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10 Local SEO Strategies For Doctors And Dentists

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10 Local SEO Strategies For Doctors And Dentists

Google contributes a large percentage of traffic to many healthcare websites.

For doctor appointment bookings, 57% of patients start by using online search. And when patients are searching for a healthcare facility on Google, they genuinely mean business.

SimilarWeb finds that 85% of the traffic to ClevelandClinic.org, 83% of the traffic to HopkinsMedicine.org, and 87% of the traffic to MayoClinic.org comes from organic search.

But ranking on Google isn’t as simple as creating a website. The online world has grown way beyond that now.

Patients today search for doctors in their vicinity. That means you need to rank for your local audience to generate appreciable traffic in your clinic.

This is why local SEO has become necessary for all modern dental and medical practices that want to harness the internet’s potential and use it to grow their profits.

In this article, you will find 10 local SEO strategies that can help you get found by an audience that matters the most to your practice.

What Is Local SEO?

Local SEO is a type of SEO that helps your website appear higher in the search results for location-specific searches.

For example, a Nashville-based dental practice ranking for searches like “dentists in Nashville”.

Sometimes patients also search with key phrases like “dentist near me”. In that case, search engines use the searchers’ IP address or geolocation to connect them with relevant and nearby businesses.

Local healthcare SEO is a powerful tool that helps your medical practice gain substantial online visibility. If done correctly, it can help you get among the top-3 “pack” and help you win the search results even if your website does not appear on the first page.

Why Should Doctors And Dentists Consider Local SEO?

The first thing most patients turn to when they feel like visiting a doctor is, ironically, the internet.

If someone feels they need to see a dentist, they wouldn’t open the yellow pages and search the “D” section of the directory for the local dentist. Instead, they will turn to Google, or some other search engine, type in a key phrase like “dentist near me”, and book an appointment with whoever they like best.

That’s the approach most modern patients adopt. And practices that wish to maintain or increase their foot traffic need to adjust according to this approach so they could be among those that appear in response to location-specific and relevant searches.

Local SEO helps make that possible.

By optimizing your Google Business Profile to rank for relevant local searches, you can diversify your traffic acquisition channels and be where your customers are looking for you.

Once you rank for relevant local searches, your patients will know you as an option they have. And given other factors are met, they would be more likely to reach out and book an appointment.

Increasing foot traffic to your medical practice is just one of the ways local SEO contributes to your revenue.

It also helps you save on costly online ads, which reduces your marketing spend and eventually pushes your bottom line.

Local SEO also allows you to be where your peers are and compete with them on a level playing field. By ranking side by side with your competitors, you would be more likely to get a share of their prospective patients, which would be a million times better than giving up all your online patients to them by not being found in the local search results.

All the benefits that local SEO brings to your practice are increased appointments at your practice and more revenue. Let’s talk about some top strategies to help you get started with local SEO.

10 Practical Local SEO Strategies

After reading all the benefits of local SEO, you may be inclined to assume that it is expensive, time-consuming, and tedious, like regular SEO. However, that’s not the case.

It is true that certain local SEO factors require time and dedication to generate truly viable results but getting started is much simpler.
Here are top local SEO strategies that might help you find profit-driving online visibility:

1. List Your Practice On Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile, formerly known as Google My Business, is the source of local online visibility.

Google Business Profile helps small businesses find exposure and showcase their services or products to the interested audience. It offers all the tools you need to create an optimized, accurate, and descriptive listing that helps your patients learn what they need to know about your practice.

You need to have your practice listed on Google Business Profile to leverage local SEO benefits.

Sometimes Google automatically creates business listings on GBP. In that case, you would need to claim that listing, verify it, and check it for accuracy to ensure it does not drive your prospective patients away by disseminating incorrect information.

Also, adding the appointment booking link to your Google Business Profile can instantly increase your appointment bookings as one of LoudGrowth’s clients saw a 44% increase after adding the appointment booking link.

2. Double Down On Keyword Research

Keyword research is the heart of local SEO as it tells you what keywords to optimize with so that the search engines can link relevant queries to your listing and potentially drive patients to it.

Local keywords are distinct from regular keywords as they are marked by location-specific phrases like “Dentist near me” or “Pediatrician Nashville”.

To start with local keyword research, you first need to be intuitive and get into your patient’s mind.

What do they think when they are looking for a doctor? What are the words that they may use to search for a doctor?

