SEO - a word that you hear often in the business world. But what exactly is it? SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and in simple terms, it describes the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when people search for something online. Having a good understanding of SEO is an absolute must for anyone who has a website or blog. If you have a small business selling products and services, your SEO will help you to reach new customers and to be placed on top of the search results when someone looks up something related to what you do. Or let’s say you are a travel blogger - there are obviously a lot of other people that talk about the same destinations and share their experiences with their audience. So how do you get your content to compete with theirs? How do you get people to open your page instead of someone else’s? Well, you do it by having great SEO.
Before we get more into the topic, we want to introduce you to Magdalena, who is one of our TPI students and who recently started her own travel blog, something that has always been a dream of hers. She had absolutely no knowledge of how to care for a blog and didn’t know how to build a website or anything for that matter, but after taking our course and learning more about having a niche, creating content, and building a community, she decided to take the step and start her blog Beyond Expat Life. She taught herself everything with the help of our courses and other online resources and it paid off! By now she gets over 3000 monthly sessions per post, around 6000 daily impressions from Google and she even has over 5000 keywords (I know, a lot of metrics that you might have never heard of but don’t worry, we’ll teach you all that over time, so keep an eye out on our future blog posts). Also, if you would like to learn about the basics of SEO and why it is so important for your marketing strategy, you can head over to Magdalena’s blog where she explains all that in her recent post!
Now, it’s one thing to know the basics of SEO, and quite another to understand how to actually use it in your business. So many people have a vague idea of what search engine optimization means but don't have a clue how to put it into practice. When researching online, there’s so much marketing jargon that it can feel confusing. But don’t worry, this blog will help clear things up for you. We’ll share our top 4 SEO tips to help you finally get to grips with search engine optimization and implement it in your marketing strategy. Plus, some additional advice you don’t want to miss. So let’s dive straight in!
Identify your audience and what they’re searching for
Now let’s take a moment to remember why you want good SEO practices. The reason is that you want to connect with your ideal client. SEO is all about the words and phrases your target audience is searching for, as well as making your content as easy to navigate for them as possible. So let’s start with them.
Your target audience are the people that are most likely to read (and love) your content. If you want your content to be successful, you first need to identify who these people are. And a head’s up: they’re probably the same people who would love your products or services if you offer any or if you are planning on in the future.
Define your target audience by checking the demographics of your current customers and those who engage with you. Much of this information will be on hand e.g. data you’ve collected from lead generation, Google Analytics, or audience insights from your social media accounts. Knowing who your ideal audience is will allow you to tailor your content towards them by engaging with them using the exact language they use!
Many SEO marketing platforms allow you to find out how your business is doing in regards to SEO compared to your competitors. And most will allow you to add your competitors’ domains to find out how much yours and their audiences overlap with one another, other websites your audience is likely to visit, and the size of your audience. When all the information above is unified you’ll be able to get a clear picture of what content speaks to your audience and how to address their needs in the clearest and most direct manner.
Learn how to find and use keywords
Now you know who your audience is and what they’re searching for, it’s time to find the exact keywords they’re using so that you can write in the same way. Once you have come up with a topic for your blog, you need to make sure that you’re using the exact right words (keywords) or phrases (long-tail keywords). You can do this by using softwares such as SEMRush or Ahrefs. There’s more to finding keywords than simply choosing relevant words or phrases, though. In order to find keywords that actually rank, you’ll want to find those that have a high search volume and a low KD% (keyword difficulty percentage). The size and authority of your brand will determine whether or not you have a shot of ranking with a particular keyword. But generally speaking, it’s better to go for a KD% score of 1-14 as this means there is little competition.
