3CX Start-up Kit

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

One thing you can be certain of is the constant change in search engine algorithms. Now with artificial intelligence, and machine learning, changes are coming fast and furious.

At 3CX Digital, every project and website begins with an understanding of the customer so that we can put ourselves in their shoes when it comes to where they search and how they search for products and services. Once we know who our customer is, we begin building an SEO foundation that has been proven to get results and list customers on the elusive first page of a search engine, namely Google, YouTube, Bing, and Yahoo.

Keyword Research

Everyone has heard this, but it is so important and essential. Think like your customer, or even ask them what keywords or keyword phrases they would use to find you online. For example, for 3CX Digital some of our customers are start-up businesses and we know they will use “How To” or “What is” keywords like this:

  • How do I get more leads?
  • How do I get more website traffic?
  • What is SEO?

Make a list of at least 10 keywords and phrases you think your potential customers will use to find your product or service and then enter each one into a search engine and see which companies show up. See how they’ve titled or phrased their links and how they’ve written their descriptions.  Also, look for the section called “People also ask” for more ideas and keywords you can add to your list.

Screenshot of Google's 'People Also Ask Section for Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research

Additionally, at the top of the search results page, you will see various categories for search results.

Screenshot of Google Search Categories for Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Research

Click through the categories like “videos” to see how other companies are using the keyword phrases for different types of content. Rinse and repeat until you have a healthy list of diverse keywords and phrases. The more content you have on a particular topic or keyword, the better chances you have in ranking above your competition and being viewed as an “authority” on the subject.

TIP: DO NOT USE YOUR COMPANY NAME AS A KEYWORD SUCCESS METRIC – Every company should rank well for its own company name unless it’s too similar to another. Either way, it’s not a useful metric because people who don’t know you won’t know to use your name in a search, and the ones that do…well…you don’t need to help them find you.

Write Useful Content

Now that you have a healthy list of keywords, it’s time to write content around them. When writing your content, remember that people tune out from marketing messages that are fluff and are looking for answers and solutions to problems so make sure your content is USEFUL. In fact, Google, in August of 2022 announced an update to its algorithm that now determines if the content on a website is useful and will rank sites accordingly. Here is what creators should know about Google’s August 2022 helpful content update.

Educate Rather Than Sell

I believe that an educated customer is a repeat customer. By sharing your knowledge, customers will begin to trust that you are interested in their success and not just in selling your next widget. The average consumer is exposed to an average of 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day. That’s more than double what we saw in 2007. Differentiate your brand by educating and being helpful. 

TIP: Useful and helpful content also gets shared and linked back to more often than sales content, unless there is a compelling offer or significant discount associated with the content.

Meta Data, URLs, and Headers

When creating your content, your page should have a focus topic (keyword or keyword phrase) that is used in the URL, Meta Data fields such as Title, Description, image ALT tags, and your H1 header tag. Meta Data is extra content (mostly invisible to people) that search engines use to determine what a web page or image is about so it can INDEX (store and catalogue in its database) the page for future retrieval when your potential customers conduct a keyword search.

  1. Title Tag – The TITLE tag is what shows up in the search results as a link and in the browser tab. There is a character limit between 60 and 80 so be very frugal with filler words like “and” “of” etc.
    Screenshot of a Search Result highlighting the Title Tag
  2. Description Tag – The description tag is a brief snippet that is used to further describe what someone will see if they click on the search results link. Again there is a limit to the number of characters you can use 150 to 160 – always aim to be under the limit.
  3. H1 Header – The use of headers helps the reader quickly skim and find the information they’re looking for. The H1 tag tells search engines what the main topic is and should match the Meta Title.
  4. URL – Having a URL that is short and keyword rich helps Google’s algorithm and the user alike as it provides consistency and ease of sharing. URLs don’t need to read like English so strip out any unnecessary filler words to easily sharable links.
  5. Image ALT Tag – the image ALT tag gained prominence and importance through the WCAG accessibility guidelines to help people with visual impairments have a better online experience. However, ALT differs from other metadata in that it is used to improve the experience which in turn improves SEO. ALT tags should describe the image and not be filled with just keywords – that’s spamming and search engines will penalize you for it.

Other “Search Engines”

People conduct searches online in many places so be sure to consider each channel your potential customer may hand out or search for solutions and information about your industry, product or service. Here are some examples:

  • YouTube – it is now the second-largest search engine
  • Social Media – there are hundreds of them all around the globe and used for different reasons, find the ones that make sense for you – always link back to your website
  • PodCasts – sites like Spotify, Audible, and others are places people tune into regularly
  • Amazon – the most searched website for products and those ready to buy online
  • Your own website – if you have a website, be sure to have a search option, especially if you have a lot of content

Making it easy for your customers to find the most relevant information and solutions is the name of the game when it comes to search engine optimization. There are many other aspects to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but if you get these right, you’ll be off to an amazing start.

Let us know if you need help or have any additional questions.

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