Unless you have the know-how on the backend work of building a website, you’re probably here because you’re asking “What is SEO?”.
As a web development company that has been providing businesses with websites for the past 20+ years, we can fill you in on how important it actually is.
The truth is that DIY-website building platforms may only give you limited options and guidance on this – if at all. Many entrepreneurs that DIY their website end up going to webinars and taking courses to learn about it afterwards. It can sometimes feel like a hair-pulling situation that makes you feel like you’re in over your head.
We don’t blame you if you fall into this category! As an entrepreneur, we know that your time and focus should be on your craft and contributions… not spent worrying about how you’re going to be discovered.
But the bottom line is that it’s often a very make-or-break component that you need to spend time on.
That’s why we’re giving you an overview so that you know WHAT is involved and WHY you need to do it…
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is all about the work that goes into making sure your site is more visible by increasing its positions in search engines.
On the front side: It’s everything from having content that ranks to making value-packed blog posts on topics your target audience is searching for. All should be based on researching keywords/keyphrases that not only apply to your business, but of which have a search volume and not a ton of competition.
That’s why, when we do SEO campaigns for our clients, we start with keyword research and competitor comparisons… then start to rework their website.
Additional measures that help (by providing your website with authority and credibility) include online profiles of your business (Google My Business, Bing, etc).
But this is only the beginning. Depending on your offerings, you want to be aware of what expectations to have…
Keyword research cannot be taken lightly. It can be time consuming to find the right words since it’s not always about who you are and what you do, but rather, what people are looking for.
In our experience, we sometimes find that words which perfectly describe a business and its services have little to no search volume. This requires one to get creative by honing in on related words and questions to the offered solutions as the actual keywords to use.
Once you’ve determined what those are, you have to rework your website content to include those keyphrases.
When that’s done, it’s a bit of a waiting game to see what your new rankings (positions in search engines for your chosen keywords/keyphrases) are. This requires ongoing maintenance because rankings can change every 24 hours. Depending on how many other websites/businesses are using the same keywords, it won’t be long before you can tell (1) if the keywords should be kept, (2) which competitors are doing their SEO homework as well, and (3) if something about your content/structure needs a re-evaluation to something that will stand out more.
SEO of a website is determined not only by the keywords in the content (headings, titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and paragraphs), but by backlinks and the website’s overall health.
Is your sitemap (your full website) being indexed?
Do any pages come back with 404 errors?
Are any pages too slow to load properly on all devices?
Is your website optimized for mobile?
(the list can go on…)
Most of these concerns can be caught by submitting your website in Google Search Console and checking on the results. But some are dependent on how your website is built, which will take some know-how or research to fix.
Bottom line though: Having a great looking website is, unfortunately, not enough. Unless it’s optimized for search engines, your amazing website can be easily overlooked because it will only show if someone searches for you by name (the one sure exception) – and otherwise may be in the last pages of search results based on the keywords you’re using.
Why do I need SEO?
I’m sure you understand the importance of this work by now… but let’s recap:
★ If your website is not optimized for search engines, it will be really hard for cold leads to discover you.
★ Without ongoing SEO work, competitors will show up ahead of you.
★ Unless you pay attention to the trends of what’s being searched for, you could spend time creating content that never gets seen.
★ Without noting and utilizing the questions that people are typing into search engines (of which you answer with your products/services), you’re missing out from connecting with your target audience.
Many businesses are able to succeed without SEO through networking and print advertising (among other face-to-face actions), but those factors don’t change how their website ranks.
Having said that, one thing that can help boost your website (through authority and credibility) is having reviews. Being mentioned and referenced on other websites (which is what “backlinking” is) also gives your website more credibility.
While these are “other slices in the pie” that is what makes up SEO, there’s still quite a bit that you can do without them.
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed how businesses operate, which is why we’ve focused on how to make businesses stand out as they are (in whatever stage they’re in) right now. If you see the need and potential to reach a wider audience, SEO should be your best friend.
The longer story short version is simply this: If you’re getting little to no website traffic, know that your website is falling behind your competitors in search result visibility, or are just wondering how to get more eyes on your website… then you need to work on SEO!
If you’re ready to tackle the tasks to complete the SEO work on your website, be sure to check out our other SEO blog posts for tips and resources. But if you don’t have the time to do so – or you want our experienced web design & development company to do it for you – consider our SEO & Maintenance packages!
Northnet Media is your web team, providing your business with customized web solutions including website design, SEO (search engine optimization), WordPress development, online & marketing strategy, and website & email hosting.