What REALLY Matters for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

I do a lot of SEO consulting for clients. Clients want to know: how to optimize their websites for Google, how to drive more organic traffic to their sites, and what keywords they should focus on for optimization.

At Matrix Group, we spend a lot of time on the mechanics of our client sites so that search engines can easily find them and index content.

But here’s the single, most important question I ask clients to ask themselves when developing their content and SEO strategy:

What are people typing into Google where YOU and YOUR SITE are the answer?

Because most people want to go direct to content AND because Google is so darn effective, a huge chunk of your members, customers and potential customers simply type a natural language query into Google. They will type questions like:

When is the ABC conference?
What do I need to do to become a ….?
What is the best training for (fill in the blank) professionals?
How many credits do I need to become a ….?
How much does it cost to…?

If you don’t know what your members and customers are typing into Google, find out by:

  • Looking at the incoming organic search terms driving traffic to your site. Most of this information is blocked by Google, but it’s worth looking to see what’s available in your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Looking at the search terms and phrases people type on your site search. If you aren’t logging this, start now and look at the report monthly.
  • Asking your customers what they typed into Google recently where they either expected to find a link on your site or expected a resource related to your profession or industry.
  • Going to https://trends.google.com and researching the top queries related to your business.

Once you have a collection of these valuable search queries, make sure you have content (and lots of it) that matches those queries. Heck, you should be writing blog posts, news items and FAQs that perfectly match your most important queries.

Yes, your website should also be mobile-friendly, be well structured, have clean CSS, have permalinks, have alt tags, yada, yada. But all of these technical requirements mean nothing if you don’t have the content your target audiences are looking for. Give it to them and make it easy for Google to match your content with your customers.