What is SEO?
SEO means “Search Engine Optimization” and it is the art of helping visitors find your website from search engines.
- If you don’t use SEO, search engines can’t categorize and rank your site for keywords relevant to your business. Keywords being the main words and phrases potential visitors are using to try to find the services, information, or products you offer on your site. If your website were a brick and mortar space on the internet, SEO would be represented by things like a big sign out front, word of mouth from a reputable source (Google), and great lighting so people looking for you can always find you with ease.
- Both on-site SEO and off-site SEO are incredibly important. If you try to do one without the other, you’ll only end up with half the ranking you should have. On-site SEO includes things like making sure all of your images are tagged, all of your text is visible to search engine crawlers, and your addresses, phone numbers, and other information are labeled correctly with schema and rich text markup.
- Start doing SEO now. SEO is like a running on treadmill. Do a little everyday, every month, or every time you think about it. Once you have the basics down, you will want to invest in a routine plan which might include adding blog pages, increasing social media activity, sharing and connecting to off-site SEO resources, or keeping the static content up to date.
- Know your competition. Learn from sites ranking on the 1st page for the keywords that you want to rank and imitate the work they are doing. Don’t copy them directly as that can hurt your SEO, but do learn from their methods and use that information to increase the success of your own SEO plan.
- Websites are like snowflakes, no two are the same. An SEO strategy that worked for one site isn’t guaranteed to work for your site because there are so many variables. Try to be flexible with your SEO plan. SEO results can be slow at times, but if you don’t see incremental results after a few months don’t be afraid to add new tricks to your action plan.
- SEO doesn’t have to be expensive. You can get big results on a small budget if you invest time. The best SEO is based on grass-roots connections with real people. That doesn’t mean you need to go out and shake hands and kiss babies, but you do need to focus on creating good content and building online relationships with real people and not just the faceless masses.
- SEO results aren’t instant. This is the hardest thing about SEO — the results of SEO work done today might not become apparent right away. Some SEO work you do might not be credited by search engines for weeks, or even months, and even once that credit is acquired it may take a little bit longer still to harness the stream of impressions you are receiving.
- Newer websites need more patience. It takes time to build authority and trust. Think of building SEO like building political support. First and foremost, you will need to create trust and authority on your subject or service and until you’ve developed both. You shouldn’t expect to outrank older, more established sites that are already ranking highly for the same information right away.
- Your website will never be finished. Just like a computer, websites will only last so long before they need upgrades… and every so often replacement. If you want your site to continue to rank higher, attract more visitors, and make more sales, then you need to create a plan to perpetually review, correct, grow, and improve.
- Adapt to algorithm updates. Adaptability to your SEO strategy is key. Search engines evolve rapidly. Search engines continuously update algorithms that decide how they serve information to different types of searches. People have tried to figure out and exploit these algorithms since search engines came into existence. In response to these exploitative “black-hat” SEO tactics search engines are forced to continuously close exploitable loop holes to protect their users. What does that mean for you as a business owner with a website? It means you have to be ready to change gears to meet new requirements when they come out. It also means that you should always focus on the suggested methods provided by Google and Bing associates instead of using “black-hat” tactics. A risky attempt to exploit a search engine algorithm can result in serious damage to your ranking when that loop hole is found and closed — or worse yet when loop hole users are penalized with delisting.
Each week, we will have another set of SEO tips to help your small business. Check out Design Web’s Facebook page here to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information.