SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines are Google, Bing, Yahoo and others. Simply put: SEO is a way for businesses to get free and organic traffic to their website by creating content that these search engines are looking for.
This means that when potential customers search for a product or service they want, they find YOUR website without you paying for ads.
When one does a Google search, the first few links that appear are paid for ads. Companies pay for that high placement. But what about the next few? How do those companies get such high placement without paying Google (or Bing or Yahoo)?
Well, they understand and utilize SEO.
Search engines use an algorithm that determines which sites are most relevant to users based on the users’ search words. This algorithm takes information from all websites on the internet. It then sorts them and looks for connections between them so when a user searches for “best hot dogs near me” the algorithm can provide relevant information to that user.
Like companies must understand their potential customers, they must also understand search engines. Remember, potential customers are employing search engines to find you. Understanding both of these users will produce a better experience for the customer.
Words. Words. Words.
They matter, in general, but specifically here for companies’ websites. Websites are part of a company’s marketing plan. And like any aspect of a marketing plan, it must consider the customer. Who are they? What do they want? How do they want it? This is often referred to as the buyer persona.
A company must know their customers. Then use this knowledge of them to create a website with words those buyers will use to search for their needs. In order to convert unknown web surfers into customers, these words must produce high quality content. High quality content is content that is useful, interesting and relevant.
Search engines look for websites that produce new content. Many companies build their website and then never touch it again. The search engines see this site as an irrelevant site and will give it a lower rating. A great way to produce high quality content regularly is to add a blog to your website. Write articles, reviews and how tos. Post them to the site. And there is new content.
Blogs should be approximately 500 words. They should use keywords likely to be used in a search. They should be useful to customers. They should be on brand and aligned to the mission and values of the company.
Each page in a website has a code and a title. Search engines pay attention to these; thus, so should companies when building the website. Be sure to use keywords in the title and the url for each page. Front load the keyword in these tags. The earlier they appear in the title the higher ranking it will get from search engines.
Search engines look for links. One of the easiest things to do is an internal link. Link pages within your site to other pages within your site. Not only is this good for SEO purposes, but it also makes the site user friendly, even more important. This can be done by within content or blog pages. It will help direct browsers to information you want them to see and to information they may be looking for.
You can also link to other websites. A website that has other websites linking to it is prioritized in these algorithms. Recently, some websites have created bogus secondary websites to link to the main one in attempts to fool the algorithm. The algorithms can now detect that and give higher ratings to natural links.
These are just the basics to SEO, but a great place to start when optimizing your website. Make these little changes and watch the traffic to your website increase!