There is no shortage of ways to market your business and promote your products or services online. But when it comes to growing businesses, there is a reason why most marketers keep coming back to SEO: Because it works. If you have a hard time grasping the concepts of SEO and you don’t know how search engines work, this blog post will help break down the basics of SEO into small, digestible chunks.
How Do Search Engines Work?
First, search engines are sites like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Search engines work by “crawling” websites. The term “crawling” is often referred to as “spiders” or “bots” crawling your website. These little guys are named after these creep-crawlies simply because they are web crawlers. Web crawlers crawl and scan through every known website to get a complete list of everything that is stored in there. When crawling your website, a search engine will gather information from the code on your site to determine what the web page is about.
What your web page is about is determined by the information comes that from titles, descriptions, proper image tags, headers on the page, the amount of text on the page, keyword usage, and so much more. The algorithm that search engines use to determine what each individual web page is about, can be considered the world’s most complicated math equation. While technically, it likely isn’t as complicated as some of the world’s greatest math, algorithms are basically pieces of code written by mathematical minds. At Google, these minds are some of the very best in the world. People work on these algorithms every day to perfect the way that Google “sees” your website.
After crawling your website, the next step is “indexing.” Indexing is the process of storing the information gathered by the spiders into one huge database. For lack of a better term, this is where your website not only is listed with all possible search items within Google and other search engines that have crawled your website, this is where the crawled information is now compared. In order for Google to provide online searchers with the search results they are expecting, they have to determine what can only mathematically be derived as the best content to answer any questions typed in as a search term. Now you can likely imagine just how complicated this process has to be and why the process has to also be automated.
Can you imagine having to compare one article to another on the Internet to determine what the best answer to a common problem might be? That is what the search engine algorithm is all about. This code helps take into account everything on each individual web page, the actions taken on your page, and the assumed reactions users have to your web page. If your web page has a high bounce rate where users barely scroll past the top header, it can easily be assumed that whatever search term brought them to your page did not answer whatever question they had in mind.
Perfecting your website for ultimate search optimization goes beyond your code and into every link into and out of your website. Additionally, to optimize your website for the best search results, you need to constantly be testing user experience and taking into consideration what the user expects to know and see on each individual page.
The last step is the “retrieval,” which is the process in which a search engine receives a search query from an online user and it comes up with the most relevant search engine results that are retrieved from the index. This part is easy. Someone types into a search engine, “chicken recipes” and expects to see the best chicken recipes available from well known sites and perhaps sites local to them as well.
The Importance of SEO
So where does SEO come into the picture? Having an effective SEO campaign ensures that your website is properly indexed by Google and the other search engines, and that it will come up in the search engine results page (SERP).
The convenience the Internet brings into our lives has made it possible to conduct business online. As a small business owner, a service provider, or a marketing personnel, it is your responsibility to ensure your business gets its share of the online marketplace. One effective way to do this is to implement SEO strategies. Here are a couple of more reasons why SEO should be incorporated in your website:
It increases website traffic that is highly targeted
You get visited by customers who typed in keyword phrases that are similar to what you are offering. You get a targeted audience who are interested in what you do and what you have to offer, which increases the likelihood for a conversion.
It establishes trust and credibility
Businesses that are on top of the search engines are highly regarded by users as the best in their field and are the ones that get the most number of clicks. This is why you need to make it your #1 goal to be on top…..or at least near the top of the search engines. It establishes you as an authority in your niche and boosts your reputation as a business to be reckoned with.
It is cost-effective
Let’s admit the hard facts – as a small business owner you may not have a lot of budget allocated to marketing. Traditional advertising mediums such as TV, radio, and print can be ridiculously expensive. Hiring an SEO agency—such as Boostability—allows you to reach a much wider audience at the fraction of the cost when compared to using traditional advertising.
How to Get Started
If you have a newly-minted website, you need to make sure it has been indexed by Google. You can do this by submitting your content to Google, creating a site map in your website, and submitting it to Google Webmaster Tools.
The next step is to create an SEO strategy that is specific to your business needs and your industry:
- What are the specific goals you want to achieve when it comes to SEO?
- What does a conversion mean to you personally?
Determine Your Target Audience
Get to know who your target audience is, and tailor your strategy according to who your people are. There are a couple of ways to go about this: One is to create buyer personas; and the other is to check your website’s Google Analytics page in order to get to know your site visitors more—their demographics, location, and search preferences.
By getting to know your audience, you will be able to provide content that is both useful and relevant to them. The next step is to implement on-site SEO by making sure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and has fast loading times. Then, come up with a keyword strategy by determining what your target audience uses whenever they search for something in the internet. On-site SEO means there is also off-site SEO, which includes link building. Link building will help make your website rank better in the SERPs. An internal link connects within your webpages and blog posts, while an external link is one that comes from a different website.
Don’t forget to update your blog regularly using the keywords you have searched before, as blog posts will make your website rank higher than your static webpages. Lastly, monitor your SEO campaign and track your numbers so you will know if your SEO strategies are working or not. We have just barely scratched the surface of SEO, and there are a lot of things about it that you still need to know.