What is SEO and why is it important?

If you have a business and/or a website, at some point you will be solicited via email or phone by a company doing SEO.  I have received emails and so has one of my clients looking to help us rank better in the search engines.

Black Magic SEO, SEO Comic
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So, what is SEO?  SEO stands for “search engine optimization.”  Search engine, of course, refers to search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.  Optimization, is the act of optimizing or “to make as effective as possible” the object which needs the optimizing.  In this case, SEO is the act of optimizing your website to rank as high as possible in the websites.

Over the years SEO has changed.  SEO has evolved along with website design over the years, and now there are a number of ways to do SEO effectively.  Hiring a good consulting firm to manage your SEO can be very expensive.  These folks are really good at what they do and the businesses they help usually have huge benefits from their work.

So, what is a small business like your to do?  After all, you don’t really have the budget to hire a full time consulting firm to begin to handle your SEO.  There are a few options.

Learn more about SEO

As any consumer of a product, you really should learn more about SEO yourself.  That might start with a book which can sometimes go over our head or some other kind of resource.  I would start with Google’s own article on SEO and then move to something a little more specific such as SEOBook.com.   A good book to get would be Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Talk to your Website Designer

Some of the best SEO folks are actually website designers.  If they aren’t sure how to at least navigate SEO for the purpose of building your website, then you might need a new designer.  They should have set the ground work for a well optimized website, and many offer additional SEO services for a fee.

They will be able to walk you through the process of choosing keywords and inserting them in to the appropriate areas of your website.  Further, if they haven’t already, they should be able to get your website indexed in the “big three” search engines; Google, Yahoo and Bing.

Social Media Saturation

One of the best things you can do is join the social media channels.  Social media sites are some of the best places to get additional “fuel” for your search engine rankings.  A friend of mine refers to this as “social media saturation.”  Make sure the URL to your site is linked to your Facebook, your twitter, your Linkedin and your Youtube accounts or whatever else you use for social media.

Blogging

Blogging is technically part of social media saturation, but it can also be an example for having an active website.  Blogs show activity at your website, making it dynamic, not static.  The search engines are attracted to activity.  When you blog, you create a regular update to your website that is noticed by search engines.

When you blog, you should create good content, and by that I mean content that is in line with the purpose and keywords of your website.  For example, if you have a website for your pet sitting business, then you would blog about pet sitting tips for pet owners.  Create a reservoir of good content that will be searched for and found by a frustrated owner looking for help.

One more thing, I highly recommend getting either your blog or your entire website built on WordPress.  WordPress is built to be SEO friendly out of the box.  Many of the things I mentioned are a lot easier with WordPress.

There is much more to SEO than this such as Pay Per Click and online advertising.  Further, there is also “black hat” and “white hat” methods.  There is also link building which can take time and there is being included in directories.  Nevertheless, you can learn enough to know how to approach SEO with your website.

I am only trying to get you thinking about the subject.  Don’t react impulsively to an unsolicited email or phone call from someone offering to put you on the front page of Google.  Often they aren’t better than the one who designed your website.

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