Brainstorm a bunch of key phrases and create a list.

Once you have a list, find keyword research tools, and search the phrases from your list.

Shortlist the keywords relevant to your phrases and have the right balance between search volume and competition.

It is important to note that the search volume for local key phrases is usually low. Therefore, don’t hesitate to shortlist relatively smaller SV keywords.

You can also use keyword tools to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. These words are proven to connect searching patients with practices like yours. Therefore, they can also help you find the right kind of visibility.

3. Capitalize On Google Posts

Google Posts is a free tool that offers local businesses a fantastic opportunity to engage and communicate with their audience.

Google Posts allow you to display up to ten of your most recent posts, which, according to some sources, stay live for up to 7 days. You can use this space for announcements, offers, and to promote your services, and explain your features to the audience.

You can display textual content and images both through Google Posts and end it with a CTA that links to your local landing pages.

Pro tip: make sure to use UTM parameters so you can track how much traffic is coming from your Google Posts.

Google Posts are designed to give quick information to prospective patients and convince them to take the desired action.

These can be utilized for many different post ideas such as offers and specials, products and services, events, business updates, etc.

A study conducted on 600 GBP profiles revealed service and discount-related posts bring the highest conversions in comparison to other ideas posts.

It is critical to have a proactive Google Posts strategy because this space is to communicate recent messages with prospective patients, you will need to work on not only sharing Google Posts but also updating them as the situation changes.

For example, your practice is offering free flu shots close to flu season, and you are promoting that via Google Posts. Once flu season passes, you will need to replace this post with something else since outdated content can tarnish your reputation.

To leverage its power and use them to drive results, you will need to write crisp, concise, and to-the-point copy that clearly communicates your value.

Also, keep in mind that though Google Posts have a 1500-character limit, only a few words are visible above the fold. So you have to concentrate as much information as you can in that space.

Google Posts come at zero cost and offer an excellent opportunity for you to engage with your audience and promote your service. However, you will need a verified Google Business Profile to be able to leverage this tool.

4. Health And Safety Attributes

Ever since the pandemic, people want to know the health and safety practices of places before they visit them.

Therefore, Google has included health and safety attributes in GBP listings. Apart from these essential attributes, there are other information nuggets that you can use to be more intuitive and give your prospective patients the information they need.

Apart from the health and safety attributes like temperature checks, mask requirements, staff safety precautions, etc., you can include other attributes as well, like whether patients need to book an appointment beforehand or can they get a walk-in appointment.

These attributes offer peace of mind and trust and give the prospects the information they need without them having to look for it.
You can add the attributes directly to your listing through your GBP.

5. NAP And Office Hours Consistency

According to a survey, 62% of respondents said that they use GBP listings to find business contact numbers and addresses.

This indicates that perhaps the number one reason people turn to Google for local businesses is to find out about their office hours, contact number, and address.

We can safely conclude what could happen if any of these is incorrect.

The prospect would be annoyed and likely to leave a negative review.

Imagine your office hour is listed as 9 am to 5 pm from Mon to Fri, as it is by default sometimes. But you practice from 1 pm to 4 pm on alternate weekdays.

Can you imagine the frustration of someone who saw the office hours on Google and dropped by your practice only to find out the timing was incorrect?

Again, imagine the frustration of someone who calls your practice using the contact number from Google but ends up trying for hours without a response.

These instances are likely to lead to a negative review on your GBP listing, which is something we have to avoid at all costs.

Therefore, you have to ensure that your office hours, name, address, and phone number (NAP) are all listed accurately on your GBP.

You also have to ensure that this information is consistent across all your customer touchpoints because even minor inconsistencies can lead to significant downfalls.

6. Local Landing Pages

When doing local SEO, many people are confused about whether they should link the call to action (CTA) to the website home page or have separate landing pages for each distinct keyword.

In this case, the most viable option is to link the CTA on your GBP listing to your local, keyword-relevant landing page.

You can use this landing page as the next step to your communication with the prospective patients and dive into more detailed information concerning the keyword.

For example, your keyword is “Pediatrician Boston”.

You can create a landing page that responds to the common pain points people in Boston have that would concern a pediatrician and communicate clearly how you can solve the problem.

Think about your user’s problems and try to address them on your landing page. Use clear and to-the-point headlines and arrange your textual information to keep the readers engaged.

Talk about benefits, not the features of your service, and include attractive, appealing images across your page to keep the audience engaged.
Also, make sure to optimize your page with the right keywords that are relevant to the service you are talking about on the page.

