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SEO Matters

(updated 2021) 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in a Nutshell
SEO enables search engines to find your website quickly, and helps to provide an enjoyable experience for the consumer, throughout their visit. It entails using commands that instruct crawlers to provide the desired consumer experience. These commands can also maximize the visibility of your website, and maximize the credibility of your website.

Why Should I Care?
Each search engine, (Google, Safari, Microsoft Edge, etc.), has its own algorithm and user interface, complicating the process of getting your business recognized online.

Current research shows that 90% of us use search engines, and over 6 billion searches are completed each day. Approximately 80% of people say they research online, before making a large purchase, and 85% of search engine users say they found what they needed during their search. So, there is too much business to be procured online to ignore any major search engine, and any major SEO strategy. Paying for search is an option; but, it isn’t necessary, as most people still have an aversion to advertisements. 

percentage of search generated by organic search, paid advertisements, social media, and other.

Only 15% of search is generated via paid advertisements; 50% of search traffic is generated via organic search, and 10% is generated via social media.

Keywords and Position Matter
The top factors that impact the likelihood of a consumer finding your page are a function of keywords and your site's bounce rate. A keyword helps the consumer match their need to your offering, and the bounce rate is indicative of how often the consumer could not accurately match their need to your product or service. The right keyword(s) and lower bounce rates encourage search engines to place your site in the top ten search results.

percentage of sites visited according to page placement.

Sites listed in the top five search results receive over 60% of all click-through traffic, and the first ten search results receive 70% of all click-through traffic. 

Obtaining a search result position ahead of your competition improves the likelihood that the consumer purchases the good or service they need from you versus your competitor. 

Choose keywords that provide an accurate description of your product or service, and use them as often as possible on your site, within reason – without becoming spam-like. Maximize the relevancy of your keyword by identifying the most sought after verbiage across search engines, and optimize your keyword positioning by using them in unique combinations, to distinguish yourself from the competition. The keyword planning function of Google Ads is free.1

”Feedback is the lifeblood of greatness. Formal or informal, solicited or unsolicited, known or anonymous, it can provide valuable insight into the organization’s perceived and real performance.”

- Fundamentals of Good Stewardship

Metadata is located in your site’s header, pages, photos, products, services, and blog posts. It provides explicit instruction on how your site should be presented to the public, and other crawler actions:

  1. No-index identifies pages that should not be crawled and available in browser search results.
  2. Nofollow identifies links that should not be considered in the ranking of your site; this is especially good for blog posts that may include links to outside sources that you do not necessarily endorse.
  3. Sponsored should be used to identify paid links or content.
  4. User-generated Content (UCG) is specific to blogs and publishers and should be used in  comments section of the website.
  5. Noarchive forces web crawlers not to cache your site and to maintain the most current version of your site available.  This is especially important if you make frequent changes to your website.
  6. Adding a caption to photos is metadata that can serve as strategic keyword opportunity.
  7. Including searchable tags or keywords to your product or service, such as #pink #sweatshirt, or #financial #advisor, is metadata that helps consumers match their needs to your company.
Many sites provide quick methods of adding metadata, especially keywords. Metadata such as no-index and noarchive are typically placed in the <head> of your website or page. Metadata such as nofollow, sponsored, and ucg are specific and should be used at each occurrence of a link or comments section.
Providing metadata instructions to web crawlers directs search engines to focus only where you specify, and also helps to disassociate potentially harmful information that can reduce your ranking and search result visibility.

Other Tips and Pointers
Optimize your business’ visibility by implementing as wide an array of SEO tactics as appropriate, such as a a social media presence, a blog, a newsletter, white papers, and business listings. It’s not necessary to have a presence on every social media outlet; it’s more important to choose the mix that best suits your needs, and make that presence the absolute best representation of your business. The goal of SEO is to enhance your online retail space by making it both customer and search engine friendly. In the end, you’ll reap the rewards of increased awareness and visibility.

For more in depth studies and practical tools, I recommend HubSpot and Moz, which have been consistently reliable sources, for more than a decade.2,3

1. Google Ads: https://adwords.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner
2. HubSpot: https://blog.hubspot.com
3. Moz: https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

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