While SEO has become one of the most talked-about marketing tools in the world, it hasn’t caught on as much as you’d think. Believe it or not, more than half of businesses in the US don’t use SEO at all.
Luckily, that means there’s less competition standing in your way from building organic traffic to your website, improving your conversion rates, and so much more. You just have to know how to do it. Let’s talk about the best Boise SEO strategies to implement for long-term success in SEO marketing!
What Is SEO?
While the term “search engine optimization” may seem confusing at first glance, think about the words being used. You probably already know what search engines are (Google, Bing, etc.), so SEO is simply trying to optimize website content for those search engines. It’s as simple as that.
Different websites will try to use different keywords on their website, boost their website quality, and build authority with these search engines so that they will rank higher on certain searches. This is arguably the best way to build organic traffic, which is the traffic that you don’t have to prompt. Organic traffic finds you, not the other way around, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Before we go further, let’s briefly define a few terms that we’re going to use throughout this page. Here are a few important ones to understand for SEO:
- SERPs: Search engine results pages
- SEM: Search engine marketing
- KPIs: Key performance indicators (important metrics)
- Keywords: Words Google uses to match content with users based on their searches
- UX: User experience
- UI: User interface (website visuals)
Don’t worry, it isn’t as complicated as it seems, and you’ll develop a greater understanding as you read through this.
How Does SEO Work?
Search engine optimization, at a foundational level, works by search engines crawling through your website and indexing its content. If the content lives up to their quality standards and utilizes the right keywords, then they will match you with relevant users later on.
For example, if your company sells bicycles and you have a website for it, you may have keywords all over the website that say “bicycles for sale”, “used bicycles in Boise”, or “best mountain bikes”. Then, when people search for these keywords, they may be directed to your website, assuming that your website is optimized to rank for these searches.
To optimize your website, you need to have a decent website quality with a strong UX, the site needs to be friendly to different devices (especially mobile devices), and you need to have a clean navigation system. There’s a lot more to it than that, but that’s a good start. Google offers a valuable service to its users, and it would reflect poorly on that service if they were always promoting low-quality sites.
However, you don’t have to be faster than the bear. You only need to be faster than the person running next to you. What we mean is that your website does not have to reach 100% optimization levels for search engines, it just needs to be better than your competitors that are trying to rank for the same keywords.
Also, Google does this for free since it’s their job. If you’re wondering why that’s important, it’s because, unlike paid ads, there’s no need for ongoing expenses. Once you start ranking toward the top on a high traffic search, you could see benefits for years to come.
Benefits of SEO
When was the last time you clicked on the second page of Google? We’ve all done it once or twice, but can you honestly say that you’ve done it more than 1% of the times you’ve searched on the platform? Chances are, you’ve probably searched thousands upon thousands of times and possibly never clicked on another page.
Well, if users don’t click on other pages, and if your website isn’t on the first page, how will users find you? That brings us to our first point!
1. Organic Traffic Is Better
Driving traffic from Google or other organic means is simply superior to paid ads. As we mentioned, there’s little need for ongoing expenses in SEO, so you can continue earning from them indefinitely. Ranking at the top of a quality search is enough to keep a business afloat by itself for years.
Also, people simply trust organic results far more. You may have clicked on a search ad a few times, but you probably make a habit of skipping over them like most of us do, as we typically trust the organic results more. For businesses, this leads to much higher conversion rates, brand recognition, positive associations, and repeat business.
One of the greatest benefits of SEO is that you don’t have to keep pouring money into the campaign to scale it, you just have to diversify your keywords. If you’re ranking for more than one search, you expand your reach exponentially.
3. Digital Marketing Integration
SEO can easily integrate with existing digital marketing strategies, creating a mutually-beneficial relationship with social media, email, and ad campaigns. With the right planning, your Google Ads and SEO campaigns can make an SEM funnel to your website.
4. Long-Lasting Results
You don’t need to pay per click, you just need to draw in traffic organically. That means there is no cap to how long you can benefit from a successful post or page, meaning that if one of them sticks, you’ll see results for a long time to come without spending an extra dime.
Local SEO Principles
If you rely primarily on Boise customers for business, then you’ll need to follow local SEO principles, which are different from national or international SEO principles.
