When was the last time you saw a phone company “white” or “yellow” pages directory, let alone flipped through one to find the person or business you needed? When did you last consult a multi-volume encyclopedia or other reference book? For many, the answer is “never”. That’s because we do all that online now, using readily available search engines. A well-tuned search engine can return thousands of pages of results on just about any subject you enter into the query field.
How many of those pages of results do you habitually search through to find your answer? If you say more than a couple, you are definitely in the minority. Few people go beyond the first page. So, obviously, the results situated higher up on that first page occupy real estate in heavy demand. So with millions of businesses fighting to end up at or near the top of the first page of search engine results, you can imagine the level of competition that’s heating up the internet.
The newly-developed science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is designed to give a specific web page a fighting chance of being found by a seeker. It involves optimizing the content and code of that website to be more friendly to the algorithm used by the search engines.
Actually, while there are multiple excellent search engines, the elephant on the web is Google by a landslide, and developers typically target Google’s algorithm when conducting SEO. Of course, Google knows about this and constantly tweaks its algorithm to push developers to create better sites, experiences, and content. It’s a game that everyone knows about but seldom gets mentioned.
Anyone optimizing content or code for the web needs to be aware of the latest techniques. Small businesses would be wise to get professional help with this endeavor.
Basic SEO Tactics
Think of keywords as: what will your prospective customer type into the search field? If you own a shoe store, that would probably be words like: “shoes”, “footwear”, “sneakers”, “boots” or any other word that describes your inventory. Some keywords are phrases consisting of multiple words. Sometimes even the longer the phrase of keywords, the better.
If your store is in Miami and you sell fashion footwear, your seeker might type in: “nice evening shoes in Miami”. All of these words should be considered as potential keywords to include within your site.
Search engine-friendly websites
The time it takes a web page to load can impact your site’s success rate. Visitors are impatient and, if a page takes a long time to download, may abort that selection and go onto the next one on the list. The search engine tracks these rejections and considers your website unreliable.
A download shouldn’t take long with today’s ultra-fast processors, but you can still end up with a slowed page if your images are in very large file formats or if your coding isn’t clean and direct in its language. But, again, this may be a job fit for the experts to analyze and update your website content and code.
What’s it all about?
Search engine users are usually after fairly specific information. So it’s best if the content of your web page is clear, unambiguous, and demonstrates expertise in a particular subject – the one they’re searching for.
Perhaps our shoe seller would like to separate the various types of shoes, boots, and sandals the store features into separate pages. If I’m searching for athletic shoes designed for basketball, much of the information about glamorous evening pumps won’t do me any good. That site may function best if there were separate pages for each type of product that a search engine and its human seeker can easily find.
Pay to play
One workaround to all of this is called Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. This is where you pay the search engine to place your site higher in the results. You’ll pay for every “click-through”, where the seeker likes what they see in your search engine summary and clicks to find out more.
Another tactic, CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), involves tweaking your content or code on an ongoing basis in an effort to achieve a higher quantity of sales. There is also KPI, SERP, and SEO niches like E-commerce, Local, and News/Publishing. Your search engine listing can be augmented with Rich Results and Knowledge Panels that elevate seekers’ experience before they even carry on to your webpage.
The links found on your page are also significant, but the search engine’s algorithm is quite picky about who has linked to you and will only value high-quality links. Signs that your content has been frequently shared is also a potent persuader. The key to SEO is learning what your potential customers want and making sure it’s stated clearly on your web page.
The Right Help From SEO Experts
Search Engine Optimization is obviously a complex subject, not to be entered into lightly, and not to be attempted by amateurs. The best advice for the success of your web presence and people’s ability to find it is to get the appropriate experts on your side. The professionals at Brandstar Digital deal with these details every day. Contact us today to find out what we can do to improve your business’ visibility.