Mission-driven businesses have a built-in SEO advantage because they are worth talking about. Modern SEO is more human-centered, and less about gaming algorithms. In this post I’ll cover why SEO is important, and how to use it to your advantage in an ethical way.
What is SEO & why is it important?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a marketing tactic that involves optimizing your website so it can be found more easily in Google and other search engines. Capturing traffic from search engines is a great way to get in front of more new people and expand your audience. It’s also “free” in that you don’t have to pay Google directly to be found in their search engine.
Isn’t SEO super-technical and possibly unethical?
SEO has a reputation for being highly technical, scammy, and borderline unethical. As with anything, this can be true, but it doesn’t have to be that way. SEO can be done in an ethical, audience-focused manner. When you focus more on serving your audience, and not gaming the system, SEO can be a legitimate tactic for gaining more visibility.
The good news is, a more human-centered approach is the more effective way to implement SEO as well. Google has made a great effort over the past several years to reward content that is relevant and helpful to people. The spammy tricks of the early years of SEO no longer work.
How does SEO work?
In its most basic sense, SEO can be broken down into 2 categories: on-page and off-page. Google has a complex algorithm that takes both of these into account when ranking your website. Other factors that are personalized to the individual user also accounted for.
On-page SEO consists of everything on your website. This includes how your site is structured, your content, the code you use, images, loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and more. There are many technical details that go into this, but the most important factor is whether your content is relevant and easy to browse for the user.
Off-page SEO looks at how everything else on the web relates to your website. For example, how many other websites are linking to your website? Is your website mentioned often on social media? Google ranks websites higher if it sees that other websites are linking to it and mentioning it across the web. You can think of this as a popularity contest.
How can I use SEO to my advantage in an ethical way?
If you put your focus and energy into giving your website visitors the best experience possible, you’ll naturally improve your SEO. Here are a couple of tangible ways to do that.
1. Tell more stories. Share your own stories about your business, your mission, the communities or environments you impact, etc. Also share stories about your customers and/or beneficiaries. People love to share stories that they can connect to, and this will help your off-page SEO, as mentioned above. Stories also provide valuable content that improve your on-page SEO, too.
2. Improve your user experience. Take a critical look at how your website works. Is it easy to navigate? Does it work on a cell phone? Does it load quickly? How difficult is it for people with visual impairments to use? Search engines want to rank websites that have the best user experience possible.
These examples will also help you in non-SEO ways. They help you build trust with your audience, strengthen your brand, and boost your overall visibility.
What’s the next step?
Start brainstorming stories you can share through your website, and ways you can improve your user experience. Create a plan to implement these tactics, and schedule it so you don’t forget. SEO is an ongoing process that continues to build on itself over time.
To learn more about creating a digital marketing plan, check out my free strategy guide:
Bigger Vision Marketing
* Please note, this post contains affiliate links. This means I earn a commission if you decide to purchase a recommended product. This doesn’t increase the cost for you at all. I only recommend products I have used or have a strong reputation for quality.
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