When it comes to SEO, I often talk to people who are wondering how to get their website found, how to have great Search Engine Optimization. The principles of SEO are fairly simple, with one overriding foundation to start from: business starts with one customer, and SEO starts with one person who wants to read your website.
Principles of SEO for Business and Ministry
We are going to look at the key aspects of optimizing your business or ministry website.
The Principles of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are not about search engines.
It is about people. It is about the people who are interested in you, your business or ministry, your school or community group. I tell my clients that the secret to great SEO is to get people to look for your website. There are many techniques to optimize a website for the search engines but without people who want to look at your website, you will never have the long-lasting clout to stay at the top of search results.
Technical SEO is Constantly Changing
I have witnessed more changes than I can count in SEO in the last 5 years that I have been working SEO for myself and my clients. Since Google and other search engine companies are constantly trying to finesse their system to keep people using it (see my first point), the technical rules change at least 2 times a year, if not more often. Now, there are always some basics that you can follow, but you never know when a big change might be on the horizon that will drastically change the way people do SEO, again.
Technical SEO Must Be UX First
User experience, or UX, is key to doing great SEO. We marketers often geek out on all the technical aspects of SEO but when I am planning out the actual marketing for myself or a customer, I ask one question about SEO: does it help my reader want to keep reading?
Google currently likes headers as a structural part of the web page. I would use them if Google didn’t like them, anyway. Since headers help you see the structure of my post and keep reading, I use them. You like them because they help you read. So does Google.
If you have any other basic question about SEO, think about the reader for your webpage first.
Do you add alt tags to your images? Well, think about people who are using a reader or a slow browser and can’t see the image. The alt tag might be all that they get from your picture that was telling 1,000 words. Use them.
Instigate Constant Improvement
Think about how many Chinese restaurants are within driving distance of your house right now. Each of those restaurants wants to be found when people search for “Chinese food near me.” In the same way, your SEO gets even more competitive when you are trying to be found on a search engine for terms that are not based on location, like SEO.
Google just gave me 34,300,000 results for the search term Principles of SEO. With so much competition, if I get even one term at the number one spot in an SEO related post, I am very happy. But, since there is such competition, what can I (and you) do to achieve success? To achieve success at SEO you are always working to improve your content and your technical SEO.
Continual improvement leads to winning. But, it is never possible to be at 100% successful in SEO, like any game worth competing. Keep on improving, set goals you can achieve, and keep on working.
SEO Is Only a Small Part of Marketing
Even if your entire business is online, SEO is only a small part of making a website work and helping it be found by your customers. If you are a local business providing physical services or products, SEO is an even smaller part of your marketing.
Optimizing your website so that people can find you is important but you need to have more. You need to communicate with your customers so that they are engaged with you. Some people do this without any website at all, which saves on SEO.
If you are wanting to communicate with people who find your business or ministry through your website, you do need to spend some time thinking, planning, and writing for SEO. But it needs to be a part of your entire marketing and sales strategy.