The Basics of SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about getting search engines to rank your website at the top. How you get there isn’t just about luck, it takes the know how and a lot of work. SEO, at it’s basic fundamentals, can be broken down into four basic sections: Content, Technical, Social & Links. Let’s take a better look at each of these items in hopes that you can evaluate where your website stands in the SEO arena.
Content, as it relates to SEO:
The old adage of “Content is King” is still alive and well in the online world of websites; and it’s especially popular in the SEO realm. Let us first say that when we’re talking about content, we mean paragraphs of text, blog articles, descriptions of services and similar textual content, of some length (300+ words). If you have no content like that to put on your website, then why bother making one at all? If you have content that is old and stale, does your website stand a chance in today’s online world? In the beginning days of internet websites, it was possible to rank quite well by just having some targeted content; but these days, the ante has been upped and it’s not just about having content; but your content must be unique, relevant and timely for best SEO results. Just as newspapers can’t report on news that happened last month, your website shouldn’t have information prominently displayed that is outdated to your readers. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have old information on your site; in fact, search engines love archives of old, valuable, unique content on your website, but if you haven’t posted a new article in a few months, or even weeks in some industries, search engines notice and it could negatively effect your SEO rankings.
Technical Things That Effect Your SEO Rankings!
Not to get too in depth here, but do you know if every webpage on your site has an <h1> tag, at least one image with an ALT tag tailored towards your pages’ keyword and links to other relevant pages on your site with the links containing keyword rich TITLE tags? Oh, and your page does focus on a single keyword, right? How about the <title> and the meta <description>? Those need to include your focused keyword and be unique compared to all the other pages on your site as well. Even the speed at which your website loads can effect your search engine rankings. Your website is mobile friendly / responsive also, right? – Cause the search engines love those kind of sites and rank them higher on mobile searches, which can be 33% of all your traffic these days, depending on your industry. Are you prepared to loose 33% of all potential visitors because you didn’t plan ahead and make your website mobile friendly? Those are just some of the items to look into when it comes to making your website SEO friendly. We’d be happy to perform a free website consultation audit to let you know where you stand on these technical things and a bunch of other SEO-related items.
Social Media and It’s Ranking Effects
Maybe you’re one of the many business owners that were hesitant to get on the social media bandwagon because (a) you thought it was just a fad, (b) you just didn’t understand it, or (c) you didn’t see the ROI in social media. If that was you back then, we hope you now see that businesses and organizations are using social media to their advantage by getting their product message out to the masses. Even if you don’t see the need for social interaction, search engines do, and that alone should be a reason to get into the game. You can bet that Google, Yahoo & Bing know how many followers your brand has, if it does have a Facebook page, and if you regularly update the page’s status. Assuming all other things being equal, do you honestly think that brand A, who has no Facebook account, stands the same chance in the search engine rankings as brand B, who has a few thousand followers that like and share their company statuses, which contain links to their website, which the company updates three to five times a week? If you really think social media has no relevance, let us know what rock you live under and we’ll come lift it off of you.
External Links are Queen!
If content is considered king, then links are considered the queen of the SEO world. Search engines try to produce the most relevant results to users and what screams relevance more that a bunch of other websites linking to your website. Generally speaking, having more external links to your website means others are seeing you as a source of good information, and search engines see it the same way. We say “generally” because there are many black-hat (tricky, bad intent, sneaky way of doing things) tactics to use linking to your advantage; but search engines are becoming more aware of those methods and are penalizing sites for creating bad incoming links. Good incoming links are non-solicited and not paid for by you. It’s best if there is a variety of domains linking to your site. If all your links are coming from WordPress.com users, than that can look spammy. If they are coming from other businesses associated with your industry, and aren’t just links on a business directly, then those links are worth something. Link building is an entire article in itself, so we won’t go much further into details here, but check up on our blog later for more details on link building.
Conclusion: What Next?
Those are the four basics of SEO. You can probably do three of them great and still stand a chance in the search engine rankings, but executing all four will bring you so much closer to the top of the rankings. While Content and Links are the most important in the list, focusing some attention on Technical and Social Media will probably bring you above your competition. The trick is to sit down once or twice a month and give yourself an honest review on how you’ve been doing in each of these four areas. The #1 things you can do for your website’s success today, is to have us take a look at your site and perform a full website audit to see where you stand on these SEO things, and a ton more. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain from this free consulting service.