For example, local florists in Idaho may have very different SEO strategies from an eCommerce store trying to compete with Amazon. Some principles will remain the same, but here are the basics for competing at the local level.
We’ll talk more about website optimization momentarily, but it’s one of the key pillars of an SEO strategy. The UX/UI of your website will make a major difference in how your website ranks on search engines. Google uses over 200 ranking factors regarding the quality of your website, so don’t overlook this foundational pillar.
Finding the right keywords is critical, and it’s even more critical to use a wide variety. For example, a small car dealership isn’t going to rank on the first page for “used car” because the competition is just too intense. However, they could feasibly rank for “used Toyota Avalon in Boise, Idaho” which has much less competition but is still highly relevant to their niche.
“Used car” is an example of a short-tail keyword, which tends to have high search volume and high competition. The latter example is a long-tail keyword, which typically has low search volume but less competition, which makes them easier to rank for. Using as much diversity with these as possible is always the SEO best practice.
Throughout your content marketing strategy, using these keywords will help you rank for these searches, but they have to be organic. Google will penalize “keyword stuffing”, so don’t try to outsmart the algorithm.
Yes, SEO even uses factors off of your website. Google’s algorithm is powerful, but it isn’t all-knowing, so they can’t fact-check everything and know who is telling the truth. For that reason, they rely on outside factors to determine authority or credibility.
In most cases, this comes down to backlinks, which are the links from other sites to yours. In the early days of your SEO strategy, you won’t have to worry about this. If you’re in a niche industry with little competition in Boise, then you probably won’t have to worry about them at all.
However, to get ahead of the competition and stay there, building authority in your niche can help you get to the top. Of course, you don’t control other websites, so the best things you can do are reach out to affiliates and build high-quality content that other sites will want to link to.
Other than that, getting listed on local directories, links from social media, and more will help establish your online presence in the eyes of Google. Unfortunately, they won’t help you build authority, but they are still important.
Boise SEO Success Guide
Now that you know some of the SEO best practices, it’s time to learn how to use them. Let’s talk about putting these SEO principles into practice for the best results.
1. Optimize Your Website
Believe it or not, 28% of businesses still don’t have a website, let alone an SEO strategy. Without a website, you’re not even competing for digital traffic, as your website acts as the de facto center of your entire marketing strategy. This is most apparent in your SEO efforts.
By optimizing your website, you lay the foundation for your entire SEO strategy. Without an optimized website, you’re building a house on a broken foundation, which means your strategy may never take off. No website is perfect, but you have to build a website that’s optimized for:
- Mobile-friendly design
- Fast loading times
- Clean navigation
- Quality linking structure
- Clear page structure
- Navigable XML sitemap
Remember, most users spend the majority of their online time on sites run by tech giants like social media platforms, YouTube, or Amazon. While a local business can’t compete with them, they do have to acknowledge that those websites set certain standards for the internet.
Don’t let the “XML sitemap” discourage you if you don’t know what that means. This is just the overview of your entire website, which should have a clear hierarchy starting with the homepage and trailing down to lesser pages. It’s much easier for Google to index your site this way.
If you have no idea about your current website optimization, you can always use an audit tool to get an idea of where you stand.
2. Start a Blog
There are many forms of content marketing to choose from, including video, audio, and more. However, the easiest one to start, the easiest for Google to index, and the one most users will seek is written content. You already know your industry like the back of your hand, so if you know how to write, then you can write about thousands of relevant topics.
A blog is so important because it will provide so many opportunities to rank for relevant searches. Without a blog, you may only have a few pages on your site with very little chance of being found organically. With a blog, you can offer many more topics to potential users, such as:
- “Buying flowers in Boise”
- “How to keep your flowers for longer”
- “Where are the best flower shops in Boise”
- “Which flowers are best for which season?”
Of course, these are only a few potential topics that a local florist may use. Once you have engaged users on your site, you can try to convert them into customers with a strong call-to-action or CTA. Something like “Stay up to date with our reviews of various Boise destinations and check out our shop for our latest lodging deals!”
Always remember that you’re writing for users, not for Google. This is one of the most common SEO marketing mistakes that beginners make, as they focus too much on search engines that they forget who they’re trying to appeal to. Always try to promote engaging content for users to enjoy and learn something from, and avoid using fluff or filler at any cost.
