The Basics of SEO

(Search Engine Optimization) and Why It’s Necessary.

Having your business website appear in the top results on Google is the shortest path to long-term revenue. The method of increasing your website’s rankings in search engines, which brings more visitors to your website, is known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is extremely important and has a very high return on investment for most businesses.

Google is the first place most people search whenever they need something or have a problem to fix. That’s why ranking your business organically (not via paid ads) on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) is so important. It’s arguably the most important marketing strategy for your business.

What are search engines ?

Search engines, like Google, Bing, and Duck Duck Go, are software systems that review and organize information on the world wide web. Their goal is to point searchers to the most relevant and helpful pages in response to the user’s search query.

To accomplish this, search engines are programmed with algorithms – complex sorting and valuing instructions that are applied to websites, pages, and content. These algorithms are composed of many, many factors with a lot of conditional formulas; e.g., “if this, check that.”

One of the reasons for the complexity of these algorithms is that search engines want to match the searcher’s intent with the results. For example, there are millions of websites that mention “leaky faucet” but what is the context or search intent? Are these sites plumbing businesses, how-to videos, or e-commerce sites selling new faucets?

So, using the same example, if the search phrase is “someone to fix a leaky faucet,” the results will show plumbers and maybe handymen, but won’t show do-it-yourself videos.

All major search engines have their own algorithms determining where to rank a website. They’re basically trying to find the most “popular” website relevant in content and context to the search phrase to suggest to their users. One factor, for example, is the number of times the site is referenced by other sources on the internet. The more references, the more valuable it is considered to be by the search engines.

What is keyword research ?

Keyword research is the analytical process of matching a description of what a business has to offer with the words or phrases that your potential customers commonly use to locate that offering. While anyone can do it, it’s not as easy as it might sound, and it is also very time consuming. 

One of the reasons for this is that there isn’t much on the internet that is totally unique. With so many other pages mentioning the same offerings you have, you need to really understand your target market, your competitors, and how search engine algorithms work.

There are tools that keep track of search terms and how frequently they are used, but the most frequent search phrase isn’t always the best one for you, not without modification at least. The word “electrician” is a high volume search term, but using that term alone puts your site in competition with every site in the world that also uses that term. You need to combine the word electrician with other terms that will help Google focus on your relevance to the searcher’s intent. Expanding the search terms and checking the volume of those searches within your target market, allows you to get more specific, which allows Google to make the appropriate matches.

Once you’ve found the best phrases, you’ll need to determine which content and on-page optimization strategies are best for them.

How do you optimize a website for Google (Basics of SEO) ?

On-page SEO” means optimizing all of the content on a page. It includes text, but also image descriptions, page titles, and headings, as well as the phrasing.

Google understands that you are not actually looking for the word electrician, but rather, are looking for an electrician, in a specific location, that you can call to repair a broken circuit or install a new chandelier. So, Google is looking for words or phrases that make your site more relevant like “same day repairs” or “lighting installations.” They are also looking for a web page that has a location, a phone number, and maybe a paragraph about what to do if a circuit breaker trips.

Off-page SEO” is reliant on the other websites that refer to yours. These are called “back-links,” and are the links that direct viewers to your site. 

Both on-page and off-page SEO are important to landing on the first page of search results and they should be the focus of any SEO services.

Summary

Search engines don’t just look for words on a page. They analyze all of the content and make judgments about the site based on their algorithms. They also look at how many other sites are linking to yours as providing helpful information. 

If SEO is done correctly, there should be an increase in the three key performance metrics, month after month, which usually means getting more customers.

The SEO process that we use will also put you at a higher ranking in the Google My Business  (GMB) section of results.

Tools to help you analyze your website’s SEO

If you want to try some of the tools that are used for SEO, start with these:

More SEO information