If your content doesn’t land on the first page of a Google search result, it probably won’t get read. Seventy percent of people who use Google to search for something don’t look past the first page of results.
You need to make sure your website page or blog post lands somewhere on that first page. But how do you do it?
SEO, of course.
SEO stands for search engine optimization, or the process of getting a particular page to rank higher in the results a search engine delivers in response to a query. And if you want to leverage SEO to your benefit, it helps to know how search engines work.
The Job of Search Engines: Index Everything
Search engines like Google attempt to index every page on the web in order to suggest pages for users looking for something specific online. They use bots called spiders to crawl the web in order to index everything that’s out there.
The spiders, or web crawlers, look for certain indicators of a page’s content, quality and value. They need to understand what web pages are about and who they’re most relevant for if they want to do a good job allowing the search engine to return relevant results when someone types something specific into the search bar.
When we use search engine optimization, we try to give web crawlers the information they need to understand our web pages, posts and content. That way, they know how to deliver that content to people who search the web for something related to what we do and can provide for them.
To make SEO work for us, we need to make sure the page we want to rank well in search results gives the search engines what they need to understand that “this is a valuable piece of relevant content.”
Use Relevant Keywords to Create Content That Performs Well in Search
Keywords, according to Moz.com, are ideas and topics that define what your content is about. In terms of SEO, they’re the words and phrases that searchers enter into search engines, also called “search queries.”
In the early days of the Internet, you could optimize your content around a single word or term, like “adviser,” or “financial planner.” That’s pretty much impossible to do today due to the amount of competition out there that also tries to rank for those simple words and terms.
It would be a miracle if you were able to rank as the first result for “financial planner”—it would be a miracle, or it would require a massive amount of money to do.
That might sound like a bummer, but there’s a solution that not only works well but also generates higher-quality traffic for your site (and that means more qualified leads): instead of choosing a single word as a keyword, you’ll want to focus on long-tail keywords.
Long tail keywords are phrases made up of about three to five words that are highly specific to what you provide or what you sell. You want to target long tail keywords that are relevant to your audience with very few other websites trying to rank for them.
How to Choose the Right Keyword
The tricky part about SEO is nailing down just the right keyword that you want to try to rank for. If you choose a keyword based on what you think is important, your content probably won’t perform well in search.
You have to consider what your audience thinks is important.
You can’t know the best keywords to choose and build content around without considering who you want to reach. You need to know your audience. Put on your audience’s shoes, experience what it’s like to walk in them, then address their needs, desires, curiosities, questions and more.
The more deeply you understand what your audience wants, the easier it is to market yourself to that group of people.
This is actually where I start in the SEO course I created for financial planners, Using SEO: The Comprehensive But Not Complicated Guide to Get More Organic Traffic to Your Site. We drill down deeply to understanding your particular audience before we ever talk about creating SEO optimized content.
But don’t worry: we get there, too. In fact, the course covers everything you need to know about leveraging search engine optimization through simple, proven processes that put more eyeballs on your website, including:
- How to validate your keyword ideas
- How to create content that’s optimized for SEO (including a handy checklist)
- How to balance creating content for search engines and their algorithms, and writing for the actual humans who are supposed to enjoy your content once they find it
- How to optimize your whole site (not just your blog posts)
- How to improve your offsite SEO
…and a lot more. If you want to take a comprehensive, but not overly complicated, dive into search engine optimization and how your firm can use it to get more site traffic, check out the course here.
FPA members receive $50 off the regular price of the course. Just use code FPAINSIDER to get your discount.