What is it?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the term used to describe the act of optimizing your website to rank well on search engines for specific terms. There are many different strategies for doing this (or at least trying to do it). It can get quite complicated, as popular search engines (mainly Google), have caught onto the tricks that search engine optimizers have tried to game the system. Back in the early 2000s, one could easily rank for popular terms like “hotel” or “car rental”. But now only long established websites are able to reach the top few spots.
Why do it?
Alright, so now we know what SEO is, but why should we do it? Let’s give you an idea just how important it is. Let’s say your friend recommends you two go out to eat in a city about 20 minutes away. You have never been to this city, so you don’t know the restaurants. What’s your first move? If you are like most people (at least those who know how to use the internet), you will search “best restaurants X city”. You trust this search engine enough to know that those websites ranked near the top will be good choices. And that’s where most of us stop! We don’t go onto the bottom half of the first page, let alone the second or any other page. There are thousands of search results for a given term, but most people will only look through the first 3-4 and choose amongst those. This is why it is so important to get to these top spots. Even just getting to the front page can be tough. But if you choose the right keyword and optimize correctly (not breaking any rules Google has in place) you can get there.
How do you implement it?
Implementing an SEO strategy takes time. This is a huge factor you need to take into account when you decide to optimize. Search engines won’t begin to rank your site for a few months, so do not expect results right away. You also need to be choosing proper keywords to target. This is done using free or specialized software that can determine just how many people search that specific phrase each month. The particular phrase you choose is crucial. “Best restaurant NYC” is different from “Best restaurants NYC”. Just that little “s” makes a difference.
You also need to be realistic. If you just started a website that sells something popular like headphones, you are very unlikely to rank on the first page for “headphones”. Too many big players like Best Buy, Bose, and Beats occupy these spaces. A long-tail keyword is one that is made up of more keywords and has less searches. These are more specific but also much easier to rank for than broad keywords. For headphones, you could try to rank for “best running headphones” or “top workout earbuds”. Do your research!
In order to implement, you need to be aware of a few things. Google does check how often your keyword appears on a page. “Keyword stuffing” was a popular and effective practice years ago, but Google caught on. Now you need to keep your keyword count to about 3-5% of the content on the page. To rank well, you also need credibility. Credibility comes in the form of backlinks. A backlink is when another website links to your site. Getting a backlink from a big website like CNet or Gizmodo for your headphone website is a big deal. This backlink is worth much more credibility to Google than a tiny blog that gets only a few hundred views a month. Reach out and try to get these important backlinks!
Changes in SEO
As with any technology, SEO is constantly changing. Google sees when large amounts of websites are trying to game their search engine algorithm. This is why practices like keyword stuffing are now penalized. It is important to stay up to date on new algorithm updates and understand the changes that are made and how you should change your strategy.
Things to watch
We pretty much covered the basics of SEO without getting too technical. It is a very involved proves that takes time and energy, it is not something that will occur overnight. If you are a small business, it is best to hire a company to do this work for you. The amount of time it takes to learn the intricacies of SEO is enormous! There are experts who have spent years learning, and keep having to update their knowledge as search engine algorithms change.
But don’t fret! That’s where our SEO specialists can help your website. We will work with you to determine the best keywords that will allow potential customers to find your site. This will increase your leads, sales, and recognition. Find out how you can get your website search engine optimized today!