When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), there are a ton of whats, whys, and hows. What is it? Why is it important? How is it done? All of those questions are common, but the answers may not be as simple as some may hope. That is why we at Wikimotive started the SEO Climb video series, where our resident master of all things SEO, Dave Estey, explains the ins and outs of it all: from content to backlinks.
The in-depth learning program was kicked off this month, with one of the most important questions being answered: What is SEO? And how, if at all, is it related to marketing? The second week of the series expanded on the value of SEO –– the “why,” if you will. Wrapping up October, Dave went even deeper into both the what and why explaining the factors that go into ranking well on Google and why that is something you should even care about. Let’s take a closer look at what he had to say.
What is SEO?
Without a doubt, SEO can seem a bit confusing, which is exactly why SEO Climb with Dave Estey Episode 1 begins by defining what it is. Dave sums it up quite well, though, saying, “SEO is all the actions you take to optimize your marketing for search engines.” While the first search engine that comes to most people’s minds is Google, there are actually numerous others that you can and should optimize for, such as Bing, Yahoo, Youtube, and even social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. But how do you go about ranking for various queries in these different places?
The first and one of the most important parts of SEO is content marketing. Why is this the case? Well, when people utilize search engines, they are often looking for the answer to something. “Where is the closest car dealership?” “How often do I need to service my vehicle?” etc. So by answering these questions in a way that would be beneficial to searchers via written content, your website is more likely to show up higher on the search engine results page (SERP). Content on your website is essential; it is how you can target an audience, prove your authoritative position in your space, and even draw traffic toward the conversion pages on your site. However, there is another crucial player in the “what is SEO” game: technical SEO.
Technical SEO is a group of acts that help search engines understand the structure of your site and assists the crawlers in quickly and effectively collecting all of your pages and digesting them properly. This includes everything from H1 tags and meta tags to building a linking structure on the site that provides a bridge from one page to another with additional relevant information and even to finding and fixing broken pages, such as those that are coming back with a 404 error. Ensuring that your site can and is being crawled and indexed is essential to have the content on your site rank in search; content marketing and technical SEO go hand in hand.
It is clear how content and technical SEO work together, but it is important to note that SEO and general marketing do as well. A technical SEO specialist should be looking at all regular marketing efforts to ensure each piece is being optimized in a way that will draw more traffic to the site. For example, if you have a video series, such as SEO Climb, you will want an SEO expert to look over the description and title so that it is optimized to answer whatever query is being posed in the video itself and adding any links to your site that could provide even more information on the topic. With that said, SEO and marketing should always be working together, but it is important to note that they are not one in the same.
Why is SEO Valuable?
Now that you have a greater understanding of what SEO is, you may be wondering why it matters, or who can help you achieve the most success when it comes to ranking. As explained in SEO Climb with Dave Estey Episode 2, SEO is extremely valuable as it ties together all of the things you have paid for to make your website work, such as the site itself, the content, marketing, etc., and makes them work better cohesively. Without proper optimization, it is likely these time and monetary efforts have gone to waste. With SEO, though, your website will work more efficiently, giving you more power in the online space.
SEO is a bit more complex than a quantifiable value. Yes, efficiency and power are great in general. However, you will not see how these factors directly impact your rankability, traffic, and conversion rates without looking deeper into your website’s performance via Google Analytics. That said, it is possible to get a general understanding of SEO’s value without deep diving into your own data. SEO efforts, when done correctly, should be evergreen. This means that they should hold just as much value today as they will two years from now. So long as your content is continuing to answer a question that is being posed, it will still have power to draw traffic to your site without putting any additional money into the pot. When it comes to paid marketing, for your ads to continue showing at the top of the SERP or on social media, you will need to continue paying. If you stop, the ad will disappear and will no longer draw traffic to your site. SEO is valuable because it is everlasting, while SEM and PPC (paid search) are not.
It is evident that SEO holds a lot of value, but how do you find the right people to do it for you? Unfortunately, the built-in SEO tools that come with most website providers are, as stated by Dave, “just not very good.” SEO is an undertaking that requires in-depth research and implementation to work successfully. The tools that come with a site provider are not going to do that, nor have they proven any benefit on sites. For that reason, you should hire a third-party agency to handle your SEO, one that will show you what they have done each month, explain why, and deep dive into wins and losses on your site with you. You should not trust just anyone with your website, so finding a solid, reputable SEO partner is essential.
How to Rank Well on Google
SEO Climb with Dave Estey Episode 3 was the last to air in October and explained how to rank well on Google. As you probably know by now, this is not an easy undertaking. In fact, there are hundreds of factors that go into whether or not you will rank, or rank well, on Google (which does not always want to give away the recipe to success). As mentioned earlier, one of the most important actions you can take to rank well on Google is to write quality content that answers questions that people are asking. Google is a search engine designed to answer questions for users, so by offering the best, clearest response, you are increasing your chances of being the answer Google displays first.
Now, quality, useful content is about 80% of how you can rank well on Google. Almost everyone has content on their site, so what’s left in that other 20% is crucial. These factors are things like quick page loading and good core web vitals, which make for a great user experience. Included in a good user experience is mobile friendliness, as well. Due to the rising usage of smartphone and tablets, it is important for your website to load properly on both computers and mobile devices –– this is a ranking factor. Even beyond user experience, there are essential factors in this 20% that allow you to rank better.
Having an optimized sitemap will allow Google crawlers to understand your website, find all of the pages, and learn the connections between each. Said crawlers can then take all of this information and index it properly, ranking it somewhere on the SERP for related search terms. You will also need a linking structure sitewide that brings all of your pages together, showing their relationships with one another, which is not only useful to these crawlers but also to human users as they go through their research journey and are looking for more information. This, in turn, will keep these users on your site longer, making conversions more likely to occur.
How do you rank well on Google? Unfortunately, it is not simple. Quality content, quick loading, core web vitals, sitemaps, linking structure, and hundreds of other factors impact how your site ranks on the SERP for various queries. Luckily, though, there are highly knowledgeable professionals out there that can help you optimize your website for search engines. So for you, the answer actually might be simple: contact us at Wikimotive, and we will get your website on track.
Stay Tuned – More SEO Climb Coming Soon
SEO is a lot to understand, but that is why we are here to help you learn more about it with our blog posts and weekly SEO Climb videos. Stay tuned for more content, with videos being released on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube every Tuesday.
We look forward to teaching you more about how SEO can bring your dealership more online success.