The Power of SEO: Don’t Get Left Behind
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) essentially boils down to how high you rank on the search engine of choice, like Google, Yahoo, Bing, or something else. As you can imagine, this is hugely important to the success of a business because a large majority of customers will search for you at some point and you want to make sure they see you and not your competitor.
Let’s be honest, we are all mostly concerned with how we rank on Google more than any other search engine. An estimated 80% of respondents to a Search Engine Land survey provided that Google is their primary search engine, so most of what I will discuss will be while considering Google foremost. Google has an algorithm they use to automatically determine ranking in search results, but very little is known about what makes up the algorithm. So, much of what we know about SEO is based on trial and error in addition to tips we get from Google personnel. Fair warning: SEO is a very complex topic that gets very technical at times. If you want to learn about all the intricacies of SEO, I would recommend this guide from Moz.
Here I am going to try and give you a basic outline of SEO and how to make it work for your business if that’s all you need.
Imagine the internet as a massive spider’s web that connects millions of web pages (web, get it), and all these pages are connected in some way via keywords, links, meta tags, and backlinks. But you probably don’t need to know definitions for all those terms. So, when you search for something, you are sending out “spiders” (I promise I’m not making these terms up), that scour the web for the most relevant pages to return to you, and in order. They do this based on a wide variety of criteria, not all of which we are aware. By the way, I still find the fact that this whole process routinely takes less than one second miraculous!
For your business here are a few guidelines to follow to ensure a reasonable amount of success in SEO for both Google and Bing. These recommendations come from webmasters at Google and Microsoft (Bing):
- Make sure you have a clear homepage and text links to all pages available from the homepage. This creates a clear hierarchy.
- Write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content. This includes headings and links.
- Don’t put important text inside images. Search engines cannot read the words in an image, they can’t differentiate between a picture of a tree and a picture of a menu.
- Describe your business with words that people would use to search for your business without knowing the company’s name.
- Keep your website up to date.
In addition to the above tips and tricks, relevance is also based on location/proximity, keywords, page popularity, reviews (more on that in the Birdeye Blog).
The position you get in SEO is obviously important, but sometimes being number one in someone’s search results are not that realistic. For instance, a small boutique shop is going to have a hard time beating a national brand like Nordstrom in the SEO battle. But, here are some things to consider in regard to result position:
- On a standard laptop or desktop, 5-6 results are shown without scrolling.
- Mobile device users can view 3-4 results without scrolling on their internet app.
- Voice searches typically automatically route to the top search result.
I can not stress how important SEO is to your company’s success, especially as your business grows larger. However, SEO is not the end-all be-all for your business. There is no tricking Google, so if you ensure that your website is relevant and represents your business well, then you will be rewarded with the appropriate search result position, and more importantly: the right customers.
Wanna learn more about SEO? Send us your email address so we can chat about how to improve your rank online.