Try to include social proof, like testimonials and reviews, and trust signals like awards and certifications on the page to make your users trust your practice.

Place a CTA strategically on the page. Choose one action and stick to it if you want your readers to book an appointment, make your CTA “Book Your Appointment” or something like that. Don’t use a mix of CTAs and avoid the paradox of choice.

Embed a dynamic map at the bottom of the landing page, making it easier for the searchers to locate your facility.

Finally, don’t forget to optimize your landing pages for mobile users because half of all healthcare website visits come from mobile phones.

7. Local Link Building

Backlinks are your website’s URLs that are placed within the content of other websites. And the process of acquiring these links is called link building.

Google favors websites with a high volume of backlinks because it sees such websites as trustworthy and authoritative.

People seek out and get backlinks from relevant high authority websites for regular SEO. But for local SEO, you would need to get links from local entities so Google can trust your presence in that locality and rank your website for searches coming from there.

The process of acquiring links from your local websites is called local link building, and there are many strategies through which you can get a link from local websites.

You can create helpful content for doctors and dentists and get it posted on your community blog with a link back to your website.

If your practice makes enough revenue, you can sponsor a local school team or students from the local school or college and get a link from these institutions.

You can also join your local chamber of commerce and post in their news section to get a link from there.

Most cities have local newspapers. You can create PR content for these newspapers, offer advice, or write articles for them and link back to your website. These websites often enjoy high domain authority, so you can get valuable links from them.

You can also find local business directories and get your practices included in them to get another backlink.

These are just a few of the many local backlinking strategies. If you can get creative, the sky’s the limit.

8. Make Good Use Of GBP Calls And Messages

Businesses listed on GBP can get direct calls from google searchers.

Therefore, if you have included your phone number on GBP with the intent to receive calls and messages from your online audience, make sure you have someone to receive and respond to them.

Not responding to internet-driven calls and messages can lead to a bad customer experience, which can manifest as negative reviews and lousy promotion, which can be detrimental to your practice.

9. Local Reviews

Patients want to make sure the person they are going to consult is good at what they do. More importantly, they want the peace of mind that the facility is up to their standards and does not have a bad reputation. Due to these reasons, 98% of people read online reviews.

Therefore, the majority of healthcare consumers say online reviews influence their decision when selecting a healthcare service provider.

Therefore, you need to ensure your GBP listing features enough diverse reviews to win the prospective patients” trust.

Getting reviews, however, is not as straightforward as you may want it to be. Fully 74% of consumers write online reviews.

People would love to leave a bad review, but they rarely go out of their way to leave a good one.

Therefore, you will have to pursue positive reviews for the sake of your profit.

What you can do, in this case, is to follow up every patient’s appointment with a request to leave feedback on your GBP listing.

Make sure to go through all your reviews and remove any personally identifiable information that people may have shared accidentally in their reviews.

Also, while responding to positive reviews is important, address the negative reviews as well so the rest of the world knows you prioritize your patients” experience and work to make it a good one.

10. Multiple Professional Listings At One Address

Google allows you to share an address with various other businesses sharing the same location and have an independent GBP for your business, given that your business is distinct and has its own Tax Identification Code.

So, you can create an independent listing if you have a clinic located within an office building that houses many other businesses.

However, if you have a large hospital with several smaller clinics, it might become challenging to create an independent listing for each hospital.

Because you need to have distinct businesses, each of which files its taxes independently and has its own phone numbers to create a different listing for businesses operating from a similar location.

Final Words

Local SEO can unlock a new traffic channel for your practice. By helping you rank for local prospective patients, it can allow you to generate more bookings and consequently increase profit.

However, before you can enjoy its benefits, you will have to do the hard work of creating and maintaining a healthy Google Business Profile listing.

Once you have an optimized GBP listing, you will be more likely to harness the potential of SEO and garner more appointments for your practice.


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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

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What Is User Experience? How Design Matters To SEO

User experience is the foundation of a site’s usability, and it’s an aspect of on-page SEO that many people overlook.

If your site lacks the positive user experience and ease of use that end users require to navigate your site, you’ll push visitors to your competitors.

In this guide, you’ll learn what user experience (UX) entails, the types of experiences, the difference between UI and UX, and why it matters to SEO.

What Is User Experience (UX)?

UX is how people interact with your website.

