SEO is an acronym for “Search Engine Optimizing” and is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit. Just about every business owner we meet has some idea as to what SEO is and some have even tried their hand on their own websites. We haven’t met many who were successful at optimizing their own sites but it does make for great conversation when we meet the ambitious owners who give it a shot. They usually tell us it’s not hard to do but very hard to get a result. We agree.
So what is search engine optimization? What does it do? Why do you need it?
SEO is simply the process of making a website or webpage more visible to the searcher in the unpaid or organic search results. Google, Bing and Yahoo are used for more than 90% of all searches and in order to get more people to use them, they’re goal is to provide the best result to the searcher. If the searcher likes the result provided by the search engine they will keep using that same search engine over and over again. Google accounts for about 67% of all searches on the web. This would indicate that the market has determined that google is providing the best results for the user.
How does a search engine determine the best result for the searcher? In other words, how does a search engine determine who ends up first? There are quite a few variables involved so let’s cover the most important factors.
- Content – What is written on your pages? Does the words on your site match the words used by people who are searching? Google looks for text that matches keyword searches by the end user. Careful not to over stuff those keywords.
- Self-Promotion – Google does not promote those who do not promote themselves. You will need to actively create new content each month. This content needs to be in relation to your goods and services. Blogs, news, events and press releases are great ways to do this.
- Inbound Links – Do other websites link to your site and are they about similar topics that your site it about? If other like sites point back to you search engines pick up on this friendly hint.
- Metadata – The back end of your site has data that indicates what is most important to each page on your site. This area is not always seen but has a lot to do with where your site ranks on search engines.
- Social Media – This really falls under self-promotion but is also counted by search engines and is becoming more and more important as time goes on.
- Images – Search engines can’t quite read the meaning of a picture yet but we can help by adding alternative text that tells the search engines what the picture represents.
As you can see there is quite a bit involved in SEO. The other item we did not mention consistency. Just because you start a good SEO strategy does not mean you will see results anytime soon. On average it takes about 6 months for your efforts to begin to pay off. It’s almost like trying to establish good credit. SEO takes a lot of time but you will be glad you put forth the effort. More people will be visiting your website and hopefully more will be calling, filling out a quote request or buying something from your site.
That leads to another topic… Design! What good is great SEO if your site doesn’t convert that traffic into a customer?? We can save that discussion for another day.
If you would like to learn more about SEO or get a free evaluation of your site give us a call at 651-321-0579 or request a quote.