For any business looking to get found online, SEO is crucial, and let’s face it, if you’re not looking to get found online, you’re not looking to get found at all. The digital world is where your customers are, and it is there that you need to stand out to them and stand apart from competitors.
Many small business owners feel they don’t need SEO because they obtain most of their business through word of mouth referrals. Although word of mouth marketing is an effective way to bring in business and build up your reputation, it’s not a scalable way to grow your business. Search engine optimization, on the other hand, is.
Read on to understand more about why it’s so important, how it works, and how it helps small businesses like yours.
What is SEO?
Many business owners see search engine optimization (SEO) as a mystery, an enigma that only those with inside knowledge can solve. The truth is, SEO is an important part of any marketing strategy, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a combination of efforts put into place to help search engines like Google find and trust your business website, organize the information you’re publishing, and present it to users searching for it.
Even though you are optimizing for search engines, search engines build their ranking algorithms around user behavior, so at the end of the day, you are optimizing for end users as well.
One of the most common ways to find information on the internet is to use a search engine. Users will enter a search term or question (also known as a keyword) into Google. Then, using a complex algorithm, Google will return what it has identified are the most appropriate and useful results.
This is different than browsing a news site or scrolling through social media looking for information. Googlers are actively looking for a specific answer or doing consumer research, which you should keep in mind when creating your website content.
The search engines (i.e. Google) people use to find information are essential because they return prioritized results for users. Google’s “spiders” are constantly crawling the web, recording everything they find in a database (or index). When you perform a search, Google is actually returning results from its index rather than the live internet.
The important thing to remember is that all search engines use specific criteria for ranking results. They look at factors like keyword density and meta tags to understand what your pages are about. Also, they keep track of which pages are linking to your content, and they use that information (along with other factors) to determine what page has the most authority.
In order for your potential customers to find you via a Google search, you need to rank high on Google; particularly, on the first page; ideally, in the top few results. That’s why you need to optimize your content for search engines. Hence the term “search engine optimization.”
SEO can be complex and takes time, but the key takeaway so far is that if you want to rank your business higher on Google, you need to make sure that:
• Search engines can find you
• They can tell what your web pages are about
• They believe your page/site has authority and credibility for the content you’re promoting