SEO or Search Engine Optimization is one of the most important activities that need to be done in 2022, yet it is the most undervalued activity in the Caribbean. Whenever SEO does come up, I am usually asked “How can SEO help grow your business in the Caribbean?” When I probe a little bit, I realize that there is a gross misunderstanding about what is and its importance.
Most business owners that actually do have a website will often say “Yea, our web developer did SEO on our site last year, so we are good.” That’s the most common answer I get and in that response, I know that 1) They don’t know what SEO is 2) They probably haven’t done anything SEO related, 3) Their web developer probably just said they did, knowing that they would never be called out on it.
So in this article, I want to break down the 3 key components of SEO so that you have an understanding as to what it is, why it’s super important, why it is a DAILY practice and not a one-time-only thing and answer the question of how can SEO help grow your business in the Caribbean.
The main thing you need for SEO is to have a website.
What is SEO or Search Engine Optimization you ask?
Well, SEO stands for “Search Engine Optimization,” which is the process of getting traffic from free, organic, editorial, or natural search results in search engines. It aims to improve your website’s position on search results pages.
One of the reasons why having your website and learning SEO can help grow your business in the Caribbean is the lack of websites that come from the Caribbean, there is very LOW competition.
In Trinidad and Tobago, there are 16,384 registered domains as of July 2022.
In Jamaica, there are 21,949 registered domains as of July 2022.
Now that’s just registered domains, that don’t depict how many of them are active websites or how many of them are businesses. Remember, people, practice domain arbitrage all the time, where they buy domain names to later sell them.
Here’s another key fact you need to know, there are 28,000 registered businesses in Trinidad and Tobago according to Legal Affairs. This means that not every business in Trinidad and Tobago has a website.
So if you are a small business, this is great news because having a website and learning more about SEO, can help you start to take away market share from other businesses in your niche, whether they are big or small.
Let’s break down the 3 components of SEO:
- On-Page SEO
- Off-Page SEO
- Technical SEO
What Is On-Page SEO?
It’s the practice of optimizing each page on your website to improve your ranking on the search engines and increase organic traffic.
It involves things like publishing daily high-quality content, optimizing your headlines, HTML tags (title, meta, and header), and images. Ensure it satisfies Google’s E-A-T ranking factor (Expertise, Authority, Trust).
Since all of the Search Engines have gotten into the content game, you would do well to remember this. The Search Engines want you to create high-quality content, to answer the relevant queries placed on their platforms.
That’s why learning SEO and learning how to do things like Keyword research is crucial to your success. This would allow you to see exactly what people are searching for in your industry, in your country, around specific topics and that will guide you on the type of content you need to create.
Google and the Search Engines reward you by putting your content on page 1 of their search results pages. Appearing on page 1 helps to boost trust with your audience, drive traffic to your website, generate leads and increase your sales.
What Is Off-Page SEO?
The actions that are taken outside of your website impact your rankings on the search engines.
This involves things like getting other websites to link back to your website, getting mentioned in the News, Media, Press, Social Media Shares and Mentions, podcasts, and Youtube channels.
Google uses all of these factors as signals to help improve the ranking of your site. One thing I encourage everybody to do is to jump on Google Alerts and set up alerts for their name, their brand name and anything you want to keep track of in your industry. Google will send you an email anytime your brand was mentioned on any platforms, media, news, etc and send you the links to go check it out.
Again, Google is tracking that to help rank your platforms and it’s also a great way for you to keep a pulse check on what is happening with your brand.
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to improving the technical aspects of a website to increase the ranking of its pages in the search engines. Making a website faster, easier to crawl and understandable for search engines are the pillars of technical optimization.
This involves things page speed page rendering, Indexability, broken links, how your website is built, Website Security SSL, Structured Data, XML Sitemaps & More.
Having a well-built website that doesn’t take long to load, renders properly, and is secured with an SSL certificate all have immediate benefits. Not having these things will just discourage your audience from viewing your website, losing potential sales and Google also is ranking your website based on the technical side of things and will bump your website to page 3 or higher in the Search Results.
If you arent showing up on Page 1, max 2 on the Search Results pages, your competitors are and ultimately they will take bigger pieces of the market share, leads and sales.
You have heard that SEO is a long-term game and that may have been true years ago. However, Google has evolved and now SEO is more robust than it ever was before to ensure people using the web have a great experience. That being said, SEO now has immediate effects.
Don’t have a technically sound website that loads fast or renders properly? People bounce.
Don’t have an SSL Certificate? People don’t buy.
Don’t create daily high-quality content on your website? Then people will not find you online to begin the sales journey.
Learning more about Search Engine Optimization can help you learn more about your audiences pain points, desires and give you the info you need to solve their problems with content, craft the right solutions or deliver the right products.
It will also ensure you are doing the necessary offline activities to build brand awareness and authority so that people learn about your brand and begin to trust your brand.
Finally, SEO will hold you accountable for having a technically sound website so that you provide the best possible experience when people are browsing onto your site.
Doing all of these things DAILY will help your business grow in a big way and expand your digital footprint.