3. Find the Right Keywords
If you want to get ahead on the SERPs, you will have to find the right keywords that people are using. You can use one of the hundreds of online keyword research tools to do this but start by brainstorming. If you were a user, what would you search for that would bring you to a site in your niche?
Once you have a shortlist of ideas, run them through a keyword explorer and find as many quality keywords as you can. Ideally, try to find ones with low competition and high search volume, which aren’t always easy to find. Once you have a list, compare some of them in Google Trends for a better idea of how many people are searching for these terms.
4. Build Off-Page SEO
The first thing you want to do is build a business profile on Google My Business and Yelp, linking back to your website on both. Fill out every prompt they request and make sure it remains consistent with your website content to avoid confusion. Addresses, contact info, and hours of operation need to stay the same across the internet.
From there, link to your website on all of your social media platforms, and remember to share your new blog content as you create it. These links won’t help with authority, but they are easy ways to generate traffic and get recognized by search engines.
Next, try reaching out to affiliates for links and offer to return the favor. For local businesses, a link from others in Boise will offer more authority than a local business elsewhere, so start with affiliates in town.
After that, focus on building quality content that answers users’ questions. Over time, especially if you remain visible on social media and directories, other businesses will catch on. Feel free to reach out and offer them “guest posts” that link back to your site, which some businesses are happy to run for free!
5. Get on Google Maps
For a local business, a listing on Google Maps is critical. When someone gets off a train in a new city and looks up “pizza shops near me”, Google wants to bring them to the nearest pizza shop, but they can’t if they don’t know where it is. This could be the cause of a lot of missed business opportunities.
Like listings on directories, a listing on Google Maps (and others) will also confirm to Google that you are who you say you are and that your location is accurate on various platforms.
6. Track Your Campaign
Monitoring your KPIs throughout your campaign is non-negotiable. Otherwise, you’re competing with a blindfold on. Using Google Analytics or your favorite tool, track the performance of your campaign, especially when it comes to:
- Bounce rates
- Conversion rates
- User retention
- How users navigate through your site
- Where traffic comes from
- Where traffic is lost
The list goes on. This information will help you adapt your campaign over time and continue to make improvements when challenges arise.
7. Get Professional Help
Finally, you should consider getting professional help, especially in the early days of your SEO strategy. Once you build a strong foundation, it becomes a lot easier to rank highly on the SERPs. In today’s competitive market, there’s no substitute for professional SEO services.
Depending on the company, they may offer website audits, marketing integration, link-building content marketing, or more. You just need to find the right services for your needs.
Choosing the Right Boise SEO Services
We’ve discussed why search engine optimization is so important, the best SEO practices, and how to implement them. If you don’t have the time to carry out these long-term SEO strategies yourself, that’s okay. Let’s talk about how to find the right services for your needs.
Before considering a potential service, you need to know exactly what they offer. For example, if you need an entire website redesign, then you’ll need a company that can do that.
Also, SEO is one of the best digital marketing tools for its ability to integrate with your digital marketing strategy, so always look for SEO specialists that can help build upon your existing marketing strategy. If you’re working to build a unique brand identity, then find a team that specializes in branding services.
There are plenty of specializations you may need, so do your diligence and find a team that offers the services you’re looking for.
Reviews or Case Studies
Online reviews are a great way to judge a business’s standing with their previous clients, but only when they offer valuable information. We always recommend ignoring star ratings and reading reviews for more insight, as these reviews can be dubious without context.
If the company offers case studies, these are even better, as they’ll give you specialized insight into their clients’ website performance before and after their services. This is a great way to see the measurable effects of their services.
Of course, you get what you pay for with SEO, but you still want the services to reflect your realistic marketing budget. In most cases, small businesses should spend around 8% of their revenue on marketing, so try not to break the bank!
At the same time, unless you’re paying for content marketing, SEO is a one-and-done purchase with long-lasting effects. For this reason, going a little beyond your typical marketing budget at first can be justified, as the need for ongoing expenses diminishes greatly after building a strong foundation.
Stay Ahead of the Game
Now that you know the basics of Boise SEO ranking, you can start getting ahead of the competition and staying there. Once you get the ball rolling, it’s a lot easier than you think to stay ahead, but remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, so get started today!
Stay up to date with our latest digital marketing news and feel free to contact us with any questions or for help with your SEO marketing strategy!