If you missed our recent webinar on SEO and Google Analytics, check out our recap below or watch the recording at the bottom of this post!
How many times have you opened up Google to search for a place to eat or find a particular product or service you need recently? If you’re like many others, you use Google or another search engine on a regular basis to find what you need. But how many times have you gotten results that weren’t relevant? It’s frustrating. Now, think about whether your own customers may have experienced the same before they found you. That’s why it’s important to know what SEO and Google Analytics are and how using each can help you improve your site for your audience, as well as your search engine ranking.
So what is SEO? SEO, or search engine optimization, is defined by Yoast as “the practice of optimizing websites to make them reach a high position in Google’s – or another search engine’s – search results.” SEO focuses on organic, or non-paid, results. There are quite a few things you can do to improve your website’s SEO, which we’ll cover later on. Before we get to that, there’s one thing we want you to keep in mind: SEO is a lot like eating a healthy diet. You don’t automatically lose 50 pounds. It’s a slow process that will pay dividends if you are persistent.
The core of best practices for SEO hasn’t changed in over 10+ years that we have been talking about it. However, that’s not to say that Google algorithms haven’t changed. They typically change because people are trying to find a shortcut for getting results. Some of the things people have attempted in the past include:
- Including keywords in domain names
- Stuffing keywords into website content and/or using irrelevant keywords
- Writing for search engines instead of the actual audience
- Using automatically generated content
- Adding pages with little or no original content
How does Google pull the results when people search for a certain word or phrase? The simple explanation is that Google will look for new content with those keywords and phrases, as well as people coming to your site in order to determine how you rank.
With that in mind, there are some SEO best practices you’ll want to keep in mind as you optimize your site in order to see improvement in your search engine ranking:
- Regularly update your website to make sure it is current. It’s never “done.”
- Create new content that your audience wants to hear that is relevant to the work you are doing. Some examples of content that tend to work well include answering frequently asked questions, helping your audience solve a problem, and sharing important or helpful news, among others.
- Make sure keywords have been added to page titles, descriptions, headings and content, image titles, and image alt text.
This brings us to Google Analytics. As a reminder, Google Analytics is a free service that can help you keep track of what’s happening on your site. It’s especially helpful for measuring if your SEO is working by providing the following information:
- Site Traffic: This is the number of visitors and visits your website receives. We recommend comparing the current month to the previous month, as well as the current year to the previous year, to check for any major increases or decreases in traffic. This will help you determine what types of content on your site at those specific times were resonating with your audience and drawing in new visitors.
- Traffic sources: As we mentioned earlier, it’s all about organic traffic when it comes to SEO. Traffic sources can include direct traffic, search engines, social media, email marketing, referral traffic, and more. Once you know what’s leading your visitors to your site, you can make adjustments accordingly. For example, if the bulk of your traffic is from social media, you might want to refocus your efforts to SEO to improve your organic traffic.
- Keywords: We can see some of the words people are typing into search engines that lead them to your site. This is a good baseline to see if your organic traffic is coming to your site based on the content and messages that are being sent out.
- Acquisition: Acquisition doesn’t really tell you much, but it is useful in showing how much of your traffic is organic and can help you determine which online marketing tactics are best for bringing traffic to your site.
- Page Monitoring: Page monitoring allows you to see the content pages visitors are coming to you through.
We always recommend a good mix when it comes to content creation. You’ll want to put new content on your website for people to find you from Google, but you can help this cause out by also driving people to your website using social media, email marketing, and digital advertising, just to name a few. Having a marketing plan in place will be extremely helpful in helping you determine your content themes and ensuring you have a nice mix for your content. To help make this a habit, create a content calendar with specific days and times for sending out your content updates.
Hopefully we have helped you better understand SEO and Google Analytics and why these are very important for understanding what drives people to your website and how to keep them coming back. As always, we welcome your questions so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!