Most small businesses struggle with SEO. How your business ranks in Google isn’t common knowledge, and it’s not abnormal to see a small business get good traffic one month (and wonder what they did to make it happen) and then see traffic drop off again a few months later, and still not understand why this happens. In this 6 part series, The SEO Primer, we’ll take time to answer common SEO questions, including:
On Page Optimization: What Really Matters, What Doesn’t and How to Optimize for Search
Off Page Optimization: How Off Page Links Help and How to Encourage Linking
SEO Penalties: What Causes Them and How to Recover
Local SEO: Why It Is Often The Most Important Consideration to a Local Business
Advanced SEO: Keyword Ranking Difficulty Factors, Monthly Search Volume, Black Hat SEO and Various Advanced Topics
What is SEO?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your copy, your site and your links in, to be found more easily by web searchers.
Most web searches happen though Google (68%), so you tend to see people just equate Google with searching in general. A good SEO strategy does include Yahoo, Bing, Yelp and AOL, but due to Google’s primary market share, it makes the most sense to concentrate your efforts there. For that reason, you’ll hear me talk about Google much more than the others …probably at least 68% of the time ;)
Google is the primary choice because people trust Google to provide them with the right answer to their question, or web query. A query like ‘best remedy’ will often return the literal best remedy for your ailment. This is a similar trust that you see when consumers ask arbitrary questions about businesses. ‘Who makes the best taco in Snellville?’ may or may not return the best choice in that city, but consumers assume that if it makes it to the top of the Google search results (SERPS or search engine results pages), it may not be the literal best taco, but it’s a safe bet that it’s probably a pretty darn good taco anyway.
Web searchers assume that the results, and how highly you rank in them, are based on trust, and they trust Google so they trust those businesses that rank well in the search pages. For that reason, over 90% of people click on those ‘earned’ placements, over the ‘paid’ ads on those pages. And for folks that are able to rank in that #1 spot, they get the most clicks, with 53% of organic search clicks going to the top spot.
For this reason, it is in Google’s best interest to always rank the best answer for the question. So, if we can follow Google’s rules and earn our #1 ranking, we are happy and Google is happy.
Example: Small Restaurant Owner Struggling To Increase Revenue
Joe owns a burger joint in the college town of Statesboro, GA. He knows that most of his clients are web savvy and needs to be found when they search for food options on Google, Yelp and Bing. Unfortunately, the only thing that comes up when someone searches for hamburgers in his locale are the big chain restaurants and one local small business that does a killer amount of sales.
How does Joe make sure that when someone in his location searches for hamburgers, that Joe’s website comes up first?
SEO Beginner Level
Vocabulary for this lesson:
Keywords: These are the primary words that tell Google what your site is about. If you are car dealership, your keywords would include primary words like automobile, cars, vehicles, all your car models and similar words that explain what your site often talks about in all copy. Keywords also include the related words that Google expects to find alongside those primary keywords. For our example, related words might include terms like mpg, anti-lock brakes, auto service, warranties and financing.
Google has an complicated algorithm in place to protect against keyword spam, so don’t try to fool Google by just stuff these words everywhere. The best keyword strategy includes frequently updated content (like a blog or resource center), written to please people, not search engines. This type of content can be very appealing to your audience, and it naturally appeals to Google’s algorithm and ranks well for this reason.
Links In: AKA Linking Domains
Each time someone links to your domain, they push a bit of their authority ranking over to your site. Earlier in this article, I linked to a few statistics about web searchers and how they interact with Google’s search engine. I pushed a bit of my own domain authority (i.e. www.mariposaagency.com’s authority) over to the Search Engine Watch blog that I linked to. I gave a little of my authority to that one page on that site, and that increases their overall domain authority as well.
A content marketing strategy, like the one I mentioned in the keyword explanation,is also a smart SEO strategy to increase the number of people linking to your site. We will go more in detail in the Off-Page Optimization article to follow this one.
To increase the rankings for your website, without incurring search penalties, you need to decide what keywords people will use to search for your products. Once you know that, you should build a site that is full of excellent content that is designed to talk about those keywords.
Example: The easiest (and most effective) way to do this is for you to start a blog and write on your expertise. Joe should start a blog about burgers, or highlighting area events, and use that blog to help him outrank those big chains.
Next we’ll look at On-Page Optimization.
October 20, 2017 . .
October 20, 2017 . .
June 7, 2017 . .
May 15, 2017 . .
May 15, 2017 . .
May 11, 2017 . .