The rapid digital adoption driven by COVID-19 has become a survival tool for struggling businesses. However, it isn’t enough just to build a website, you have to drive traffic towards it—that is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
As the founder of multiple vehicle history websites, Jesse Willms knows how important it is to improve the odds of connecting with potential prospects online. He uses search engine optimization (SEO) to increase digital foot traffic and is here to outline exactly what it is, why it is important, and how you can incorporate it into your digital marketing practices.
Jesse Willms is the owner of several vehicle history websites that provide free vehicle history information. When using his services, you can check on the history of used cars and see if it has been in an accident, if it is reliable, if it has had any recalls, what consumers think about it, and how they have reviewed it. What started out as a concept in 2015 has turned into a successful site with about four million people using it each month to get free vehicle information. Jesse Willms utilized every single one of the below SEO tactics to drive traffic online.
What is SEO and Why Is It Important?
When you’re looking for a product or service online, chances are, you head to Google and type in a few key search terms. Whether your business comes up first or last is determined by the strength of your SEO strategy. Jesse Willms defines SEO as a term for all methods you can use to ensure the visibility of your website and its content on search engine results pages.
According to BrightEdge, roughly 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. SEO is a valuable tool for brand awareness, building relationships with prospects, and positioning yourself as a trustworthy expert in your field.
Before we get into how you can optimize your own SEO, let’s review why it is important. Jesse Willms explains that one of the primary reasons that it is crucial to optimize your website’s SEO is that organic searches are often the primary source of website traffic (organic results refer to content that appears naturally on a search engine, rather than paid advertisements).
In 2014, a Conductor survey found that roughly 64% of all web traffic comes from an organic search. Being highly visible as a trusted resource like Google and other search engines will always work to establish your brand as a reputable vendor. Jesse Willms explains that a high Google ranking builds trust and establishes credibility.
Enhance User Experience
Another great reason to optimize SEO is that it will provide a better user experience. Google has learned how to interpret a favorable or unfavorable user experience, and this directly contributes to your website’s overall success. This means that elements of user experience have been rolled into SEO best practices. Jesse Willms explains that some factors that impact ‘user experience’ include easy navigation, site structure, the mobile experience, and how fast your website is.
Now that we’ve covered why SEO is important for building an audience online, Jesse Willms is going to cover the basics of how to make it work for you. There are several key elements that ensure a strong SEO strategy, and the first is keywords.
You can easily use Google’s Keyword Planner to find out which keywords have high search rates and low competition. These keywords should align with what your customers will be typing into a search engine. Jesse Willms also encourages you to use ‘short-tail’ keywords (like ‘cars’), rather than ‘long-tail’ keywords (like ‘used Corvette car Ohio’).
Produce Engaging Content
Another key component to strengthening your SEO strategy is to produce engaging content. Jesse Willms explains that content is a vital aspect of SEO because it allows you to reach and engage new audiences.
Content should be engaging, relevant, shareable, and educational for your intended audience. Whether it is in the form of videos, podcasts, infographics, or blogs, when you provide content that is useful to your target demographic, you will likely be the first company they consider when making a purchase.
For example, Jesse Willms explains that sharing a blog about ‘5 Things to Look Out for When Purchasing a Used Car’ on his website will help drive conversion for anyone interested in this information. This positions your business as a solution.
The next two factors are less obvious but equally important. Local and off-page SEO contribute to the way your website ranks on Google. Off-page SEO refers to external optimization practices that happen away from your site rather than on it. J
esse Willms explains that backlinks from your site from external sites tell search engines that your content is valuable and high-quality, building greater authority—and therefore ranking. This might mean being featured in a blog on another website, providing useful answers on Quora, or through a paid promotion.
On the other hand, local SEO refers to geographic tags and keyword placements to ensure you take advantage of local traffic. If someone is looking for a bakery in your area, keywords related to the neighborhood, city, and state will help guide them towards your business.
The Bottom Line
SEO is a complex undertaking with multiple factors, techniques, and tactics to consider. Jesse Willms explains that SEO is not a ‘set it and leave it’ strategy, but one that requires constant re-evaluation. Jesse Willms suggests reviewing your keywords on a monthly basis, sharing expertise on other sites as often as you can, and producing content that is relevant to your audience. With time and a little bit of patience, your SEO can help you achieve many of your business goals.
Interesting Related Article: “9 SEO Trends to Watch For in 2021 That Will Rank You Higher“