The Power of Google: The Ultimate Guide to Search Engine Marketing Strategies
People all over the world use Google over 40,000 times every second, asking questions, looking for sites, services, and products. They have an absolute monopoly on Internet search engines.
For better or for worse, this means that if you own a website, most of your digital marketing has to be geared towards improving your site’s placement in search results on Google. This is what is known in the digital world as SEM, or Search Engine Marketing.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the basics of SEO (Search Engine Optimization and give you some search engine marketing strategies that you can use to boost your site’s web traffic.
Know the Basics
There are many things that determine your site’s ranking in a given search result. Google has a very complex algorithm that factors in the “authority” or reputation of your website, how much existing traffic your site already gets, yadda yadda yadda.
Here, we’re going to focus on just the fundamentals of search engine marketing. There are elements of your website you can improve immediately, on your own, to boost your Google rankings.
First things first, any given page on your website has got to be filled with keywords. Keywords are single words, or a collection of words, that people frequently use on Google to search for things on the web.
For example, let’s say a random person wanted to learn about the history of Barcelona. They might search for something like “history of Barcelona,” “Barcelona history,” or “history Barcelona.” These are keywords. And if you want your blog post about the history of Barcelona, you’ve got to place these keywords throughout your page.
Go search “history of Barcelona” right now. We guarantee that the first page result will have that keyword embedded in the page somewhere. Using a tool like Ahrefs, you can find high-volume (keywords that are used frequently) keywords for your specific niche very easily.
SEO Page Titles
Every web page actually has two page titles. There’s the page heading that sits on your website, and there’s the page SEO page title that Google uses to display your web page in its results.
For example, this web page has a page heading that simply says “History.” But if you Googled “history of Barcelona,” you’d find that its SEO title is “History of Barcelona – Visit Barcelona – Barcelona Turisme.”
So why are they different? To get people to find the page more easily, the webmasters of the site changed the SEO title so that it included a keyword. This is a best practice in the SEM world, and it makes your web pages much easier to find.
Meta descriptions are another element of your web pages that exist only for Google to use. This is the text under your SEO title on a Google results page that is aimed to draw prospective visitors in.
To create a useful meta description, it’s got to meet two criteria. First, it has to include a keyword as well. This will increase your chances of improving your search results. Second, it’s got to be short. Google is always toying with what they prefer in regards to meta description length, but right now they want them on the shorter side (less than 160 characters).
Other than that, just make sure the copy is compelling enough for someone to get interested in what your site has to offer.
Another crucial element of SEO is your URL tags. This is the information that is displayed in the address bar on any given page of your website. To boost your search result rankings, you want these to be short, descriptive, and if possible, contain a keyword.
For example, many rookie webmasters will assign random numbers to a given webpage URL or let their web building platform autogenerate it for them, but this is a mistake and Google will punish you for that.
Google prefers descriptive URL tags, so www.website.com/history-of-barcelona is far superior to www.website.com/6h53gh
If you follow the best practices outlined above, your website’s SEO will be vastly improved, but there are still so many other things you can do to improve. Check out some of these search engine marketing ideas below.
Conduct An SEO Audit
Before you even begin correcting your URL tags, SEO titles, and meta descriptions, you might want to first start with an SEO audit of your site. You can do this yourself by just jotting down notes about what you can improve upon based on what already know.
Or better yet, there are tools that can automate this process for you. They’ll tell you what descriptions need work, which SEO titles are lacking, etc. A quick Google search will show you a variety of options.
Redesign Your Website
A big factor that contributes to your site’s Google rankings is the design of your website. Google has users to please as well, and they don’t want to guide their users towards websites that have barely any functionality and look horrendous.
So be honest with yourself. If your website is looking a bit outdated, you might want to consider hiring a team to give your site a makeover. Plus, the visitors to your website will be more pleased with your product or service overall.
We’ve mentioned that “reputation” plays a big role in how Google ranks your website. Well, one of the ways they determine your website’s rep is by counting your site’s backlinks. These are links that are embedded in the web pages of other sites that link back to your site. To Google, this indicates that your site is authoritative and has quality content. Why else, would other sites be linking to you?
With time, this should happen organically. But you can speed the process along by contributing content to other websites and including links to your own. You can do this by guest posting to blogs, answering questions on Quora, and giving other webmasters a backlink quid pro quo.
Need More Search Engine Marketing Strategies?
Hopefully, this brief guide to search engine marketing strategies has got you interested in improving your site’s SEO. It’s really all quite simple. You just need some time and dedication.
If you need more SEO tips, tricks, or advice, check out the rest of our blog!