If you have a website, you expect customers to check it out, right? You may even hope that customers find you on the net and then spend their money with you, yeah? If you nodded to one or both of these questions, you need to pay attention to SEO for your business. No matter how mystical SEO might seem, it’s important. And trust me, it’s not mystical at all. SEO tasks aren’t hard but they do matter for your bottom line.

SEO is, in a nutshell, search engine optimisation. Which for many people still leaves them wondering what it is. So, to begin with, let’s break it down…

What SEO actually is

Search engine optimisation is the process of getting your content to match customer search queries. You don’t want to match every search query and you don’t even want to match every search query related to your industry. You do, however, want to match your content to your customer’s and potential customers’ queries.

If you flip that around, search actually becomes listen. Or at least, it’s one of the SEO tasks that starts with listening. Because if you don’t listen, you don’t know what your customers (and potential customers) are asking and saying. If you don’t know that, you can’t match it.

After listening, you’ll understand the search part of SEO and be able to identify your best keywords. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to move on to the second letter of this acronym – engine.

Most people seem to think Google (or sometimes Bing, maybe Baidu if you’re in China) is the only relevant search engine. But they’re wrong. There is also YouTube – the second most used search engine – and there’s social media too. Each of these is an avenue that gets wandered down each day. People use them to look for all sorts of things, products, reviews, entertainment, advice and tutorials on how to do stuff.

After figuring out the engines that are most relevant to your audience and your content, it’s time to get busy optimising. All that means is getting found. Because what’s the point of a website, blog or online store if no one can find it?

It’s best to think of SEO like this…

S – listening and identifying search terms

E – engines where your ‘everybody’ hangs out

O – putting S and E together to get found.

Why SEO tasks matter to your business

When your website is easy to find, it imparts a level of credibility to your business. This almost unconscious acceptance works in your favour as visitors cruise your website learning about your business. It sets you up as knowledgeable and credible in your niche.

Another reason it’s worth paying attention to your SEO tasks is that the more visitors you get, the higher ranking you’ll achieve. Other sites might begin linking to your content and this gives you more credibility in the eyes of searchers and search engines too. This creates a growing SEO snowball of goodness.

It’s also a reasonably cost-effective way you can drive traffic to your site. Once you have the foundations laid properly, you can keep chipping away at it and improving your results. SEO can become a permanent loop of improvement and customer generation.

Finally, SEO is something you can control. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand it. You don’t need to spend evenings and weekends studying it either. It’s a fairly simple system of checks and balances aimed at helping Google identify your website as a source of quality and relevant information for searchers. As one marketing client told me “If you can work a calculator, you can figure out SEO.” She was right, and I love the analogy.

Three SEO tasks to do today

There are loads of different elements to building your website SEO, some technical, some not so. It’s not a big mystery though, the idea is to make things as easy as possible for search engines to evaluate the quality and credibility of your content. That way, they can decide if they should serve it up in answer to searcher queries.

You can, and should, tick all of the boxes to stand out with SEO. Here are three tasks to get moving with today:

Check your links

Links are an important element of SEO. You should check the links you have on your site and fix any broken ones. This doesn’t have to be a tedious job of going through your website page by page, clicking each link. Although you can do that if you want.

An easy way to do this is to log in to your Google Analytics and check the site content. Wordstream has an easy step-by-step guide that shows you how to quickly find the broken links. Once you know that, it’s time to remove or replace them.

While you’re at it, monitor your backlinks. Backlinks can build your website’s credibility. But sometimes they detract from your reputation. Spammy sites or irrelevant websites linking to your content can harm your search ranking.

Disavowing links that harm your ranking can help. Check out your Google Console homepage for the legacy tools and reports menu item. Select that, click “links” and voila! You’ll be able to see the sites Google recognises linking to your website.

Research your keywords – and your competitor’s

If you’ve been in business for a while, I’m going to assume you listen to your customers. The kinds of things they ask you are going to help you with your keywords. But other free tools on the net will also help. Answer the Public is a great one and will help you understand the kinds of things your customers are asking.

Moz is also pretty nifty, you can tap in your product or industry name and it’ll give you a bunch of related words for that. You can also type in your competitor’s website and find out the words they’re ranking for. As far as SEO tasks go, checking your keywords is pretty important.

Make a list of the words and queries you find that are relevant to you. According to Neil Patel, average keywords get a little shy of 1,000 searches per month. Words that have higher than average search rates also have more competition – other sites are trying to rank with them too. Try to get a mix of medium to high ranking keywords that make sense for your business. You’ll need to create content around these if you don’t already have it.

Find popular content

Finding articles that are relevant to your industry and are ranking well is a great way to generate your own ideas and build a content calendar to keep your site fresh over the coming months. The idea here is to get those samples of well-shared and high-ranking content and then write stuff that’s even better.

You can either leave the writing for another day or get a content writer to craft blogs for you. As a quick SEO task, creating a list of popular content is a good start to feeding an ongoing SEO process for your website. Use a site like Buzzsumo, tap in your keywords and see what comes up. Note the topics and relevant links and add them to your content calendar.

SEO isn’t hard, but it’s not a “one job and you’re done” kinda situation either. It’s something to continually chip away at. Building your credibility, your presence and your bottom line with each little brick in the SEO wall. If you need a hand with your SEO tasks, why not ask for some help?