Three little letters can change the trajectory and future of your business: S E O. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, can help you draw new customers to your business website and potentially increase sales. But what exactly is SEO and how does it work? How can you use it to benefit your business and why should you even try?
SEO is essentially online marketing, and with the world going tech-crazy, it only makes sense to take your business’s online presence up a notch to get you noticed. SEO is continually changing as the internet morphs and grows, so the SEO of only a few years ago isn’t the SEO of today!
The concept of SEO is really basic: someone logs into a search engine to find “scuba gear in South Florida”, and the request for information is sent to index servers which matches the words in the query to the possible website matches. Document servers retrieve the matches and send a small sample of the most popular websites that include similar wording. The trick is—how do you get your website to be one of the matches the document server selects to send to the potential new customer? Your page must be visible to visitors, so you need to have a sitemap to get them there. Hiring an internet marketing company to do this might be your best bet; they can ensure you have content that will drive the search engines to your site. The longer you have had your website, the better your Google Algorithm, and the way you name your main page has a lot to do with how much action your site will see. Most companies name their “landing page” with the name of their company first; this is not the best way to garner new interest. If your business is dog grooming and your landing page reads “Puppy Palace”, unless those two words are in the customer’s search, your page is not likely to gather the most hits. If it is named something more generic, like How to Groom Your Dog—that way anyone searching “groom” and “dog” are more likely to find your site. Keywords and length of time the website has been in operation help to drive people to your website, and every click is a potential client or customer.
Some of the most important elements of a successful website are the aforementioned title page, the meta description, or small snippet of info that describes the content on your page, and the number and quality of other websites that are linked to yours. If you feature a one of a kind article, it may garner you some ‘backlinks’ or links to your website from other websites. The legitimacy and popularity of the websites that link to yours can provide you with additional traffic. SEO is a crucial element in increasing your website’s visibility and in turn, your potential sales! The better your SEO, the better your ranking on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
While the general concept behind SEO is simple, the algorithms that determine where a result ranks are complex. Taking a word or a phrase and pulling information that matches from hundreds of thousands of websites and ranking them within seconds is based on these algorithms. The reason SEO is challenging is the search engine algorithms are constantly in flux, and the exact ‘winning formula’ is an unknown entity. To even show up in the rankings, your site has to show up in the Google index, and that doesn’t happen automatically. The easiest way to get your website indexed is to contact Google Webmaster and to detail the content of your website so the search engine can correctly categorize your content. The content in SEO takes the descriptions and keywords on your website and indexes them, providing a higher ranking overall. Equally important is the name of your website, because that can certainly help its ranking. Try to minimize the name of the website because longer names are more cumbersome; when someone types the name into the search bar, it is more likely a mistake will be made if the website has a long moniker. Plus, if you sell books, your ranking will potentially be higher if you have the word “books” in your website’s name; it explains your business and anyone who types in “books” in your area will eventually come across your website. The strength of your search engine optimization determines if they find you on the first page, or the 24th!
Once again, though the elements that determine a strong ranking change frequently, the page titles, meta tags, keywords and easy URLs will help to draw people to your site, but constant monitoring of your SEO will keep it relevant. It is an important part of the search to have words from your title page used within the content, so the search engine can effectively direct someone to the page. However, if you try to “stuff keywords” by using the same word over and over to draw website hits, it will work against you; you want the content to be relevant to the title page, but not overuse words or phrases as search engines will lower your ranking! The best way to draw others to your website is to provide relevant, searchable, useful content with strategically placed keywords and phrases. Updating your content frequently is also a good strategy; the more well-written, pertinent information you feature, the higher chance it will receive inbound links from other websites. To truly optimize your SEO, you will want what is referred to as “deep links”, otherwise known as links that connect to your website’s internal pages; the “deeper” content.
SEO is a marketing tool that can help you earn new business. A successful company or business is able to fill their website with interesting, relatable, fresh content that captures keywords and phrases. This is one of the factors that leads to a higher ranking in the search process, and the businesses that rank on the first few pages, are the ones that generate the most traffic. Finding a good SEO company to market your business is imperative nowadays, especially if you don’t have the time to continually work on your website. By investing in your website, you are investing in the future of your business!