Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a field that’s shrouded in mystery for most, but it is the key in appearing high on search engines. Google is always updating its algorithms to improve its search results while combating abuse of its system (“Black-hat” techniques). How do you get to the top and how does this whole thing work?
What is SEO?
SEO is pretty much how one’s ranking (on what page and how high up on it) for a specific search on a search engine (e.g. Google, Yahoo, and Bing). So, for example, if you have a strong SEO plan (and likely a large budget), you will be one of the first results in a Google search for specific keywords/phrases. It is wise to consult with an experienced SEO consultant to determine your needs and develop a plan for research and implementation.
How does it work?
Google detects your location and serves you related content. For example, if you live in Fairfax and type in “lunch restaurants,” it will likely not provide you with a bar in Siberia. Google search is local for relevant categories, such as restaurants, bars, and movie theaters.
In general, there are a variety of best practices, and they almost all revolve around having useful content that is relative to the search keywords/phrases you’re trying to rank for. For example, this blog has articles with website tips and information because...you guessed it...we make websites! Providing relevant content helps the search engine see that you are a credible source of information for the specific keywords/phrases you want to be known for, while also helping drive traffic to your website because users want to see information that is useful to them.
The more traffic your website gets, the more leads you can get, resulting in more opportunities, and ultimately, more sales.
The following are the essentials that will really help give your business a boost:
Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.) - having these profiles (with correct information), with content that links back to your website, will provide a big boost.
Add relevant <title> tags, relevant <h1> tags, and relevant meta tags - ask your current web developer about these.
Regularly contributing relevant content from a variety of sources. Make sure people have a way to find your website from a variety of other platforms/websites.
Clean code - you get what you pay for. If you hire the cheapest web person you can find off of Craigslist, this is one of the [many] ways it can come back to bite you!
A responsive website - this means that your website will automatically adjust to the size of the end user’s screen (e.g. mobile and tablet users). Websites that are not responsive and/or have both a mobile website and a desktop website are actually penalized in Google’s search rankings! A quick test to see if a site is responsive is by going on your desktop/laptop computer and dragging one end of the browser inwards/outwards; if the content and navigation bar adjusts to fit the width of the screen, it’s responsive and you’re ahead of the game! If not, you may want to look into a new website. Search engines care about responsive websites because they are more user-friendly - and they want their end users to have the easiest time finding information - the purpose of their search!
What good is a website if nobody can ever find it? Your website should be the hub of your online marketing efforts, and draw traffic from a variety of sources in a compelling way - with rich and engaging content that really connects with your current customers/target market.
Streamline’s websites are very SEO friendly, with clean code, meta information, and are responsive, and we can also help provide you with an ongoing plan for online marketing so that you show up when/where you need to. Learn more about how Streamline can get your business found on the internet.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on SEO and your experiences with it - comment or share below!