Regardless of the acronym, when thinking about SEO, you should realize that it is more about the needs of the people searching than getting the attention of search engines. SEO is really about understanding what people are searching for online. What answers are these folks seeking, what terms or words are they using to search?
You should always be able to measure what type of content they want to consume. Knowing these answers will help you connect with people who are searching for the very things you offer.
They are getting smarter with AI and sophisticated algorithms. However, they still need help to know what your website is about and what your content has to offer. Optimizing your website will result in better search engine crawl results because your website can be indexed and displayed in online search results.
Searchorb Marketing brings expert SEO strategies to ensure your website creates a proper amount of traffic.
Asking why SEO is necessary is easy to answer even though some business owners don’t want to hear it. They need to listen to it, though. However, investing in your organic web presence and keyword targeting is essential. The highest quality leads come from organic searches. Beyond this, there is more trust placed in content versus ads. The math is with organic results because they cover more digital space and appear more credible to today’s savvy searchers. Organic searches receive far more clicks versus paid advertisements. As proof, Google even says that less than 3% of people will click on paid advertisements. Organic search results in around 20 times more traffic opportunities than paid ads. This statistic holds for both mobile and desktop.
As mentioned earlier, when someone searches on Google, they find you in organic search results because of effective SEO practices and strategies. While SEO is not free or easy, it is also not derived from paid advertisements. Furthermore, paid ads used to be more clearly labeled. However, these days, search engines and others have done an excellent, although a devious job of blending paid ads into organic search results. So, how can you identify organic search results?
First of all, you should understand that search engine results are often referred to as SERPs. SERP results consist of both paid advertising and organic results, which are also called SERP features. SERP features also include snippets, answer boxes, “People Also Ask” tables, images, etc. New SERP features are being added and are driven by how people search and what people are seeking.
As an example, if you need the weather and search for “Denver metro weather,” Google will show you a graphically presented forecast in the SERP versus a link to a website. If you search for “pizza in Longmont,” Google will serve local results of pizza places in Longmont, which is vital to know because these are the local businesses that people are calling.
There are SERP features on Google that are organic that can be influenced by sound SEO practices. These include answer snippets and people-asked snippets, which are organic results displaying answers inside a text box. There are other search features others that are organic but cannot typically be influenced by SEO. These features will likely contain information from proprietary sources, such as WebMD, Wikipedia, various wiki sites, or IMDb.
The most important benefit of SEO is that it is the gift that keeps giving. When SEO strategies work, they will continue to provide search results and traffic for months and years. High-quality content with the right keywords will get ranked. Once ranked, your website traffic can begin to snowball. On the other side, paid advertising requires constant funding to get traffic to your website. Once funding dries up, so does the traffic to your site.
Similar to comparing the dark and the light side of the force, white hat SEO means that the SEO techniques used conform to Google and Bing search guidelines. They follow the advised best practices and strategies and have a focus on providing valued content to people.
Black hat SEO is the dark side. It means taking shortcuts and cheating with techniques intended to fool the search engines. Black hat SEO tactics can work, but be clear that it puts your website at risk of penalization. The risk can result in your website being de-indexed, which means Google may remove your site from search results. A penalized website is dead, which could result in a bankrupted business. Searchorb uses only white hat SEO. However, if you venture elsewhere, please be very careful working with unknown SEO experts or agencies. There are a lot of sharks in these waters.
Although it may not be apparent, search engines like Google and Bing want you to succeed. As proof, Google has a “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” Their guide is a Beginner’s Guide that you should read if you plan to try your hand at SEO. Google and Bing are also very supportive of companies like Searchorb Marketing and others who are doing it right in the SEO community. Google offers webmasters and SEO agencies assistance through a help forum, direct phone calls, and live chats or hangouts.
The basic principles center on the fact that we should make web pages for users, not for search engines. We should not deceive users in any way. We avoid tricks or deception intended to improve ranking. The test questions we continuously ask ourselves are, “Does the page help the user?” and “Does this page add value by explaining, addressing, or solving something?” In the end, your website should be unique, engaging, and valuable.
