Small businesses that want to expand into the online world have to consider more than just their products and services; they have to consider how they’re describing them. The tactics used to increase visibility on search engines like Google is known as search engine optimization, or SEO, and it’s absolutely essential for a successful website.
Just think about how you use Google. Do you go beyond the first or second pages? Probably not. With a little strategizing and hard work, SEO will help you get to that trusted front page, and help you boost traffic to your site!
How Does SEO Work?
We trust the highest returns because the thousands of searches we’ve performed have taught us that they’re the most relevant. Google has constantly refined this idea, and the company has algorithms that will scour websites for information that they think will be most relevant to their users. This information comes as keywords, meta tags, unique images and videos with alt text, sitemaps, updated content, and features that make sites easier to use. All of these pieces come together under the umbrella of search engine optimization.
These various pieces of SEO are vital because search engines use them to determine whether or not a website will be useful. For example, mobile response carries a lot of weight because more and more users are searching on their smartphones. Search engine companies also know that a high percentage of users will desert the website if it’s not easy to navigate on a smartphone or tablet. So if they see that a website does not have mobile responsiveness built into the code, they won’t rank it as high on returns.
The same goes for content. The algorithms are looking for specific words and phrases that match the searches, combing not just descriptions for these words but also the code in sitemaps, the alt text of images and videos, and other backend features. It’s also looking for the recency of the usage, so frequent updates also make your website attractive.
So the title of this blog might be a bit of an understatement: SEO is extremely important, so much so that it can make or break a website. If you want organic traffic and views from new potential customers, you’ll want to make SEO a priority.
How Can I Use SEO?
While SEO should be at the forefront of all your content, some tactics are easier to incorporate than others, and even the “easy” ones have rules. Take keywords for instance: the first impulse is to cram as many of them into your copy as possible. But Google’s algorithms know when you’re “stuffing”, as they call it, and will definitely penalize your website for it. The keywords relevant to your business should appear organically in full sentences, making well-written descriptions and structured blogs essential.
But SEO is not a static strategy; it requires updates and keeping an eye on new, relevant search terms. One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that SEO will make all their goals come true after they’ve used the right keywords. The thing about keywords is that the relevant ones always change, and monitoring for this change is necessary!
Other SEO components might require some more time and experience to implement. Meta tags, optimized code, sitemaps, and image alt texts all provide more information about your content to search engine algorithms, and can be incorporated with plug-ins if you’re using a system like WordPress. But these still require a bit of know-how to use properly. For quicker gains, some people turn to Google Ads for paid search visibility that starts as soon as you connect a credit card. And remember, a good digital marketing company will take all these components and make them work for you!