SEO, or search engine optimization, is a multi-faceted process. While getting your website ranked on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP) is the ultimate goal, getting there can be a challenge, unless you know all the tricks of the trade. SEO can be a full time job, and you can hire professionals to manage this aspect of your business. Knowing what they do to get you ranked and how they intend to make it happen are the components you need to know.
One of the first things a qualified search engine optimization company will do for you is scope out your competition. For you to compete, you need to know what it is they offer, and how they offer it. This process is called competitive analysis. Since business has changed so much since the inception of the internet, business owners have had to adapt to keep afloat. While the internet has opened up a wider potential client base to include people of other nations, this also means that your business has to compete with other global companies that offer the exact same product or service that you do. At times, it may be difficult to ascertain exactly who is in competition with you because so many companies are diversified and offer a variety of options. It pays for business owners to stay abreast of new changes in their respective industries and to gauge what their competition has to offer. Doing a thorough analysis of your competitor’s website may give you an inside look as to what works for them and where they show weaknesses. Your business can capitalize on these weaknesses by offering what they are lacking, so you can build your business. It will also be beneficial for you to acknowledge what they do better than you do, so you can work on that area of your business. Juxtaposing key elements such as pricing, service, convenience, and selection against the competition can be very telling and helpful in advancing your business’s future success. The program SEO companies use breaks down the competitors’ websites by collecting data and analyzing factors, including length of time visitors spend on the site, total number of visitors per month, and even featured keywords. Many of the SEO companies offer this information, but for a fee or after you sign up for a program. The amount of information you would receive otherwise is limited.
There is also “keyword research” that is used in SEO to determine which words seem to attract the most attention. This information is invaluable to a business because not only can it drive new traffic to their website, but it can also shape the website’s content and marketing strategy. This information lets you know what topics your customers are truly interested in reading, and you can plan accordingly. It has been estimated that most of the searches on the internet are for local businesses, and research suggests that the highest sales conversion rates occur during these searches!
Localizing your SEO can generate more neighborhood business. Getting your website with the business name, address, phone number, and website address on several onsite directories can provide you with a higher SEO ranking. Any time your business is mentioned on the internet and it includes any combination of your company’s name, address, zip code, phone number and website address, it is called a “local citation”. These local citations are very cost effective because they pop up when someone is searching for your type of business either from their regular computer or mobile device. The advertising is used when searched and sent directly to a potential client when they are expressing interest in your business’s offerings! Currently, many of the search engines offer a free directory guide—you just need to sign up.
Just when you thought SEO couldn’t get any more complex, there is more to consider. “On-page SEO” is used to help individual web pages to gather more readers and a higher ranking by the information placed on the actual website. Since the algorithms the search engines use are constantly changing, your website needs to adapt to stay relevant. To achieve higher search engine results, you must consider how your page connects to the customer’s search bar request. Obviously, your content will be key, but your use of keywords, internal links and tags will also help boost the ranking. One of the most important elements is the use of keywords in your title tag. Any search for the words in your “title tag” will bring up your page, and the more hits you get, the higher up the chain your website will appear in an organic search. This title tag is compared to the content to ensure they are relevant to one another. Similar to title pages are “Meta Tags or Meta Descriptions”. These are generally short snippets of information that people will find on the corresponding pages of the website. This small peak into the website’s topic and content can be used to draw people to your website. Of course, while these items are helpful in getting someone to your page, they won’t stay unless you have engaging content set up in an easy to read format. If your website is cluttered with too many pictures, videos, and written information, the reader will be overwhelmed and not know where to find the quality content that brought them to your website in the first place. Make your site easy to navigate and keep the writing crisp and to the point. Also, don’t underestimate the font choice and color scheme; even the most riveting copy is likely to be overlooked if it is presented on a difficult font on a too busy background!
For good measure, there is also “Off-Page SEO”, which mainly focuses on outside links to drive up your search engine results page (SERP) ranking. If you have many outside websites that link to your website due to your stunning content, you will see a jump in your SEO ranking. This isn’t something you can control, like on-page SEO, with proper keyword placement and title tags; this is based on outside influences. Examples of off page SEO include links to your site due to your content; social media shares that generate links; and blogging on other sites with a link back to your own page.
SEO, much like algebra, is complicated and unless you have a mastery of the subject; a novice in SEO may not get the results intended. Working with a qualified SEO company that can help you achieve a higher ranking on the SERPs is recommended; leave the challenge to the experts so you can get back to your specialty—growing your business!