You’ll also find this term used for products, but we’re focusing strictly on websites at the moment.

If you have a, intuitive user interface design, users will have an easier time navigating your site and finding the information they want.

If you do have a digital product, such as a SaaS solution, this interaction will also occur on your digital product.

User experience elicits a couple of things:

In short, user experience can provide a positive experience with your website – or it can lead to frustration among users.

Note: Usability is not UX design. It’s a component of UX that works with design to create the experience your users desire.

What Are The Types Of User Experience?

User experience evaluation must look at the three types of UX design to best understand the needs of the end user.

The three types of UX include:

  • Information: One aspect of a content strategy that goes overlooked is information architecture. Time must be spent on how information on a site is organized and presented. User flows and navigation must be considered for all forms of information you present.
  • Interaction: Your site has an interaction design pattern – or a certain way that users interact with the site. Components of a site that fall under the interaction UX type include buttons, interfaces, and menus.
  • Visual design: Look and feel matter for the end user. You want your website to have cohesion between its color, typography, and images. User interface (UI) will fall under this type of UX, but it’s important to note that UI is not interchangeable with UX.

What Is The Difference Between UI & UX?

Speaking of UX and UI, it’s important to have a firm understanding of the difference between the two to better understand user experience.

User Interface

UI design is your site’s visual elements, including:

Visual elements on your site are part of the user interface.

UI definitely overlaps with UX to an extent, but they’re not the same.

Steve Krug also has a great book on usability, titled “Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability.” It was first published in 2000, and the book is a #1 bestseller today.

Steve’s insight from over 20 years ago (although we’re now on the 3rd edition of the book) provides guidelines on usability that include:

  • Desktop.
  • Mobile.
  • Ease of use.
  • Layouts.
  • Everything UX.

If there’s one thing this book will teach you about usability, it’s to focus on intuitive navigation. Frustrating website users is the exact opposite of a good user experience.

User Experience

UX works on UI and how the user will:

  • Interact with your site.
  • Feel during the interaction.

Think of Google for a moment.

A simple landing page that is visually appealing, but Spartan in nature, is the face of the Internet. In terms of UX, Google is one of the best sites in the world, although it lacks a spectacular UI.

In fact, the UI needs to be functional and appealing, but the UX is what will stand out the most.

Imagine if you tried performing a search on Google and it displayed the wrong results or took one minute for a query to run. In this case, even the nicest UI would not compensate for the poor UX.

Peter Morville’s user experience honeycomb is one of the prime examples of how to move beyond simple usability and focus on UX in new, exciting ways.

The honeycomb includes multiple points that are all combined to maximize the user experience. These facets are:

  • Accessible.
  • Credible.
  • Desirable.
  • Findable.
  • Usable.
  • Useful.
  • Valuable.

When you focus on all of these elements, you’ll improve the user experience dramatically.

Why User Experience Matters To SEO

By this point, you understand that UX is very important to your site’s visitors and audience.

A lot of time, analysis, and refinement must go into UX design. However, there’s another reason to redirect your attention to user experience: SEO.

Google Page Experience Update

When Google’s Page Experience Update was fully rolled out, it had an impact on websites that offered a poor user experience.

The page experience update is now slowly rolling out for desktop. It will be complete by the end of March 2022. Learn more about the update: https://t.co/FQvMx3Ymaf

— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) February 22, 2022

Multiple aspects of UX are part of the ranking factors of the update, including:

  • Intrusive adverts.
  • Core Web Vitals.
  • HTTPS Security.

You can run a Core Web Vitals report here and make corrections to meet these requirements. Additionally, you should know whether your site has intrusive ads that irritate users, and if your site lacks HTTPS.

Page performance works to improve your SEO. Google’s research shows that focusing on UX can:

  • Reduce site abandonment by as much as 24%.
  • Improve web conversions.
  • Increase the average page views per session by as much as 15%.
  • Boost advertising revenue by 18% or more.

When you spend time improving your site’s UX, you benefit from higher rankings, lower page abandonment, improved conversions, and even more revenue.

Plus, many of the practices to improve UX are also crucial components of a site’s on-page SEO, such as:

  • Proper header usage.
  • Adding lists to your content.
  • Making use of images.
  • Optimizing images for faster loading times.
  • Filling content gaps with useful information.
  • Reducing “content fluff.”
  • Using graphs.
  • Testing usability across devices.

When you improve UX, you create a positive experience for users, while also improving many of the on-page SEO foundations of your website.

