In its most basic form SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is simply the optimization of a website and web presence for the search engines and web users. Optimization means making the website appear in SERPs (Search Engine Page Results) where it is relevant to the users’ query in order of most relevance and freshest content. In order for your website to appear on page 1 for searches related to your industry, the content on your website and online should be unique and relevant for the audience.
What is SEO and How Does it Work?
It may best at this time to leave the technical language out, at least until the end of this post and briefly discuss SEO in a few analogies. The analogies are some that may have been used before but we cite here as a reference as they have become a more common way to clarify the mystery of SEO.
What is SEO for Small Businesses?
SEO for small businesses is the optimization of the business website and local web presence. Local web presence or, local SEO, means the website must be HTTPS and mobile-friendly to have significant organic traffic from local listings.
So what is SEO and how will it help your business? Well, SEO is the net you cast online for customers and it can help your business gain more customers if done correctly and updated monthly. It means once you decide to optimize your website(s) you will want to make sure whoever is performing the optimization, he/she will follow Best Practices (Google’s guidelines to optimization). If you decide to hire someone to perform SEO for your website and website presence be sure that he/ she has the experience, knowledge, and passion to keep up to date with the monthly changes or fluctuations in the Google algorithm updates.
DIY SEO for Small Businesses
If you are considering performing your own SEO for your website and website presence you will need to get up to speed. There are online webinars and training courses that you can sign up for to achieve the level of expertise you will need. Of course, this will take money and time to optimize your website and web presence. Another factor to consider when you’re considering Doing It Yourself is it may take you longer than a professional to do the same job and you may make some mistakes along the way. If you’re not OK with making errors that will impact your website traffic and you have no time to learn SEO then, this may not be your best option.
SEO Google Algorithms
If you decide to do your own SEO, be sure not to forget to keep up to date on the algorithms. Google has been fine-tuning it’s organic search ranking algorithm since it’s inception in 1998 and in previous years called fine-tuning, algorithm updates. Algorithm updates include; Caffeine (2010 emphasis was on-site architecture) Panda (2011 quality content update), Penguin (2012 quality backlinks update) Hummingbird (2013 emphasis on natural language keyword searches and page content) and Pigeon (2014 local search) for local businesses. In recent years, user and mobile optimization have become more important and are now part of the Google algorithm’s upper tier of ranking elements.
Hiring a Small Businesses SEO
If you are researching into your local SEO pros or local SEO agencies then you may find its difficult to tell the difference in their services except for their rates. If you base your selection of an SEO agency or professional then you may be missing a few key elements such as thoroughness and experience of the SEO.
In addition, you or someone in your marketing department will need to keep an eye out or at least check what work is being recommended and if it is necessary or not. Also, someone on your team will need to make sure the SEO is completing the tasks which are important to keep your website and web presence improving month after month. in other words, the person checks the hired SEO should also know SEO.
Your SEO Coach, the Best of Both Worlds
One way to limit the number of mistakes made after you learn SEO is to sign up for SEO Digital Partners Training and hire us as your SEO Coach!
In our coaching sessions, you learn the basics and the advanced “hacks” to keep your SEO on point and your website ranking high for the important keywords – those that attract the most of your targeted customers! With every workshop, you also get a 1-hour free follow-up coaching session to review your progress and provide you guidance on the next steps to take your business to the next level. Our training sessions are held reguLARLY and available in many more areas based on demand.
Sign Up for Your Personal SEO Training Session
Why wait? Sign up for our Small Business SEO Training Sessions today and get your business’ web presence on to the next level! We will help take the mystery out of SEO and train you or a member of your team how to perform SEO on your website. The training is for everyone that owns a business but never knew what they were paying for when they hired an SEO consultant or Agency. Learn more by calling us today!
Would you like an analogy to better understand what is SEO? We have several SEO analogies to those of us that want to get a better understanding of something that may seem complex with something that is easy to understand.
SEO Is Like Property Valuation
Building a new house requires starting at the foundation and building up. If the house foundation is weak, everything else is compromised. The same is true of your SEO Strategy. A solid foundation is imperative to long-term success. And in SEO, keyword research is your foundation. Everything you do must be built upon it. If anything is done before that foundation is laid it will be a costly mistake. Without an analysis of customer and competitors of the industry, proceeding SEO tactics will lack the insight to get off the ground. Similar a house with a weak foundation, cracks in the walls will begin to show.
While the building blocks of a solid foundation are necessary, it achieves little on its own. How many people do you know that live on a foundation slab instead of a house? The foundation’s value provides the base upon which a quality structure can be built to last. The quality of the structure is ultimately just as important as the quality of the foundation in determining property value.
A web site is the business online property, and Google is the property inspector. The property inspector assesses a wide range of on-site elements to determine the true quality of your structure. Like in real life, architecture is crucial in the assessment of property value, as is the quality of materials used in building that structure. From an SEO perspective, property materials include:
- Web site code: Clean and well-structured code is necessary to enable Google’s spiders to access every nook of your online property.
- Web site content: The old adage that content is king is as relevant as ever. And with the appropriate foundation work (keyword research), your content can be crafted to deliver maximum SEO impact via body content and other on-page elements (page titles, headings, anchor text, etc).
- Web site content assets: The assets include your images, videos, PDFs or downloadable materials that engage your audience and leave a lasting impression both virtually and if it is downloadable, physically.
The Neighborhood or Community
The final piece of the property value equation is the community in which it is located. External factors will always influence the value of a property. Even the most lavish property will fail to realize its true value if it is located in the slums. External elements such as crime rate and wealth of surrounding suburbs contribute significantly to property valuation.
Likewise, circles of association play a crucial role in Google’s assessment of a web site. From an SEO perspective, links are your community. Search engines analyze the link ecosystem of each web site to determine the quality of the community in which it resides. If your site is connected with link farmers and spammers, don’t expect search engines to attribute any value to your property. You’re in the online slums. Want to prove to Google that you’re from a good community? Make sure your link building efforts are focused on the acquisition of quality links.