What in the world is SEO?
What is it? Do I need it? The term “SEO” is loosely thrown around by so many different types of people. Your boss at work, your web designer, and your marketing consultant may all have different definitions of what SEO is to them. We wanted to break down some basics for you so that you might have a better grasp on how search engine optimization functions and what goes into these elusive rankings.
Search Engine Fundamentals
First and foremost, we would like to break down how a search engine functions in the digital landscape. Google uses a highly complex algorithm to evaluate and rank your website based on the content you have established and where your website is connected. To make this even more complex, Google changes its algorithm hundreds of times a year so there is no definitive path to getting you on page one.
Search engines are necessary to find your content: unless they know about it, they cannot display your website in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). There are a number of things that you can do to create a search engine friendly website that is easy to discover and crawl:
Ensure your site is designed using coding the search engines understand. Flash may look great, but the search engines have real difficulty processing it.
Create XML sitemaps which is a universal format for sitemaps that search engines can easily understand.
Build links to your website from other sites. Bots read these links and can rank your site higher because of these connections.
Having a secure site is a must! Also, making sure your site is mobile friendly will favor you in SERPs.
Keyword research is essentially putting yourself in the mind of your prospect: understanding your target market and how your prospect may be searching for your content, products, and services. What people are searching for, how they are searching for it, and what format they are looking for all need to be taken into consideration when starting your keyword research.
Moz provides a helpful keyword explorer tool to help you identify and stay current on your industry’s top searches. Additionally, they will send you metrics and keyword lists on a monthly basis.
Do you have a few keywords in mind that you want to rank? Open up an incognito window and type in the initial keyword. See what terms pop up in the drop-down menu. This is a process but can be beneficial in keyword research.
The higher the search volume, the greater the competition. With this competition comes businesses that spend a lot of money to rank well on these pages. Unfortunately, this can be a major barrier for small businesses that are seeking to rank in popular SERPs.
Ambiguity is a thing. Sometimes businesses can get so caught up trying to rank for the most popular searches that they get grouped in a term that’s too ambiguous for their actual product or services. Let’s use the classic example of pizza. Your results will give you an array of information. From history, to nutritional value, to the nearest pizza joint. It is important to identify your niche set of keywords and target that set specifically.
Google aside, the web is a very big place. There are a handful of online business directories that spread information to search engines to validate queries. Local data aggregators are large consumer and business data gathering companies that source and distribute business name, address, and phone number (NAP) data to search engines. If you get a direct mail solicitation, a phone call from a telemarketer, an e-mail or check-in offer, or a targeted online advertisement, there is a good chance the company behind it gathered information about you from a local data aggregator.
What do these online business directories do?
They streamline and simplify access to local data aggregators.
They help identify NAP errors and inconsistencies so you have an opportunity to fix them before your data get distributed.
They capture and distribute additional data that can help increase click-thru and conversion rates.
Can I do SEO myself?
Yes, you can, but it’s an ongoing process of building inbound links and improving your website that never stops. Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the other search engines never stop evolving. They are constantly looking for ways to improve their offerings. That being said, what works today may not work tomorrow.
Keeping up to date with the latest developments can be almost as much work as actually doing SEO marketing. That’s why many companies outsource their SEO – it simply isn’t cost effective for them to dedicate the time needed to stay up to date on top of doing the actual work.
Interested in boosting your search visibility? Contact our Deluge Wonderteam today!