Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a term that seems to perplex or frighten anyone that has any interest in marketing or promoting their website. Since the term’s somewhat vague beginning back in 1997, there has been a lot of mystery, false science, and hokum surrounding SEO. Trying to gather all the resources online and take a self-guided lesson on SEO is challenging enough. And, even knowing the basics doesn’t always guarantee that you’ll be armed for success with marketing your website.
A new book is showing some promise for a kind of self-guided tutorial. SEO For Growth by John Jantsch and Phil Singleton is a short, comprehensive book for marketers, designers, developers, and entrepreneurs looking to fully understand SEO. The book–under 200 pages—defines a lot of terms and breaks down the SEO process into manageable chunks and processes.
OK, so how important is search? Very, and the stats show that even having a basic understanding of SEO is important:
- Search can make up 40-50% of traffic to your website.
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
- The first five search results account for almost 70% of clicked results on first page search results.
- 48% of customers start searches with a mobile search engine.
- 50% of search queries are four words or longer.
A few nuggets from this book that caught my eye: SEO is a continual process, not a “set it and forget it” series of steps. How true! All the things that can help your site or content ranking takes time and attention. And quickie build-your-own-site tools like Wix and Squarespace won’t adequately get you slapped on the first page of Google’s search returns. Developers and designers need to understand why SEO is important when they build a site and why just keyword stuffing and a few links to your website won’t just work.
The book carefully walks through the steps for creating good SEO: from strategy to keywords, link building, managing reputation, and social media SEO integration. SEO for Growth does a good job in piecing together these steps so you can move from one to other, giving each section a bit of focus. They also provide steps to maintaining your SEO rankings and improving them over time.
The most important thing you can do for good SEO? Content, content, content. Keep you content relevant, up to date, use the right words and term that people are searching for, and be relevant. Your homepage, your splash pages, your news or content pages should answer the question that the user is searching for in Google or Bing. Whether you sell cars, want to attract activists to a rally, or want to get word out about a piece of legislation, when that audience user you want to attract searches for _____, you want to be the site that comes up relevant to what you do and what the user are looking for. SEO isn’t easy and takes work, but SEO for Growth is a good first step for understanding more it.