Final Comments

Customer experience must go beyond simple responsive web design.

Hick’s law dictates that when you present more choices to users, it takes longer to reach a decision. You’ve likely seen this yourself when shopping online and finding hundreds of options.

When people land on your site, they’re looking for answers or knowledge – not confusion.

User research, usability testing, and revisiting user experience design often will help you inch closer to satisfying the SEO requirements of design while keeping your visitors (or customers) happier.

More resources: 


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How to Rank for Google’s Helpful Content Update

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How to Rank for Google’s Helpful Content Update

Zero Traffic from Google—that is what more than 50% of online content gets everyday. Ahrefs found this out last 2020.

And yet, countless websites continue to put them out regularly—a problem made even worse with all the AI-powered content tools out there. The result is an endless flood of low-quality blogs and posts that are, ultimately, not useful for anyone who reads them. 

So, what did Google do in response? They put out another addition to their algorithm, called the “Helpful Content Update.” Their goal with this one was to help make sure that valuable content that actually helps their users (a.k.a., people-first content) would be able to rank. 

Much like with every update, SEO professionals like you and I need to revisit our strategies to stay ahead of the game. In this article, I will show you some tactics I use to write content for people first, while maintaining good SEO practices. 

What We Know About Google’s Helpful Content Update

The Helpful Content Update algorithm update by Google was designed to improve user experience by putting high-quality content written for people higher up in the SERPs. 

Here’s how Google put it in their own words

“The system generates a site-wide signal that we consider among many other signals for ranking web pages. Our systems automatically identify content that seems to have little value, low-added value or is otherwise not particularly helpful to those doing searches.

Any content—not just unhelpful content—on sites determined to have relatively high amounts of unhelpful content overall is less likely to perform well in Search, assuming there is other content elsewhere from the web that’s better to display. For this reason, removing unhelpful content could help the rankings of your other content.”

While this update was first announced back in September 2022, it has now progressed into a global update, impacting all languages. Google also announced that the system will continue to publish new signals over the coming months, helping their site identify more content created primarily for search engines versus people.

What does this mean for your website? Well, there are a lot of changes that others have documented in the last few months, which I summarize for you here: 

  • Purely AI-generated content is considered spam, and Google will be using its machine learning algorithm to detect it.
  • Content made for clicks (i.e., ad monetization) won’t work anymore
  • There may be no manual penalties, but sites have experienced losing organic visibility
  • It seems to affect the overall site performance, rather than hitting specific pages—and Google won’t be telling you which pieces of your content it has deemed as not useful.

Google’s Danny Sullivan also talked about this update possibly working in connection with future updates:

Google’s Danny Sullivan talking about Google

So, like Hummingbird, this update may become fundamental to ranking algorithms—which means that its exact effects could be only observed over the next few years.

Even so, it already puts a stronger emphasis on your content. Writing with a “search engine first” approach should no longer be your angle. 

After all, Google is, primarily, a space for users to learn. So, it makes sense that they’re making no room for unhelpful content.

While this update will undoubtedly be more damaging for poor-quality sites, it also presents an opportunity for well-maintained sites to take a second look at their content strategy. 

How to Optimize Your Content—and Make it More “Helpful”

With this update, we have to start thinking about our content holistically, rather than just trying to gain as many clicks as possible (or maybe even a featured snippet).

To achieve this, you have two main action points to consider: improving your intent and processes, and providing high-quality content.

Let’s go over some tips I’ve come up with in the last two months to better tackle these points (and enhance your writing): 

Review Your Intent and Your Audience

Before you even start on your next blog post, you need to know who your audience is. 

Ask yourself, who are you writing for? What are their needs, and why are they asking these questions? What do they need help with?

These questions will help you tailor your content to help your target audience. Otherwise, it’s likely that whatever you write won’t be considered helpful by Google—and you won’t be able to reap the benefits from your work. 

If you’re having trouble understanding who your audience is, then take a look at your Google Analytics data, under your demographic details report. This is the best place to gain some insight into who is currently looking at your content, as well as other things they might be interested in. 

So, beyond inserting your keyword into your blog post, consider factoring both your intended audience and relevant adjacent content. 

Provide Real Expertise, Insights, and Experiences

When it comes to making helpful, valuable content, it’s a big plus if you have some first-hand expertise to add to your writing. 

