If you are getting a brand new website for your small business for the first time, you’ve surely heard one word that repeats on and on in digital marketing – SEO. Perhaps you already know that SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, perhaps you don’t. But do you actually know what that even means? You don’t have to pretend around here, we won’t judge if you don’t know. But we are going to say this – without a sound SEO strategy, your new website is doomed.
What does search engine optimization actually means?
You’ve surely have searched for something on the Web by now, haven’t you? Enter some keywords relevant to what you expect to find in Google, hit search and scan the results looking for the one that promises to have what you need. Sounds familiar, right? Well, Google is one of many search engines whose job is to look into the Internet to find the sites and pages that have relevant information for what you’re looking for. Google and all of the other search engines are constantly analyzing the Web and seeing what sites have useful information and which ones have junk.
To do so, they often use automatic algorithms call “spiders” that “crawl” the Internet to find indicators about the quality of sites. What are those indicators? Backlinks, domain age, content, traffic and a large etcetera you shouldn’t worry about right now. Anyway, using those indicators, Google and the other search engines determine how valuable a site actually is and ranks them in comparison to other sites.
So, when you’re looking for the specs of the new iPhone online, Google will show the most valuable sites containing that data at the top of its results. Given that people usually don’t go beyond the first page when looking for something online, those few sites that actually appear on that page have almost all the chances of being visited by the people looking for the info. Additionally, people isn’t very fond of scrolling to the bottom of the page, so sites appearing at the top of the results on any search engine are the ones that get the most traffic.
Now, given that the most valuable sites (according to the search engine indicators) get that top spot, such position is like the Holy Grail for marketers. If you are able to put your site in the first spot of a Google search, then your visitors will increase spectacularly as will your visibility. Of course, you can’t secure that top spot forever. You have to work constantly to keep those spiders happy with what they find when they crawl your site. In other words, you have to keep adjusting “the indicators” to reassure search engines that you’re still valuable. Those adjustments are the optimization in search engine optimization.
In short, optimizing your site according to those indicators is key to rank higher in search results. And ranking higher in search results is something your business (and any business) should want, since it means more visibility and more business possibilities.
So, how do I SEO?
You don’t SEO, so please don’t say that. You take some steps to make sure your site’s SEO is the best it could possibly be. How? Although there isn’t an infallible recipe for SEO, there are some constants that have been useful since the very beginnings of SEO as a practice.
- Have your own domain and hosting. A free blog isn’t going to do any good for you because it doesn’t seem serious. Get your business some space and its own name.
- Content is king. Since you’re new to this whole SEO thing, it’s important to learn that content is everything. Why? Because people are looking for information and content is the way to provide it for them. Useful content that solve people’s problems is the best way to get your site shared on social media and ranked in search engines. Oh, and when we talk about content we talk about it all – videos, photos, blogposts, infographics – you name it.
- Own a SEO-optimized structure. Though content is the face of your site and it’s what probably will get you some traffic, having a SEO-optimized structure is also insanely important since it will help the spiders find out what they want and will tell them that your site is useful. Fast loading times and the absence of broken links are among the things you’ll have to worry the most here.
- Install a sitemap. When you’re visiting a foreign country, don’t you always check your map to know where things are? It’s useful and a no brainer, to say the least. That’s precisely what a sitemap can do for your SEO – tell the search engines where everything is on your site and help them understand you better.
- Establish relationships. Comment on other blogs, share things on social media, talk on forums – get noticed! Increasing your exposure via those channels is the first step towards getting more visitors and establishing a solid relationship with your target audience. If they find you’re useful, the search engines will start feeling the same way.
- Use SEO plugins. There are lots of technical stuff that can help your SEO. That’s why there are tons of SEO plugins – to simplify the technical mumbo jumbo around it. The most used is the All in One SEO Pack since it automates lots of the details that you’ll need to cover but it isn’t the only one. Just find the one that suits you and start using it.
Naturally, these are some basic pointers about SEO. There are many other things you can do to make your site go higher in those search results but you’ll learn them as you go. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! You’ll understand all of this in time. But if you are having a hard time doing so, just contact Lis7o to help you with your SEO strategy – you’ll see how easy it actually is!