Optimisation or “to optimise” means:
“the action of making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource.”
This term is one of the most used terms around on Google, Bing, social media, Pinterest and even Etsy, amongst those running an online business. I have come to realise particularly in the last few weeks as I dive back into my business after the holidays – is that whilst many people USE the term, there are a lot of people who don’t fully understand what it means to have a business that is optimised for success. Inherent in its component parts is having an optimised website, as well as having sound business practices and a marketing strategy which is built on optimising each of your social media platforms, Pinterest, and/or Etsy stores.
In an earlier blog I talked about the need for having business systems and how they help you. Read that blog post here: https://kdigitaldesign.com/small-business-success-how-to-start-your-online-business-the-right-way The information in that blog is ideal for new online businesses as well as those auditing their marketing and website traffic to see where they can improve.
In this optimisation blog I focus on SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation.
- What is SEO?
- Why you need SEO?
- How to optimise for searching
What You Will Learn
After you read this post, you should feel more confident in understanding the chatter or lingo when you next see it on social media forums. More importantly, if you understand what optimisation is, and how to optimise, you will have a better chance of being successful in writing your own website and blog copy.
If you haven’t already, please go ahead and sign up to my email list now so that you are the first to learn when my next blog post is published – it is about why I believe that SEO is not enough on its own to grow your business and achieve the success that you truly deserve. You don’t want to miss that one as so many people fall into trap of believing that SEO is all you need. For my Pinterest fans out there who already believe in the power of Pinterest for your business (and if you don’t read this blog first: https://kdigitaldesign.com/pinterest-marketing-for-small-business) I have another blog in the pipeline about how to optimise your Pinterest account.
What is SEO?
At this beginning of this article I explained that optimisation related to being effective – which is successfully achieving an intended outcome or goal. Clearly for most if not all small businesses and blogs starting out, the goal is to grow our audience or customers, and grow our business so we can help others and make a profit in the process. Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short) is the:
“process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or web page from search engines” (Wikipedia)
Let’s break this down – SEO is about:
- Search Engine
- Improving (or increasing)
- Quality and Quantity
- Website/web page
1. Search Engines
Simply put, as I’m sure you know, a search engine is a programme that searches for content based on the keyword terms. Obvious ones are Google and Bing and similar. Did you know that Pinterest and Etsy and can also be thought of as search engines? Common to all is that they use a complex system of software to analyse and label what people are searching for.
As a society we often joke about “just Google it”, but in reality it is a common part of our everyday lives. Whether it is literally Google, or a social media or other platform, as consumers we are constantly searching for information and resources to help us in our personal and business lives.
From an online business perspective, these search engines provide an important basis on which to gain visitors or traffic to our website or shop or our Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn accounts.
Process is important because as business owners I truly believe that it is important to understand how something works in order to experience success. Understanding what you are doing and why, will help you analyse the results and to know what to change if necessary.
Take the example of a cake – following a recipe and knowing what ingredients you are putting in and the quantity of those ingredients will help determine the outcome. Sure, there are other factors such as cooking time and oven temperature involved, but the fundamentals of the process are knowing what to use and how much.
SEO process is no different. You need to have a system for identifying what people are looking for in relation to what products you sell or what services you provide. As part of that action, you first need to know your business niche and who your ideal client or target audience is. If you were your ideal customer, what keywords or phrases would you be looking for ? Perhaps take some time after reading this blog to write those down.
Improving or Increasing
Here is where we get to the purpose or intent of using search engine optimisation in business. We want to increase the number of visitors to your blogs, websites or online stores. It really is as simple as that. The more people visiting your site/shop, the more eyes on your goods and services and the better chance you have of sales conversion.
Gone are the glory days when simply having a website was enough to be found by searching. Given the billions of websites out there, you need to optimise your content so that your audience finds you when they are searching. When they are using everyday terms to find something that is going to help them or solve their problem.
The more often an online business, blogger, or ecommerce store uses those keywords in their content, the more likely their content is going to appear in front of their target audience. of course there is always moderation. Use the keywords in your content so that it still makes sense to the reader, without “keyword stuffing”. You still want to be authentic to your audience.
Quality and Quantity
When a user inputs words to find some information or a resource, the platform uses that information to track relevant content. The more people using those keyword terms, the more popular it becomes. This can become a double-edged sword as if the terms are too popular, you can get lost in a sea of results, competing with the masses.
As new small business owners or bloggers, you can implement great strategies to optimise your content and product descriptions without having to engage an SEO expert. Whilst all platforms operate differently, the common basis is to use search terms or keywords that your audience will be using. If it is not a word that is commonly used, find something similar to use that “Joanne Public” is more likely to be searching for.
But it is not just about driving traffic to your website, blog or online shop. The keywords or search terms in your content need to be relevant to your business and appropriate to your target audience. Otherwise you may get hits to your website, but they will turn around and leave if you don’t have what they are looking for. If you are not solving their problem or pain points.
This is why quality and quantity matter. Naturally you want to increase the number of visitors to your business, but only the right traffic. This is why I am so often commenting on forums and advising clients and others that the number of followers on Pinterest or your Instagram shop don’t matter so much if they are not your ideal client. If they are never going to buy from you or are not interested in what you are selling or offering, they are less likely to engage with your content, less likely to share it, and unlikely to convert to a sale.
If you don’t want to miss out on learning HOW to grow your business the right way and achieve online success, then sign up to my email list for blog updates, SEO tips, keyword planning tips and more.
Website or Web Page
Your website or your landing page is where it all comes together. You have great content, you have used keywords to attract visitors to your site. People like what they see and are interested in more. Once they get to your website, you then need to have enough that is relevant, interesting, eye catching and aesthetically pleasing to keep them there. This is where conversion analytics comes into play. This is also why my next blog topic explains why SEO on it’s own is not enough to grow your business.
Remember how at the beginning of this article we examined that to optimise meant to make the most effective use of a situation? Well, now it is your turn to optimise your business platforms and processes, armed with the knowledge in this post and also this one [https://kdigitaldesign.com/small-business-success-how-to-start-your-online-business-the-right-way].
Start with your business systems – are you optimised for success by having your contract, accounting, work methodology in order. Do you have a plan for your work day? Working week? Next look at your website. Read your content from the perspective of your target audience. What are their issues and what problems are you solving?
Now look at your marketing strategy and accounts – are you ready to make the most of the resources you have? Drop me some comments at the end of this blog to let me know if this blog resonated with you. Did this help you examine the parts of your business in a new light? Did it help you understand more about the “mystery” of SEO?