How to Get to the Top of Google Search Results (SEO)
What you should know about SEO in Alaska
The really great news about getting your Alaskan business to the top of search results is that search engine optimization (SEO) is still a new concept in Alaska. Many businesses are only beginning to adopt SEO into their internet marketing plan.
I can speak from professional experience with clients and quite a bit of research – which is another way of saying “trolling countless Alaskan lodge websites” – that most Alaskan lodges clearly have not yet adopted SEO for an effective online marketing plan.
Wondering how you're business is doing on SEO practices? This is a pretty neat and free grader:
Or just take check out “Alaskan lodges” on Google. The first few results have:
- Clear keywords
- Very well developed web pages
- Professional media content
- Active and multiple social media accounts
Beyond the first three or four results, you will notice a dramatic drop in the above 4 bullet points, among other things. The difference? Internet marketing plans designed with increasing search rankings in mind. But this is great news because it clearly shows that
SEO competition in Alaska is low
If that’s the case, why don’t more Alaskan businesses and Alaskan lodges focus on doing things like the search engine result leaders? If you yourself are an Alaskan business owner, you probably already know the answer to the following question:
You need a lot of time
Yes. That’s the really bad news. Believe me, doing all of the things that Google says we should do online takes a lot of time and a lot of energy.
Optimizing images and tags and headers. Creating and incorporating keywords. Writing blogs. Indexing pages. Thinking about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and posting. Updating your Alaska website. Taking pictures. Driving traffic.
These things and so, so, so much more. It’s a headache. And the basic fact is most businesses simply don’t have the time or energy to do it because, you know, because they are busy running their businesses.
But I can say, as a business owner myself and through experience with clients, that anymore running your business effectively means paying a lot of attention to the internet.
It has and does and will make a huge difference.
You need to develop an internet marketing plan
At this point, business owners usually ask, “Why do I need an internet marketing plan?” Here are the important things to understand about online marketing:
You simply cannot be effective online without a specific plan.
- When I was much younger, I used to think that I simply took great pictures, wrote great content, created cool websites, and so on, that people would flock to my sites.
- It was incredibly wishful thinking.
- And it was hard lesson.
I can confidently say that behind 99.9% of all awesome and successful online presences (blogs, businesses, etc.) was a very targeted internet marketing plan based on a truckload of research. Why don’t more business have a plan to market their great business online? Same as above – lack of time. Lack of knowledge. Fortunately, there are many resources online for developing simple marketing strategies.
You need a blog
Okay I admit my bias here. In addition to being a developer, I’m a writer. But I don’t say you need a blog simply because I enjoy blogging.
It’s pretty logical:
- Blogs index pages and answer questions
- More indexed pages means more website traffic
- More answered questions means more backlinks (links to your site from other sites)
- More backlinks and more traffic dramatically increases you search ranking
Of course, this logic – which is tested and proven – assumed that your blogs are thoughtful, use keywords, and have a target audience. So no, you can’t just throw up 500 words and expect changes. Blogs are written with great purpose. Yes, this one included.
You need stellar pictures and videos
And if you can’t produce them yourself, the going rate for photography is fairly low. Great pictures are an obvious one. Professional photos, artistic, specific, and high quality are definitely the way to go. Check out the photo guide for great info about how you can do it yourself. Yes, a DIY Alaskan photography guide.
I realise this sounds bad, but its undeniably true: creating interesting content is all about emotional marketing.
When you present high quality images, you evoke emotion in people, and that is POWERFUL. Equally if not more importantly, have video. Especially for Alaskan lodges or adventure outfits video is absolutely essential. When websites have videos, visitors:
You need traffic for your Alaska website
If you want to be high on search engines, people have to visit your site. How do you drive traffic to your website? Well the obvious thing is to have a website worth visiting. I talk about this enough that you can check out other articles for more info.
Moreover, you need to provide a great service. You know, your customers tell their friends who visit your website, and so on. But that’s beyond what I’m talking about here. So I’ll be brief here and leave you with a simple tip: what you really need is contact information. Email is tremendously effective for acquiring customers and driving web traffic.
For example, when compared to popular social media sites. The point of this graphic is that if you put the same content in a social media post or an email, email will drive traffic much better.
You need active social media accounts
The final killer. I sympathize with many of you. I don’t use social media for personal uses. I study behavior on it.
I research how it can help/hurt businesses. But being active on social media requires thinking about it a lot, having different social media platform strategies, and constantly busying yourself with creating the *right* content. And active social media accounts do three wonderful things for businesses:
- Drive traffic to website
- Appear as their own listing on search results.
- Social proof that a business is great and involved
With decreasing reach for the major social media platforms, say goodbye to attracting customers through social media – I would bet my life savings that above three points will be the major uses for social media from here on out.