Avoid writing on topics that are trending, but you know nothing about. I also highly recommend against simply regurgitating information you’ve seen in other posts. Instead, your insights and experiences with the topic should be the main focus of your writing.

Not an expert on the particular topic you’re currently drafting? That’s okay—not everyone can be one. You can still produce helpful content by doing your due diligence, diving deep into research, and sharing what you’ve learned. 

Remember, readers can see right through you if you’re faking being an expert, so avoid making false claims at all costs. 

Use AI Content Strategically

Though this update may be primarily aimed at reducing the amount of AI-generated content out there, that doesn’t mean your tools no longer have a place in your work. 

AI tools, such as the increasingly popular ChatGPT or our recently-reviewed Content Marketing Platform from SE Ranking, can still be used to improve your work and productivity. The key is to use them strategically. 

Use them to lighten your workload, and avoid depending solely on them. For example, you can use your tools to help you generate better titles or introductions—but always remember to add a human touch to whatever they make. And, make sure that the bulk of the ideas come from you! 

Try to Hit Related Queries (Such as the People Also Ask (PAAs))

I mentioned that we have to start approaching our writing holistically, and that means providing as much valuable information to our readers as possible. 

Now that being helpful is the name of the game, it’s a great time to take a look at all the related queries users have for your intended topic. Here’s what comes up when I google ‘wedding catering:’

PAAs and related searches for the keyword "wedding catering"

Check the PAAs and related searches that pop up when you type in your keyword. These aren’t just generated questions Google thinks people might ask—they’re actually being searched up by real people! These will provide good subheadings to include in your next blog article.

Ask Yourself: Will Readers Be Satisfied After Reading Your Content?

Things like word count and keyword density are now a thing of the past with this update. The most important thing now is that your audience enjoys what they’re reading, or they learn something of value from your article. 

In short, they leave your site feeling satisfied

So, always gauge your writing by asking this question: will people be satisfied after reading this?

For example, if you’re writing an article on how to properly brew specialty coffee, will the reader come away from your article with more knowledge than before? Will they have all their questions answered? Will they know how to properly brew their new coffee beans?

If the answer is yes, then you’re doing great. But, if you’re unsure—or the answer is a resounding no—you must make some changes. 

That said, not every reader that comes across your work will be happy with what you’ve written. It is, after all, impossible to please everyone each time you publish something. However, as long as a majority of your audience is satisfied, then you’re doing something right! 

Revisit Your Old Posts

Lastly, because this update affects you sitewide, it’s a good idea to look at your previous work. 

If you’re like me, then you’ve been blogging for upwards of a decade—and that might mean some of your posts aren’t as valuable to readers today. The content might be outdated, or not up to snuff with newer guidelines, but either way, this bank of legacy content can bring your traffic down.

So, revisit your work and review its ability to provide your readers with the answers and experience they’re looking for. Take the time to check if you need to make some additions to make it useful once again, or redirect them to newer content. I highly recommend prioritizing evergreen content, which is something I covered in my Blog Writing 101 guide.

This is especially important if you’re in any industry that moves fast (think fashion or tech). Content here usually goes from helpful to obsolete in a matter of months! 

Key Takeaway

Google has always favored people-first content, and this recent update is just the latest in many of their attempts to make sure the right content gets to their users. 

The Helpful Content Update will continue to release tweaks to their signals over the coming months, so it’s prime time for us SEO specialists to take a second look at our content and writing strategies.

Luckily, this update could be a win for you—just keep these tips in mind, and you’re on the right track to getting the most value from your content efforts. 

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What Are the Benefits of SEO? (And How to Get Started)

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What Are the Benefits of SEO? (And How to Get Started)

If you are a business owner, you may have heard about how vital search engine optimization (SEO) is. But how can it help fast-track your business’s growth, get more customers, and make a difference to your bottom line?

In more simple terms: Why do SEO? 

1. It increases your organic share of voice

There are an estimated 3.5 billion searches on Google each day. To tap into this audience, you’ll need to do SEO. 

One of the key benefits of SEO is increasing your organic share of voice (SOV). More organic SOV means more traffic, leads, and revenue for your business.

It also means more market share in your industry. We can see from the graph below that there is a strong relationship between SOV and market share

Relationship between SOV and market share graph

At Ahrefs, we calculate organic SOV by dividing the traffic to the site by the total search traffic for all keywords.

In other words, if you only track one keyword and the top 10 positions are occupied by pages of your website, your SOV is 100%.

