SEO, SEM…WTF? (part 1)
In the intro article to this series, we stated our goals as follows:
My goal in this series of posts is not to explain digital marketing as an authority of an expert, because I am neither.
My goal is to twofold:
- To break down the various components of digital marketing into small bite-sized chunks.
- To explain those chunks in a way that is easy to absorb, relates directly to what we do, and allows you to make better decisions moving forward.
So let’s start with “SEO”.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This basically describes the process of convincing Google (yes, there are others…but just focus on Google) to show ‘searchers’ your website, when they search for information relevant to your product or service.
SEO is a process aimed at increasing traffic to your website.
And the absolute key here is…with SEO you’re looking to increase traffic that’s FREE.
For our purposes, the most common example is someone using Google to search for “replacement windows” or “window replacement”. By ‘optimizing’ your website and online content for what the Search Engine (Google) looks for, you’re increasing the odds that Google will show your result to the person performing the search.
But that brings up two questions:
- What does Google look for?
- How do we ‘optimize’?
To understand what Google “looks” for, think in terms of questions like this:
- What are people searching for?
- More specifically, what answers/solutions are people looking for?
- What websites provide the best answers or solutions to those questions or problems?
Which brings us immediately to the question: “What is ‘optimizing’?”
Optimizing means getting your website pages to rank higher and higher in the results that Google shows to its visitors.
Remember the questions we just asked vicariously through Google? Well, ‘optimization’ is how we show Google that our website is the place people should go to get the answers, and find the solutions.
And as you might imagine, this part of the SEO process can get real deep.
SIDEBAR: Understanding what answers or solutions people are looking for is pretty straight forward. It’s simply based on what people are typing into the Google search bar. Those searches are called “keywords” or “keyword phrases”…and it’s important that you know what keywords and phrases your potential customers are looking for.
Back to optimization…
Your website needs to be optimized, so that Google wants to show ‘searchers’ your content. So just like in-home sales… SEO is about trust.
Next month, if 1000 people search for “replacement windows” in your town…wouldn’t you like Google to show them a link to your website?
Well then, Google has to TRUST you.
Optimizing your website (Search Engine Optimization) is about gaining Google’s trust. And the process of gaining their trust is what I referred to as having the potential to get “deep”.
Here’s an example of the things that can be done to optimize your website and gain more free traffic:
- Make sure your website is accessible and can be indexed.
- Make sure your content is compelling, well-written and relevant to what your potential customer want.
- Make sure your website is keyword optimized.
- Have a fantastic user experience.
- Earn back links, shares and citations.
- Improve page titles, tags and meta information.
- Build schema markup.
I told you it could get deep.
And right now you might be thinking: “I thought SEO was about getting free site traffic? This looks like a lot of work.”
SEO allows you to get free website traffic by gaining Google’s trust, and having them show your website to potential customers. But there is a cost to gaining Google’s trust. It’s called blood, sweat and tears.
Optimizing your website takes time and knowledge and work. It isn’t something that can be accomplished overnight. (and anyone who tells you it can, it trying to scam you)
So where the hell do you start?
SEO is a powerful tool, but should be looked at as a slow and steady process. If you take your time, and establish Google’s trust…it can pay dividends for years to come.
Here’s where I would start:
Create Your Google My Business Listing
This should be your #1 focus. Google My Business (GMB) listings provide us with the quickest ‘shortcut’ to Google trust…because Google is able to verify and reward local businesses. They’re able to verify your location, and they allow you to earn their trust through the review process.
If Google sends searchers to local businesses that have a verified location, and a high review rating…chances are that they’ll maintain the trust of their customers. And that is good business for Google.
GMB has become nearly as important as your website. Focus on it.
Review your User Experience
Put yourself in the mind of your potential customer, and visit your website. Ask these questions:
- What are the top 5 questions I have?
- Can I easily find those answers?
- Does the website look professional?
- Is this website easy to navigate on my phone?
There are certainly more questions to be asked, but these will start to point you in the right direction of things that can be done to improve your website and search results (SEO).
Honestly…there are several other things that many of you are capable of doing to help your SEO efforts, such as citations, page titles, meta tags and page headlines. But do you really have the time?
SEO might be “free” web traffic, but it requires knowledge and TIME. And while I’ve always been a person to try and “save money” by doing it myself…SEO has become so important, and it has become so in-depth…that I’ve finally succumbed to the notion that most of us need help.
Companies that provide SEO services can help you with technical details like accessibility, schema and markup. (what?…EXACTLY)
They can also help you with keyword research, content additions and user experience.
You may have intuitive knowledge of your business, and be able to understand what the consumer is looking for. But are you able to translate that into the technical details of what Google is looking for?
I’d say, get some help.
SIDEBAR: Did you know that all Window Depot USA dealers have access to complimentary websites that are continuously optimized? You might want to check that out. I’m available via email or a call, to explain more.
Well…I told you I’m no expert. But hopefully this article gave you some insights that will help you move forward.
See you in the next article…we’ll discuss SEM. (yep, this was just ONE “small” topic). LMAO
More Articles HERE
PS – If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re a home improvement entrepreneur. So my question: Why do this alone?
Why not join a group of like-minded people that share ideas and best practices, that negotiate together and help one another generate leads? And there’s so much more! I hope you’ll explore our website further.
I want someone to contact me, right now!
The right Products for your Market
Becoming a Window Depot USA dealer means access to high quality products, at nationally negotiated prices. Our motto of "National Strength, Local Service" isn't just a catch phrase. Imagine being able to offer homeowners in your area the very best value available, because of your acquisition price. Learn more about our products.
We're here to Support YOU
When you join Window Depot USA, you'll be supported by a strong corporate team that is vested in your success. We offer training and support in nearly every aspect of your business. From Marketing & Sales to Operations and Finance. We're here to help you succeed, at every level. Learn more about our Support.
The right PARTNERSHIP Approach
Window Depot USA is an official Licensing Program. What does that mean? It means that unlike a franchise, we don't charge huge up front fees, and we don't take a portion of your company profits. Instead, we act as a buying co-op...allowing you to put more money into your marketing, sales and bottom line. Learn more about our Approach.