What is SEO?
SEO is a Marathon and Not a Sprint
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of interacting with a website to improve search engine rankings for relevant search phrases. While this can be a wildly complicated process, there are some simple steps to take that can make a big impact on your search engine visibility.
There are three main components to search engine ranking, and why one website may outrank another.
1) Content Optimization: The content on your website and how it communicates to people and the search engines. The primary components are the readable content, and META tags (Title and Description).
2) PageRank: The popularity of your website, and how many other websites link to it. This also includes any “social media buzz” about your website.
3) Quality: User interaction with your website in response to the generally quality or likability. The “quality” of your website includes things like the quality of the content or if there is duplicate content. The “likability” includes the ease of use for your visitors, how long they stay on the site and if they continue searching after visiting your website.
The best ranked websites out-rank competitor websites through a combination of the three primary factors listed above.
So… how can a business owner easily improve these key SEO factors?
Improving Content Optimization
Of the three primary factors impacting SEO, content optimization is the easiest to implement and a few key concepts can help you on your way. The primary thing to understand is that the search engines cannot easily rank a website for keywords that do not exist on the website. For example, a company offering Home Loans cannot capture “home loan” rankings on Google if their website doesn’t talk about “Home Loans.” Think about the phrases that you would like to be found under when prospects are searching on a search engine. Incorporate those search phrases within the content of your website in a natural and tactful manner, so that it reads well. Then support that keyword further by incorporating it within the page META TITLE and Description tags. Keep a narrow focus on only a few closely related keywords, so that the search engines understand which keywords are most important to you.
*Content Optimization Tip: All content on the internet can be optimized, not just your website. The practical application of content optimization and keyword targeting applies to your blog posts, press releases, articles, social media posts, business profiles and anything else accessible to the search engines.
Improving PageRank – Google assigns a PageRank value to every web page in the world… billions. PageRank is a scoring factor between 0 and 10, which works much like the Richter scale of an earthquake. Only 3 websites are PageRank 3, being Google, Twitter and Facebook, whereas most websites are PageRank 1. PageRank is on a logarithmic scale (factors of 10) so moving from a PageRank of 3 to 4 requires 10 times more PageRank. PageRank is best improved by having quality websites link to your website, which is hard to accomplish. A good place to start is by finding business directories, which can be national directories, or directories that represent your community or your industry. Be sure that these business listings allow a link pointing back to your website. Engaging in social media, blogs/forums that represent your industry, and other digital engagements will also be very helpful, but only if you have a link pointing back to your website.
Improving Website Quality – Face it, the quality of your website matters. Just like you would feel uncomfortable shopping at a filthy grocery store, people will be turned off by a low quality website. What is surprising to people is that Google has a very good understanding of what is and is not a quality website. In this competitive marketplace, it is not enough just to say “pick me!” You website must offer value to the customer, provide a professional image, contain unique and useful content, and offer something that your competitors cannot. Whatever time you invest into your website, your website will give back, providing that you take care of the PageRank and Content Optimization tasks outlined above.
"The primary thing to understand is that the search engines cannot easily rank a website for keywords that do not exist on the website."
By simply understanding what is important to a search engine, you can begin to improve in those areas. Try to pay attention to your website and slowly but surely tackle these key areas for SEO improvement. A slow-paced but methodical, long-winded approach works best. SEO is a marathon, and not a sprint.