So how can you measure organic SOV?

We first need to create a new project in Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker and add our keywords for the website we want to track.

How to add keywords in Ahrefs' Rank Tracker, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Once you have added a new project and added your keywords, you can go to the dashboard and check your SOV.

It should look something like this:

SOV screenshot, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

If you click through the SOV on the dashboard, you can look at your competitor’s SOV compared to your SOV.

SOV vs. competitors screenshot, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

If no competitors are showing in your dashboard, you can change that by: 

  • Going into Settings.
  • Clicking on the Competitors tab.
  • Clicking on + Add competitor.

Enter your competitors manually or press the + to add them from the list below that shows the keyword intersection.

Adding competitors via settings menu, via Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

Once you are happy, click the Save button and return to the dashboard. You should now be able to compare your competitor’s SOV against your website’s SOV. 

Recommendation

Check out Michal Pecánek’s article on SOV to get a detailed guide on how to measure SOV.

2. It’s less intrusive than other types of marketing

Intrusive marketing is annoying.

It may seem obvious. But when our lives are full of adverts, cold calls, and emails from random people trying to sell you their products all the time, it’s very advantageous to be an inbound marketing channel

Intrusive outreach example, via Linkedin.com
An intrusive marketing example sent to me from LinkedIn.

SEO targets people who are actively searching for your services or products. 

Because of this, it’s excellent at converting—all you need to do is focus on what they are searching for.

You can find what your customers are searching for using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Enter a relevant topic and go to the Matching terms report. Here, you’ll see many topics your customers are searching for, which you can target.

Matching terms report example, via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

You can search, discover, and analyze keywords using our very own Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

SEO is not just for Christmas.

In all, 45.6% of SEOs say SEO takes about three to six months. It may seem like a long time for the channel to work, but SEO is a long-term marketing channel where growth typically compounds over time. In other words, if you put the time and effort into SEO, the results will likely be well worth it. 

Looking at Ahrefs’ organic traffic graph, most of our rapid growth occurred in the last year or so when our traffic started to compound. 

Ahrefs.com organic traffic performance

Google’s algorithm updates mean that your website’s traffic will fluctuate. But as you can see from the graph, it’s a positive trend in the long term.

Over time, you should be able to rely on SEO to bring in a constant stream of traffic to your site. 

When we asked ~4,300 SEOs how long SEO takes, they gave a variety of responses. But only 16.2% of SEOs said that SEO takes between one and three months.

Pie chart showing percentage breakdown of SEOs responses to how long SEO takes

I agree with the majority of SEOs here. But I would add a qualifier—that it depends on the type of website you are working on.

For example, if you set up a brand-new website, it will have little to no authority. This is because it will have no links pointing to it and will probably have minimal content on the site. 

These elements are just some indicators or ways in which Google judges your website’s authority and decides which top results should be on its SERPs.

Recommendation

If you are improving the SEO of a website that’s been around for a few years, then the SEO will likely take effect faster. This is based on my experience, but you may get different results with your website.

Unlike paying for PPC, organic search traffic is free. 

If Ahrefs used PPC to pay for its organic traffic, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer estimates it would cost an eye-watering $2.3 million per month or $27.6 million per year.

Monetary value of Ahrefs' organic traffic, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can see from this example why improving SEO and increasing your organic traffic can be a highly valuable investment for your business.

Getting started with SEO doesn’t always mean you have to spend a lot, either. If you are willing to learn about SEO basics, you can do a lot of the work yourself to bring costs down.

Recommendation

When it comes to tools, you don’t have to spend a lot when you are starting out. You can use Ahrefs Webmaster Tools for auditing your site and our free SEO tools to optimize it further.

It’s always on—24/7

Unlike paid marketing, SEO is always on. It continues to work for you while you are asleep. 

You’ll get more overall value from SEO than other marketing channels. It doesn’t cost any extra to have it running all the time.

Another benefit is that once your website is established with good rankings, SEO will maintain them over time and drive consistent traffic to your website. 

The only thing that can stop this is if there is a serious technical issue with your site or you have fallen foul of Google’s search guidelines

Reduce your dependency on PPC 

It’s easy for a business to rely on pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, but it can be expensive to maintain this marketing strategy. 

SEO can help you change this.

Once you have some important keywords ranking number #1 on Google, you can consider turning off some of your PPC marketing, which could result in significant savings for your business.

