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Here’s How To Improve Your Organic SEO Results Before Paying A Dime

And how to make sure you’re not annoying Google (and dropping down the search rankings).

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IF YOU’VE BEEN spending money on Google AdWords, paid social ads, and banners, and you’re not seeing evidence that your advertising dollars are paying off, you’re not alone. We’ll look at several reasons for this over the next few months. But for today, let’s talk about why you should focus on optimizing your website for on-page SEO results before investing in paid traffic.

On-page SEO, also known as organic SEO, is about optimizing your website – and every individual page within your website – to earn more relevant traffic from search engines. This means optimizing both your content and source code. Why does this matter? Think about the question of search from Google’s perspective (Google is responsible for upwards of 85% of all searches, so they drive the SEO conversation). Google wants to be the world’s most popular search engine, because that delivers higher ad revenue. So Google makes link recommendations based on what makes their search users happy.

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And what is that? Searcher users want to get to the answers they seek the fastest. Let’s look at what not to do as an example. Back in the good old days when most jewelers competed for a single search term (diamonds), it was common to hide Marilyn Monroe in the meta data of their website. After all, people were likely to search for that name, and she did sing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” right?

But when a search user looks up the name Marilyn Monroe, it’s unlikely they’re searching for diamonds. So what happens when they click the link to a jeweler’s website and don’t find what they are looking for? They instantly hit the back-button and return to their original search. Google clocks this activity (two seconds on page, immediate back-button) as a fail. And it remembers that your site failed one of its most important customer satisfaction tests. You just moved down the page.

Google also counts slow page load times, failure to reformat for every type and size of device, and broken links as fails. Your website must perform well on each of these parameters to merit Google’s top-of-the-page endorsement.

So why should you optimize on-page SEO before committing to paid promotions? Because it lays the groundwork for all your other promotional activity.

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You’re not selling $25 items that can be closed in one visit. Sure, that may happen occasionally, but most jewelry businesses cultivate both in-store and online customers over long periods of time and through a layered mesh of relationships. Today, that requires getting people to return to your site again and again as you build name (domain) awareness, trust, and memory.

Did you know that less than 2% of your social media following will see any given post? Or that less than 5% of website visitors will remember to return to your site without a future prompt? Based on those numbers, you will break the bank trying to re-entice and re-remind people about what you have to offer. But when you find them through search, particularly through lower competition keywords, you can get new visits every day from people interested in what you have to say and to sell.

People like to say organic search is free. It’s not. It takes time to write copy and post relevant content. But it’s definitely less costly than paid advertising, and the links you put out there can live on forever, attracting new visitors for years. The more relevant content you put out there, the more the search engines will trust your site, which you can capitalize on with every new article, product, and page you post.

If you’re worried about your ad spend, now is a good time to do a thorough assessment of your website’s performance. If you’re not up-to-par, consider stopping the ad spend and investing those dollars in your on-page SEO. Once your site is optimal, you’ll be able to spend less and get more out of your promotional budget.

Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at hill-management.com.

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