one of the best ways to improve your SEO is also the most difficult: you need to update your website regularly (think once a week) with compelling content, such as blog posts, picture galleries, videos, or the like.
No one wants to hear this, but there are no shortcuts here. Either you invest the time (your own, or one of your employees') to create the content yourself, or you hire a company to do it for you. Think 1000 words or more per post. That's not going to be cheap, though a weekly blog post might not be as expensive as you might be worried about. Including multimedia with the post, such as original photos and videos, will make your posts stand out even more to search engines.
If you’re in a competitive niche, expect it to take at least six months of regular updating before you start to see results. Now you can understand why effective SEO is so difficult.
The good news is that many of your competitors will be looking for (less effective) shortcuts, so you'll be able to muscle out a lot of the competition with your perseverance and effort.
Being Social Matters
Another benefit to a proper SEO strategy is that it can serve multiple purposes at once. That's the case with social media. If you're like me, your fondness for social media is about equal to your excitement regarding search engines. Thankfully, a lot of the content you create for SEO purposes will also enhance your presence on social media channels, and the more popular your business is on social media, the better it will help with your search engine rankings.
New blog posts are great content for social media, as are new photos and videos. You should also design your website to make it easy for visitors to share what they like on Facebook and Twitter. For instance, with sharable product descriptions or tweetable blog headlines.
Upcoming events, product launches, new locations, and the like all make great fodder for social media. In return, the more that your content gets shared on social media, the more links back to your website are created, and the more traffic your site will see. Once Google knows that you're getting traffic from other sites, it will immediately boost your SEO rankings.
Don't Forget Mobile
There's a 50/50 chance that you're reading this on a mobile phone or tablet. That's because search traffic from mobile devices has been steadily increasing for years now. Google now distinguishes between sites that are optimized for mobile traffic and those that aren't.
If your website is out of date or hasn't been optimized for a small screen, then you'll definitely be ranked lower than you otherwise should be, especially when it comes to mobile users. It's essential that your website is customized for any use case scenario if you want to maximize your SEO.
Leverage Other Platforms
I already harped on the importance of social media, but there are a lot of other platforms your business needs to be taking advantage of. Number one on that list is Google My Business. Google My Business is a service that Google provides to help business owners manage their presence in their search engine.
Other platforms to consider include Google Maps, Yelp, Meet Up, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Each one is its own thing, and not all of them will apply to every industry, but if there's a way for your company to leverage a platform, do it. If resources are tight, pick one or two that most apply to your business and focus on them, rather than doing a perfunctory job of managing every conceivable platform and social media channel.
Link With Other Businesses
While it's important to have links out from your website to authoritative pages, it's even more useful to have links in to your website from popular websites. This is part of the benefit of doing well on social media, as every time you tweet out your website, you're creating a link back. But even more important, you want links from relevant third party businesses in your industry.
This could be business partners you work with. It might be testimonials from satisfied customers. It could be local news articles talking about your company. The more links pointing to your website, the more Google boosts your ranking. That's not to mention the increased traffic you'll be getting from the links themselves.
Start off by reaching out to partners and complimentary businesses and offer to do link exchanges. You link to their site and they link to yours. Next, you can look for active bloggers that are looking for guest posts. This is a great way to create linkbacks.
Video (And Images) Will Boost Your Ranking
Finally, think about adding quality video content to your website. Video ticks off just about every one of the above boxes. It's original content that Google loves. It is tailor-made for social media, and works great on mobile. It involves other platforms (YouTube and Vimeo, for instance) and is easily embedded on other websites, leading to link backs to your site.
Best of all, more and more of your customers are watching video online. Video is short form content that has an oversized impact on your audience.
The bottom line is that SEO, just like social media, is a brute force problem. The more time and money you invest, the more returns you'll get. But it's extremely important to be strategic and efficient, in order to get the most out of your marketing plan.
If you're looking to improve your SEO game, feel free to reach out. I'm happy to discuss SEO strategies for video or anything else regarding how to boost your business.