SEO for Business
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a practice where websites get conditioned to improve their ranking on search engines (think Google or Bing). Most people today use search engines instead of typing in a website, and it makes sense. Search engines play a huge role in how people stay informed and educated.
How Do Search Engines Work?
Search engines scour the web on a regular basis to learn about the content on a website. They ‘crawl’ pages and take note (indexing) what is on them. Once a search engine understands the content on a website, it will rank the useful sites and not so useful sites. Here is a quick breakdown of the two:
Contains relevant content – uses correct keywords users would search for (we’ll get to user intent later).
Well Structured – all pages are coded efficiently and are tailored to work on different devices both visually and under the hood.
Frequently updated – the site is updated regularly with new and useful content like blog posts, videos, and features.
Easy to Navigate – all types of users can find what they need quickly and intuitively leading to higher conversions.
Not So Useful Website:
Irrelevant – doesn’t aid the user in finding what they were looking for.
Poorly maintained – code updates frequently, if a website is outdated it risks cyber attacks and will not look good on newer devices.
Outdated – Websites are like houseplants, every now and then they need a little watering (do NOT pour water on your computer). Adding new content like blog posts, images, and videos lets the search engines know you are still in the game.
Bad Design – A user shouldn’t have to dig down 20 pages to find what they were looking for. The more steps they need to take the quicker they will look somewhere else.
How it affects a business
Why is ranking high on these search engines important? Users are more likely to trust and invest in the brands that appear at the top of these search results; the top links. When it comes to search results, many users never skim past the first 10 links. This makes them prized real estate for businesses trying to get seen.
This is still a very high level breakdown of the whole SEO industry. There are many intricacies when it comes to this topic. So many in fact there are agencies dedicated to SEO alone.
It is common for a business to set up a website and forget about it. This practice doesn’t cut it anymore as a source of exposure. Many businesses need to start thinking strategy if they want to compete today.
You might find this all a little overwhelming and unexpected. SEO for business has been a hot topic for years and can seem like unknown territory, and there is a reason for that…
No one truly knows how SEO for business really works
You can’t talk about SEO without mentioning the 5 billion-pound gorilla in the room: Google. The tech giant currently reigns in over 90% of search queries on the internet. With those figures it is only natural to cater to its algorithm.
The Google algorithm is still a mystery at best. The main function of it though is to filter through the most relevant sites to present to the user. When someone wants to search Google for something, it has to go through a certain set of processes.
Let’s say you wanted to find the best pizza restaurant in Long Beach. By typing in “best pizza in Long Beach” Google will take the following steps (in a nutshell):
- Looks like the user is looking for a pizza restaurant, not a recipe. Since they entered in a location, so we’ll give them that.
- They want to find the “best” pizza. Ok, let’s see which of these restaurants have reviews referring to that, or at least mention it on their website.
- Wow, there’s a lot! Let’s try to whittle down a bit. Are any of these sites well maintained? No? Bottom of the list you go.
- Now we have something more manageable. Now we are going to assume our user is very hungry. Do any of these sites offer online ordering? Hey, these ones do!
- Wow! This one even has strong keywords, video, and is accessible for users with impairments. They go to the top!
The User Matters
As you can see, at the end of the day Google wants to provide the best viable option to their users. Their business literally depends on it! Notice how we keep referring to the user and not businesses? That’s because many website owners will try to abuse the algorithm and try to take shortcuts to the top of the list. Even with good intentions there are ways to get on Google’s bad side.
Google knows this very well and makes sure to change its algorithm on a regular basis. There are a lot of ‘black hat SEO‘ tactics that will get your website severely penalized if you try to play the system. Fortunately, getting good at SEO doesn’t have to be difficult at all. Once you understand your audience you need to create consistent content.
Now let’s wrap up the explanation and dive into taking some action! Below we will provide you some methods and terms you can learn today. These will tips help you get started with creating your own SEO strategy.
SEO For Business Owners
So far we have covered a high-level understanding of how SEO works. For the most part these basic concepts are all you need to get started today. It is easy to get a little overwhelmed with all the terminology involved. At the end of the day it is all about providing users with the information they desire, that’s it!
Now we will dive into a few of the main elements on how you can incorporate it into your own SEO strategy. This should help gain more momentum with generating more leads for your business. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list but we’ll cover some of the most noteworthy essentials:
Keywords are your guiding light when it comes to ranking high on search engines. They help identify what your content is about. When users perform a search, these terms will provide a list of relevant results.
They should be unique enough to have low usage and competitive. Keywords in high demand tend to oversaturate search results so it is best to keep them as niche as possible. So instead of “veggie burger” you want to aim for “sprouted black bean burger”.
Search engines thrive on providing users with the most up to date information. A website that posts and updates content on a regular basis a far better chance than a “set it and forget it” website. Blog posts, images, code maintenance can all affect how well a website ranks in search results.
This isn’t something you have to stress about every week or even every month. It is important to have a consistent schedule for posts and updates. Again the most important thing is to provide value to the user. Do not post something for the sake of posting, make sure they are getting something from it.
Backlinks are links to your website from another website. They hold a lot of power when it comes to search ranking. Backlinks let Google and other search engines know your content is useful. It shows other sites refer to yours as a source of valuable information.
This is why providing useful and regular updates are so important. Generating a lot of backlinks will establish you as an authority in your industry. This will make users want to visit your site organically.
Be warned though. There are a lot of attempts to “gain backlinks” with questionable services. Do not fall for these “black hat” methods. Rather, research and participate in online communities to help establish your credibility.
Last on our list is user intent. This is where having a strong keyword strategy is critical. There are major differences between “how to cook a veggie burger” and “where to buy a veggie burger”. Search engines do their best to predict user intention when providing results. They are more likely to provide users with websites which match that intent.
For the sake of starting out, a good way to think about intent is to answer one of the “Who What When Where Why How” questions.
What to expect with SEO for Business
The biggest challenge understanding SEO for business is a long game. Much like maintaining a proper yard, an optimized website that is properly cared for will draw in a crowd. But only if the content is relevant and consistent.
When posting new content many businesses want to create the next viral one hit wonder. This couldn’t be further from a good strategy. A good rule of thumb is to put out quality content consistently. This method will always beat out your fingers and hope your new piece of content goes viral.