Once you choose a phrase, most tools will allow you to search a keyword and be presented with keyword variations, and related keywords. Knowing this will help you tailor your content to fit their needs. Keyword variations are different ways of saying the same thing. Relevant keywords are other keywords that are related to your original one. These tools can be handy, as if you want to write about "Santorini travel tips", you might find there is another way of saying it that will be easier to rank with, such as "Santorini travel tips for Americans" or "Tips for visiting Santorini in June". It’s also important to think about the intent of a keyword. The intent is just the reason behind why someone is searching for this particular phrase. Is it because they want information? E.g. "How to…". Or is it because they want to buy something? E.g. "Best travel bags 2022". This will help you make sure your content gives them exactly what they are looking for.
Once you have identified your target keyword, all you have to do is make sure to use it in your particular blog. Although you want to fit it in quite a few times, you need to make sure you are not guilty of "stuffing"... which basically means trying to fit the keyword into as many places as possible, even though it may not make sense. Remember, the main aim of the search engines is to provide searchers with good quality, helpful articles. So make sure your writing flows naturally and is informative first and foremost. As a rule of thumb, it’s suggested that you shouldn’t use the same keyword within 200 words.
Don’t forget about headings, subheadings, and the meta description
A common mistake people often make when writing with SEO in mind is to put in the hard work in the main body of their blog and forget about these key few areas. By making sure your titles, subheadings, and meta description are optimized for SEO (i.e. contain keywords that your audience are searching for), you will give yourself the best shot of ranking higher in search engines. It will also help people navigate your content once they do find it if things are clearly labeled.
When it comes to your title, know that search engines will only show the first 50 or 60 characters of your page title on a mobile device. Make sure your page title is also unique despite the temptation of using (or recycling) the same old tags across your site. Keeping your title (and content) unique and original will make search engines more likely to promote it. Your titles should also include really good descriptors coupled with words like “how”, “what” and “why” to show your prospective reader what information and knowledge they will find in your content.
A meta description is the HTML tag that summarizes a webpage’s content. This is often what is seen when someone shares your content, a sort of introduction to what follows when they click the link. For that reason, a well-written meta description can increase your click-through rate, convincing people to visit your page and enjoy all your hard work. Make sure your meta description clearly explains what your blog will be about, why people should read it, and uses keywords. But remember to keep it short and sweet - you have a limit of 160 characters.
Keep an eye on mobile responsiveness
Which screen do you spend more time in front of throughout the week? Sure, it’s your smartphone… well, it’s probably the same for your audience too. Studies from around the world show over 50% of global internet traffic is conducted on smartphones. So making your site mobile-friendly is vital if you want to rank. Over the last few years, Google has started using mobile-first indexing. To put it simply, this means that mobile versions of your content are prioritized over desktop versions. There are a few things you can do to make sure your content is mobile-friendly. First and most important is to make sure your content is structured properly so it’s easy to navigate. Use headings to break up and organize your content into smaller, more digestible sections. You’ll also want to write in paragraphs… avoid large groups of text which make your content harder to scan. Be aware of space, fonts and the size of your text and images as things will be harder to see on a mobile screen. In addition, make sure that any links on your page are clear and easy to spot.
Other top tips for making the most of SEO:
As you can see, SEO is a huge topic and one blog post is definitely not enough to teach you everything you need to know. But for now, let’s stick to the most important things so that you can already get started with the basics. Some more things that will help you with your SEO are the following:
- Add visuals to your blogs (research shows blogs with images perform better)
- Use internal links to direct people to your other content
- Be original to encourage backlinks (other sites linking to your content)
- Avoid cannibalization (multiple pages on your site optimized for the same keyword)
- Maintain your tone of voice in everything you write (high-performing articles show a consistent tone of voice across content)
The great thing about SEO is it’s a FREE marketing tool that can be used to grow your business organically - and you can start today! It may feel like a lot to dive into in the beginning, but trust us - once you know the basics, you can start to see results. Bear in mind, though, that it takes time. You won’t start ranking overnight, but eventually, the time you put into SEO will start to pay off in traffic and custom.
Best of luck!
Your CLD Team