What is SEO and Why Does My Business Need it?

For most businesses, digital marketing strategies have earned a firm space in their overall marketing mix. The term ‘SEO’ is getting thrown out left and right. But, what IS it? SEO is a broad and complex topic – we could bore you for hours! So, let’s all stay awake while we dig into the details that matter to you. Briefly, here’s what you need to know:

 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is becoming more important as new business websites appear every day. Your business is not the only one in its industry to have a website- not by a long shot. With your website and those of your competitors all floating around on the internet…how does the internet decide which one/s to recommend when a user searches on a topic?  To be fair, we can give the internet a bit of credit and trust they are filtering searches by location. The rest is up to you. SEO is imperative if you want to be found in major search engines, i.e. Google, and outrank your competitors on the coveted first page results. That’s what everyone wants, right? So here’s how it works, in a nutshell:

 

Forget the journey – SEO is all about the destination!

It starts with your website. Website content must capture the attention of search engines, while still appealing to human readers. Your digital marketing professional knows how to do this, so don’t worry there! The content seen on your website needs to be rich with ‘keywords’ specific to your business or organization. This way, the internet ‘bots’ can connect your business with people who are searching for the products or services you offer. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe sells a wide variety of Pinconning Cheese. This is mentioned throughout the content within the site. So when someone searches for ‘Pinconning cheese’ Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe is likely to come up.

 

An image by any other name…

Next, name all images properly. Image titles should clearly state the contents of the image; this is how you connect it to your business. So many business owners forget to do this. If you do not hand-name each image you put on your site, it defaults to the camera name, which means nothing to search engines (or people, for that matter). We see this a lot when we optimize sites; photos that don’t support the website, becoming a wasted effort. Images should be drawing traffic to your website – don’t overlook this important search tool. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe tags their images properly. The pictures of their cheese are very specific. If it is a picture of Pinconning Mild Colby Cheese it will be tagged with those words. That way, when people search for Colby or Pinconning cheese, Wilson’s is likely to come up.

 

Heading in the right direction

Lastly, page headings. Take advantage of them. Most website builders let you know where they are. Be sure to label your headings with relevant keywords that your customers may be searching for. For example: Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe Heading is ‘Old-Fashioned Pinconning Cheese,’ not just, ‘Cheese.’ Headings are meant to capture the reader’s attention – use them wisely.

Caveat Emptor: Let the buyer beware!

Something to look out for – many website builders offer auto-generated keywords, counting it as SEO. Although some SEO better than none at all, please know that custom Search Engine Optimization will always be much more effective, so ask your digital marketing professionals how they can help you to optimize!