Avoid any automatically generated content, and it is usually of poor quality. Do not participate in link schemes. Never create pages that are duplicated or copied from other pages. Avoid cloaking, which means showing visitors different content than search engine crawlers. Hiding content, text, and links is also a no-no. All in all, if you plan to do any SEO on your own, it is wise to have sound knowledge of Bing and Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Best practice principles are fairly straightforward.
1. Create clear, engaging, and easy-to-find content for your website.
2. Make sure your page titles include the primary keyword or phrase.
3. Content is understandable, identifiable, and relevant.
4. Backlinks or external links are a sign of your website or business popularity. Search engines reward backlink relationships that are grown through organic or earned methods.
5. Social media is critical, and the more influence and social shares you have, the more impact you will see on organic rank over the long run.
6. Ensure website page speed is as fast as possible because a fast website provides a better user experience.
7. Use alt attributes as a means to describe images. They help search engines more easily understand your content.
8. Your content should be keyword inclusive and concise.
9. Your URL structures should also be keyword-centric where possible. Making URLs descriptive, short, and containing the page’s keywords is the best practice.
10. Avoid non-alpha characters in any URL.
Local Google Business Results
If your business operates locally, it qualifies for a Bing Places for Business or Google My Business listing. These services are available for both brick and mortar businesses and services provided at a customer’s location.
Google has strict guidelines on creating and managing these listings. First off, be sure your business is eligible. Your business is required to have a physical address; PO box addresses are not allowed. Your business’s physical address can be your home address, but you must meet customers face to face at your location at least some. You are required to represent all aspects of your business, honestly. Include all pertinent data such as your business name, address, phone number, website, categories for your services, hours, and other relevant information.
Local businesses attempt to rank for local searches such as “service near me” or “service city.” These services help local companies capture local customers when they are searching for related products or services.
These services do nothing if a business targets national or international markets and has no local market. Local markets are more accessible because it is easier to focus on specific regional search terms, whereas international search targeting will require more effort, involvement, and even money.
Now that you know not to skirt the rules to trick search engines, you can now understand that you should focus on user intent. When someone searches on Google, they have an outcome in mind. It could be an answer to a question, a product they want, concert tickets for sale, or funny photos—that desired outcome user intent. The process gets more complicated with variables on outcome. A search for the term “band” may mean searching for music groups, a wedding ring, a band saw, or even rubber bands. The job of SEO is providing a user with content they want the way they want it.
Among various others, there are three primary intent types, informational, navigational, and transactional. Informational would ask, “What is the best type of camera for photography?”. Navigational searches are those looking for a specific website such as “Searchorb.” Finally, transactional intent is a search to buy a product or service such as “Best SEO Agency in Berthoud Colorado.”
Every website and every client has different goals. We always take time to understand a site or client’s goals. That process helps us determine which SEO areas to focus on and in what order. Where we should track conversions and what benchmarks are applicable. What will key performance indicators be measured to show the return on investment (ROI)? Meaning, what we use to measure the success of organic search efforts and how we report on those efforts should be understood and simple.
Some common KPIs are sales, downloads, signups, contact form submissions, and phone calls. If your business is local, KPIs can focus on Google My Business listing results, including clicks to call, clicks to website, and clicks for driving directions. Metrics like ranking and traffic are intentionally not on the KPI list. I know you are reading this to learn about SEO because you heard it helps rank your website and get more website traffic.
Our goal is to help you understand how correctly implemented SEO will help your website rank higher in search results because it will drive more website traffic. However, you should know that traffic and ranking are a means to an end. Ranking means very little if no one clicks through to your website. There is low value in increasing website traffic if it does not accomplish a more substantial business goal.
If your goal is lead generation, would you rather see a thousand visitors a month with three contact form completions, or would you prefer three hundred monthly visitors with forty people filling out your contact form?
I hope you pick the latter option! SEO can accomplish so much more than hitting metrics. When done right, it will help achieve real business goals and drive success.
Before you dive into SEO by yourself, make sure you determine your business goals first. You can then use your goals to drive SEO efforts to accomplish those goals, and you cannot guess and hope.