When it comes to digital marketing, arguably the most important aspect is your search engine optimization (SEO). In a nutshell, SEO is how easily can customers find your website on a search engine like Google? Think about it in real world terms. If your store did not have an address, was not listed in the Yellow Book and had no signage, would you get any sort of attention? A recent study found that SEO is the best source of traffic for food brands, with 56 percent of website traffic being generated by search engines. If that’s not eye-catching enough, other sources like direct traffic, referral and social media combined to account for only 43 percent. Optimizing your website for search engines is a simple way to get your brand out in the open for anyone to see and a great source for online traffic, and applying some simple fixes can be a gamer-changer.
How it works
The mechanics of a search engine may seem daunting at first, but they are actually fairly simple. In essence, a search engine like Google uses automated robots to “crawl” the web when you search for something, looking for links and keywords that are relevant to the topic. The search engine then ranks what it finds according to popularity of the websites and relevance. What’s most important in this process is the ranking. If your site is optimized, it will rank better and be placed higher on a relevant search result. The most important elements boil down to a couple simple things: your web address and page titles.
The web address of your site is fundamental when it comes to SEO. A simple URL that contains keywords practically advertises itself, and a couple easy changes to your address can make it that much easier for a search engine to find your site. By simply eliminating capital letters, using hyphens instead of underscores, adding a mobile-friendly URL and using a target keyword in your URL, you’ll be making Google’s job a whole lot easier.
When a search engine is “crawling” and looking at sites for relevance, one of the most important aspects it looks at are title-tags. These are the top lines of a web page, and a good one can be the difference in being on the first page of a search result and being on the tenth page. Making the titles of your pages descriptive and using keywords can be vital to improving search engine results. Keeping them brief (50-70 characters) can also be a boost, as search engines limit the amount of characters they will read on a title-tag.
Applying these simple fixes and having effective SEO can pay-off big time. For the best example of this, you can look to a brand across the pond. Tesco, a grocery retailer in England, dominates the digital space, claiming 50 percent of grocery sales in the country, and they do it through effective SEO. The main strategy they employ, according to expert Sam Silverwood-Cope, is honing in on customers’ desire for a quick stop, rather than focusing on broad terms they might be searching. For instance, Tesco captures a search engine audience by optimizing their sites for more specific searches like “what to serve for dinner tonight?” Tesco is proof that improving your search engine traffic is quite basic. Think about what your customers are searching, and as long as you stay specific, use relevant terms and avoid small errors, they will have no problem finding your site!