What is SEO (And What It Means To Your Business)?

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You may have heard the term SEO and wondered what it means exactly – and what it means to your business. We’ve got the answers to help you find your way through the search engine optimization maze.

 

So, what is SEO? It’s boosting your site's appearance in unpaid search engine results through a variety of methods. Click To Tweet

Getting into the mindset of your customers, doing search term research, and planning out a strategy is fundamental when it comes to search engine optimization. People are typically more willing to purchase your products and or use your services if they know about them. That’s where SEO methods come into play.

So, where to begin with SEO? Ask yourself what would you type into a search engine to find your website. Is it a short phrase like “Website SEO Expert” or a more question-based search term with a specific intent in mind: how do you optimize a blog post? How do I do SEO for my website? The latter examples are long tail keywords, highly targeted search terms designed to meet a searcher’s request. These phrases also typically have lower search volume, little competition, and higher conversion rates meaning you can rank higher when using them. That’s a win-win-win situation when it comes to SEO. You may also hear about semantic search. This is a humanized approach to search results taking intent and context into account in the results. “Best Apple” could be about Macintosh or Golden Delicious. Semantic searches try to determine which you mean and deliver the best results.

But beware: optimizing your website is not about squeezing in as many keywords as possible. Search engines consider this tactic to be “keyword stuffing” – adding in tons of terms with the sole purpose of ranking highly in organic search – and they’re onto the unethical practice. Keyword stuffing can be penalized when it comes to rankings and makes for an unpleasant reader experience so no ethical SEO consultant will recommend it. What do SEO experts recommend?

There are two kinds of SEO: On-page and Off-page. We’ll talk about off-page SEO in another post, but on-page SEO involves how your website content and structure are presented to a search engine – the keywords we’ve been talking about play a considerable role in this. However, there are other ways to optimize different parts of your website to affect your rankings. So here’s a quick guide to on-page SEO techniques:

Screen Shot of Google Search Results for Black Bear Design Web SEO

Keywords & Keyword Research – Where To Start

Keyword research is the first step in any SEO plan. We’ve talked about using these search terms in your content but they can be peppered throughout your site in other ways we’ll talk about in a moment to make it more search engine friendly. As you select these important phrases, keep voice search in mind to optimize for conversational searches coming from mobile. Use tools like Google Trends to help you discover popular keywords and phrases.

google trends keyword research

Internal Linking – Link Your Content Together

An internal link is a link from one page on your site to another. Linking internally is useful to visitors and search engines since they make it easier for readers to find related content and for Google to crawl and index your website. Don’t forget to add internal links as you add new content to your site like this one to our SEO services page.

Meta Descriptions – Sell Your Content

A meta description is a text that appears in search engine results below the title. It lets readers know what the link is about, so they know what to expect, and whether or not they want to click. So, in addition to being relevant and compelling, your meta description should include the keywords in your SEO plan for that page because search engines read them too.

meta description

Image Alt Text – A Picture Is Worth Zero Words

Alt text is used by screen reader software to help blind web users recognize what is shown in the pictures or graphics on websites. Because search engines crawl images like these readers, inserting relevant keywords (while correctly describing the image) will help search engines recognize the content on your page.  If you use WordPress, you can add in your image alt text when you are adding your images to your post.

image alt text

Page Title – Make It Emotional

A page title is the clickable name of a webpage that appears on the search engine page results pages or SERPs. Page titles tell searchers (and search engines) the topic of the page as well as an estimate of how relevant a page is to their query. Another perfect spot for adding in keywords.

meta title

Quality Page Content – Fluff Is For Pillows

Having quality content on your site is vital to good SEO, and the right keywords can provide a roadmap for developing that text. As you write a comprehensive, relevant piece of content for a page or blog post, you will likely end up including (and ranking for) dozens of long tail keywords related to your subject.

 

New to SEO? Watch this video from our SEO expert in Atlanta:

 

Search engines are only successful if they provide results that feel relevant to users based on their search terms. This means it’s in the best interest of Google, Bing or Yahoo (all of which can essentially be optimized in the same way) to return useful results to searchers. It also means that each search engine uses their own strategies to ensure they can deliver valuable, pertinent results on every keyword combination. Knowing and understanding these internal demands are what makes a skilled SEO expert invaluable.

It’s important to keep in mind when using these tactics and tools that while Google needs to be able to find your site, real humans will be navigating it. So it’s essential for the SEO company that you work with to create a plan that is both search engine friendly and user-friendly.

“Organizing and optimizing your site will help you achieve higher listings in search results,” explains Black Bear Design’s SEO and PPC Specialist, Rebecca Morrow. “Because Google notices when you keep your website fresh and up-to-date, SEO will also give you a greater ROI on your website design investment. The key is optimizing for the right keywords and the right audience. It’s really about bringing to light an enhanced understanding of a searcher’s intent when researching a subject.”

Search engine optimization is incredibly important for any business wanting to be found by their customers online. When you optimize your pages, you’re making your website more visible to the people who are looking for your product or services based on specific search terms. The goal of an SEO specialist is to ascertain what those search terms are for your business and give a search engine as many reasons as possible to crawl your site pages to find them.

Still feeling a little lost in the forest? As Atlanta search engine optimization experts, Black Bear Design is here to help you find your way. Please contact us today to get started.

 

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