SEO can dramatically impact your business and your website when done correctly. Although if your SEO campaign is managed incorrectly it can have the opposite effect and negatively impact your business.
So what is SEO and why is it so important?
SEO is search engine optimization and sometimes referred to as SEM or search engine marketing. Although the two are a little different you may hear those terms interchanged. Search engines are basically online libraries. Similar to books in the library, the easier a book is to find or the more it is promoted the more it will be checked out and read.
So when we think of SEO in those terms it isn’t too difficult to understand the very basics of what we need to do to rank well in the search engines.
Clear topic – Using headlines that summarize the content to follow tells the search engines what the web page is about. Visually we see the headlines as a larger font, bolded type or different colors. The search engine bots don’t see these changes as easily so we use codes in the text to create “H tags” (larger font).
Relevant content – Additionally, our content following the headline should be relevant to the heading. So if our headline is “potty training a puppy” the content should only be about potty training puppies. If you want a page to have multiple topics they should be closely related. So in the above example “potty training a puppy” should not have another topic about “the best food for an aging dog”. Keep your page topics closely related and create different pages for topics that are not closely related. One exception to this rule is if you have for example, a “services” page that summarizes all of the services you offer with a link to pages that provide more detail on each topic.
Website promotion – Just as with a good book, you need to promote your website. When a book hits the best seller list it is more likely to be sought after. Promoting your website comes from the quality and quantity of links pointing to your website. It is really important to understand that quality is more important than quantity of links. Quality links are links from relevant and trusted sites. A coveted link for someone in the home improvement industry would be a link from Bob Villa’s website or another well known, high authority, relevant site. Relevance is extremely important as well. So having a link from webmd.com to a plumber would be of little value. Even though webmd is a high authority link it isn’t relevant to a plumber but would be a coveted link for a doctor. One exception to the relevancy example is for local businesses. Local links are a great addition to your link profile. For example if you’ve sponsored a local kids football team, getting a link from their site to yours would be a good relevant link. So if you live in Omaha and get a non-relevant link from a junior football league in Chicago, it would have little impact on your website quality.
Success breads greater success – Just like a good book that is always checked out, the more traffic (visitors) your website has the more value the search engines place on your website. Of course this does mean that visitors need to stay on your site for a little while and hopefully browse around. When they click on your site, don’t find what they are looking for, and click away quickly it is considered a bounce. Search engines read this signal as “oops! not what you were looking for”. Too many bounces for a specific keyword or phrase will tell the search engines that they need to serve up something different for their customer. The end result for your website is lower rankings.
Word of mouth – Have you ever had a friend tell you about a great book they just read? The same thing goes for your website. Social signals pointing back to your site is interpreted by the search engines as popularity. “So many people are talking about and sharing this content… hmm, it must be good.”
Understanding SEO at a high level will help you begin to understand what you can do to positively impact your website rankings. The greater your website rankings, the more visitors, inquiries and sales your business will have. Get your website ready for 2017 with a quick, easy and free website audit. Find out how the search engines see your website and what you need to do to fix your site for better rankings.