Most business are aware of the value of SEO, search engine optimization. This is the practice of optimizing your website to appear more prominently on Google and other search engines. The world of SEO has changed a lot of the last several years as the businesses have become more knowledgeable and the search engines have continued to improve their abilities to index content and provide the most relevant results to users.
SEO is important because roughly two-thirds of all internet traffic is generated by organic search. Organic search what users see after they search a particular term and then see the related results, often referred to as SERP, search engine results page. The promoted results are not organic, all the non-promoted results are the organic results. Appearing on the first or second page of search engine results has nothing short of an exponential impact on the traffic you can generate. A strong SEO showing can have an extraordinary impact on your business.
SEO as an industry is filled with a wide range of players, from hyper-intelligent “white hat” consultants to shady “dark hat” firms who make big promises and offer vague explanation of the work they do. For a small business this can be a difficult, and potentially wasteful, endeavor. This article is intended to provide foundational understanding of SEO and things you can focus on even with limited resources.
It’s all about relevancy
Search engines are focused on providing users the most relevant content as possible based on their query and other known information about the user such as relevant history, location, expressed interests and other factors. Your site should be full of content that is relevant, and interesting to current and potential customers. If there are ten topics a potential visitor could be interested in you may want to have ten pages on your site each focused on one of those topics. This provides better content for visitors and as your site is indexed by search engines offers more targeted content which increases relevancy. This is not a set it and forget it operation, your pages should be refreshed periodically as that impacts the value search engines see on your pages as well.
Friendly across devices
Most search engines now factor whether a given website features responsive design, which allows a site to work effectively across multiple devices. Given the importance of smartphones and other portable computing devices it’s essential to provide an effective mobile experience to users which will also improve the search performance of your website.
There is not enough room in this post to cover all the details, but in addition to quality content, the mechanics of your site matter, a LOT. The structure of page and article headlines, page titles, image tags, links and a host of other factors make a huge difference in how search engines see, and ultimately rank your site. The good news is there are a multitude of tools and online training that can help you with this. The Yoast SEO plug-in for WordPress can help structure your content as well as the mechanics of your page as you build them to maximize their SEO performance. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming or complex if you use just a couple basic tools.
SEO can seem overwhelming and for those who want to go to the expert level is can get complex. For most small businesses it’s important to understand the basic concepts, get the fundamentals right and leverage a handful of inexpensive and easy to use resources.