What is SEO and how does it work?
Updated: May 11
Seo stands for search engine optimization. This is the process of making search engines better at finding your website. In order to understand how SEO works you must first understand how search engines work. Popular search engines like Google and Bing use web bots to hunt down and catalog various websites. These aren’t actual robots, but algorithm codes that go from page to page and link to link, then bring their findings back to the search engine’s database. Most of these searches are focused around keywords. This means you should be creating content that matches keywords your customers would use to search for you.
How can I start improving my SEO ranking?
Improving your SEO ranking can be a full-time job all on its own. There are many ways to improve your ratings and it might look different for different companies. The way that Google ranks sites has also been known to change overtime. This can be extremely frustrating for businesses especially when your ratings drop after one major Google algorithm update. Be prepared to track your progress overtime and be willing to try different tactics to determine which works best for you. However, there are tasks you can do today that can assist you with your Google rankings.
Create a Google my business page.
There are a number of ways to help make your business website optimized for search engines. First, let’s make sure you have a business profile with Google. Chances are you already have a business profile, but if not it’s free to set up with Google. Here’s the link to the google business page: https://www.google.com/business/. Fill out every field. You might want to save all of the information you are using to populate your profile in a document you can easily access for later. This will help with your next step. Creating your Google my business page makes you more visible on google searches, but you will need to repeat this step with other online directories. This leads us to our next step you will want to take on your SEO improvement rankings.
What are citations and why do they matter?
Citations are online business directory listings. These sites provide a central online location for multiple businesses to be found by category. Examples of online listings include Yelp, Foursquare, yellow pages, and manta. The process of going to online business directories and populating your business information is called building citations. There are several free ones, but there are also paid listings that require a fee to get included in the list. You also want to ensure your listing is consistent from site to site. If your listings don’t match your website, then it could hurt your SEO strength. Duplicate listings or differences between listings can cause Google to think you are two different companies. Building citations are one of the easier tasks you can complete for improving your SEO rankings. The main cost associated with this piece is the time commitment to build these out.
One of the factors that Google uses in its algorithm to determine ranking is backlinks. A backlink is any website that links back to your own. Backlinks can be created in a number of ways including building citations, being a guest blogger on someone else’s site, sometimes these can be purchased, and sometimes these happen naturally based on your website content.
Once you have multiple business listings and your Google business profile set up, then you want to turn your attention to enhancing your website. This is commonly referred to as on-page SEO. clean up your meta descriptions on your images and pages. These descriptions help provide useful information to the search engine bots. Every image needs a meta description that will help the search engines.
Building backlinks and removing bad links.
Next, you want to build out your backlinks. Ranking on top of Google search has many factors. As we mentioned before one of these factors is how many other sites link to your website. Not only that, but what quality website is being used to link to you. Higher quality pages will help boost your website in the google rankings. Weaker pages linking to you might also hurt your ranking. You can use another free google webmaster tool called disavow to discredit the weaker links that are hurting your site. The disavow tool can be found here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main
Make a website that has useful and engaging content.
The last factor we will cover here is probably the greatest factor that goes into your google search ranking. Its also something you already have an active hand in doing. This piece is content. Its where the term content is king comes from. If you have great content, then you will get a higher Google ranking. Google actually factors in what it believes will be beneficial for its users. If you create a page or blog that has amazing content, then it will go a long way to boosting your rankings.
Try to create pages that are one-stop shops. If you are an expert in a given field, then share your expert advice. If Google can’t find other content that’s better than yours, it will boost your rankings to help its readers have a better experience. It’s better to make one super blog that talks about everything related to your field of service than multiple little blogs.
Keyword Research Tools
When creating your content you must start with finding relevant keywords that should point back to your website. There are a number of places you can go to conduct keyword research. We will recommend two free ones here. The first is Ubersuggest. This website makes looking for keywords very easy. It will also provide you an idea of how competitive the keyword can be. Starting off you want to aim for words with the highest volumes and lowest competition that make sense for your business. You might be able to find some easy wins with the around amount of research.
The second tool is actually a chrome extension that makes keyword research extremely easy. This free tool is called keywords everywhere. This tool adds details about keywords and related words right into your Google search results. This tool displays a list of words that relate in a column down the right side of the page including monthly volume, estimated advertising cost per click, and an estimate of how much competition this keyword has.
When you start building out your content, the focus should be your keywords. Each page should focus on one keyword. Make your content useful and informative. Be cautious not to keyword stuff your page. Since Google values the end user experience, your content should be written with the intent of being helpful. Google will hurt your ranking if the page simply has a lot of keywords, but doesn’t offer a good experience to website visitors.
A useful method for developing your content is to look at your competition. What are your competitors doing for your keyword? Mirror what they do well and think about how you can make it better. Does your competition have a lot of text? You can improve that by including engaging graphics. Do they have text and graphics, but not videos? Add video to your site talking through the same points you have in your articles.
The last thing I wanted to call out is time. None of these improvements will increase your rankings overnight. However, after 30 days or more, then you will start seeing your rank increase. It takes time for you to see the benefits of your hard work in this area.
SEO versus Paid Ads
When should you focus on improving your SEO rankings versus leveraging paid ADs? Paid ADs are like a water hose that you can turn on and turn off. If your current customer pipeline is already filled up, then it might be time to focus on improving your SEO. SEO allows you to raise awareness of your brand and when done well can remove your need to use paid ADs. Ideally, you would be able to spend energy on both. Most businesses generally start with ADs initially to increase revenue, then transition to SEO as their ADs provide enough business to allow them to focus on other areas.
Hope you learned something new. We can help you improve your SEO rankings for your site. Schedule a free consultation call from our Home page and we can show you how we can help. Please sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on new blog content related to social media. You can also read our other Social Media Marketing blogs here.