5. It improves user experience

Many people have high expectations for websites these days. They expect them to be clear, intuitive, and lightning-fast. 

When websites don’t work as people expect, they get frustrated. And if they have a bad experience, this can create a negative perception of the brand. 

To do well in SEO, you’ll need to provide your visitors with the best possible user experience. 

But how can you optimize for user experience in SEO?

SEOs typically divide user experience issues into three categories: 

  • Site speed
  • Core Web Vitals
  • On-site optimization

Let’s take a closer look.

Site speed

Site speed is one of the most critical factors for your visitors. If your website is slow to use, visitors will likely leave your site and probably not return.

A few years ago, Google tested 900,000 websites worldwide. It reported that 53% of people would leave a website if it took three seconds or more to load.

To test your site speed, you can use a tool like webpagespeedtest.org. Let’s take a look at Ahrefs speed metrics using this tool.

Ahrefs' speed performance

We can see above that the speed index is under three seconds for Ahrefs. If your website loads in more than three seconds, then you may want to consider speeding up your website. 

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are Google’s quality signals it introduced to quantify the user experience of your website. 

They are:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – For load performance.
  • First Input Delay (FID) – For visual stability.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – For interactivity.

Here’s what Google classifies as good and bad scores for these metrics.

Good Needs improvement Poor
LCP <=2.5s <=4s >4s
FID <=100ms <=300ms >300ms
CLS <=0.1 <=0.25 >0.25

Defining metrics for user experience is a benefit, as website owners can know exactly how their websites perform against Google’s expectations. 

Monitoring Core Web Vitals and site performance may sound technical, but you can keep an eye on them using Ahrefs’ Site Audit

For example, here’s a screenshot from the Performance dashboard highlighting two issues with CLS and LCP. 

Pages with poor CLS and poor LCP, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

As you can see from the above, Site Audit automatically identifies all low-performing pages for you.

On-page optimization

On-page optimization is another area of SEO that can help benefit your website. With on-page optimization, SEOs critically examine your website and audit it for any issues that may impact the user experience.

A good example of on-page optimization is adding subheadings, or heading tags, to your articles. Adding subheadings makes your content easier to read by establishing a visual hierarchy.

Subheadings improve readability by creating visual hierarchy

On-page optimization is less quantifiable than Core Web Vitals, but spending time on it will pay dividends for your website in the long run.

Ahrefs’ Site Audit can monitor headings, image alt text, internal linking, and other on-page optimization factors.

Here’s an example of a scheduled report you can get for heading optimization opportunities.

Heading optimization opportunities, via Ahrefs' Site Audit

You can use this report to identify many improvement opportunities for your website.

6. It puts your store online

If your business has a physical store, you can add it to a Google Business Profile for free.

Google My Business local listing example for Google San Francisco

Adding your business to Google’s business listings means you will appear on Google Maps when someone searches for your business or related keywords.

It’s a great way to highlight your business locally. For some businesses focused on local trade, this listing can be one of their most crucial organic search assets.

It also gives you a helpful way to communicate your business hours and opening times to your customers—something they will appreciate.

By having a solid organic presence and utilizing tools such as Google Business Profile, you can be sure that your online business will pick up sales even when you can’t open your physical store. 

So how do you set up your own Google Business Profile listing?

Setting up a Google Business Profile is straightforward and a three-step process.

  1. Claim your business profile 
  2. Add your business hours and details 
  3. Manage your profile, share any business updates, and respond to customer reviews

Once you have done this, you can monitor your business profile’s performance with the built-in analytics.

GMB analytics, via Google My Business

Using a Google Business Profile allows you to discover how people are searching for your website and helps you to understand how your business connects with customers online.

Building trust with customers is just as important online as it is offline. You wouldn’t buy something from a physical shop if the shop was run-down and the service was poor. 

The same applies to websites.

Your website should be fully operational and perform well in search engines. It should be secure and provide a great user experience to your customers. 

Having good SEO on your website shows you’re an authority in your industry. It shows you have the information and expertise customers are looking for.

It also means searchers will click on your website in the results because it is more prominent than your competitors—you will get the customers, and they won’t. 

The bottom line here is that by improving your website’s SEO, more visitors will trust your brand, which will drive more traffic and sales.

Learn more

Now you know the key benefits of SEO, you may want to start learning about it in more detail.

I’ve collected some helpful resources below to help you get started, so you can learn about SEO and start to reap the benefits:

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter. 🙂



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