An acronym for “search engine optimization,” SEO comprises the tweaks, tricks, and adjustments one has to do to with digital content to make sure it becomes prominently visible online.
It’s such an ever-changing science that a cottage industry of SEO experts has emerged. Nicole McCullum launched Captivate Designs in 2007. Her company specializes in custom website design and SEO.
Previously employed as a personal injury negotiator and then in the real estate business, McCullum discovered a passion for marketing when building her own school to teach real estate courses.
“I went back to college and changed my major to marketing and the rest, as they say, is history. Nine years later, it is one of the best things that could have happened,” she says.
While being an entrepreneur has a lot of “highs” but “low times as well,” McCullum says the most fulfilling part of her business is knowing that her company is not just designing websites. “We are helping our clients fulfill their dreams.”
She offers five key tips for SEO:
- Start with keyword research first.
When optimizing your website, creating articles or blog posts, find out what people are searching for and build your content around that. This will help you increase traffic to your website and get in front of the right people. Google gives you all this data via the Google Keyword Planner tool, which is free.
- Optimize your meta description.
Your meta description is the two lines of text that shows up below your website address on the search engine result pages when someone enters a query. Meta description should be your sales pitch. It should give people a reason to click through to your website.
- Share your content.
Content that is shared via social media or is commented on, tends to see an increase in rankings. Social signals matter.
- Create long-form content.
In most cases, a 300-500 word article will almost always get outranked by a 1,500-word article. Focus on creating quality long-form content that provides real value rather than trying to put out a piece of content every day that is 300-500 words long. Quality over quantity wins every time.
- Create internal links.
Linking from one piece of content to another piece of content on your website is considered internal linking. Not only does it help boost engagement by getting users to check out your other content, but it also helps search engines crawl and index those other pages as well. The key is ensuring that you link to pages that are relevant to each other.