Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
What is SEO?
You’ve probably heard the term SEO before and likely know it stands for Search Engine Optimization. You may have a sense of what it’s about, but let me put it in simple, bottom line terms. You can have the absolute best looking site on the web, but if nobody finds you, you’ve wasted your time and money. With few exceptions — unless you have built your personal “brand” — the main purpose of your website is to bring in new clients who do not know your name.
As I’m sure you’ve done many times, prospective customers will type a word or phrase into a search engine that they think describes the services they’re looking for. When they type in “Your Service” or “Your Product”, along with the city, you want to make sure you show up on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for the geographic area you serve.
Now, you might think that you’ve successfully implemented SEO because your website comes up #1 in the search results when you type “Your Business Name” into Google. To be blunt, if you’re not number one for your own name, something is very wrong — it takes almost no SEO knowledge or effort. Why? Well, how many other businesses are out there with your name (especially in your geo)? Probably not many if any. With little or no competition for that search term, its a no-brainer to achieve excellent results for it.
So in pragmatic terms, SEO is about ensuring that everyone who is searching for any of the products or services you provide, in the geography you serve, sees your website listing on the first page of the results page and clicks through to your website.
Why is SEO Important
Whether you’re a Small Business or Large Corporation, whether you sell products or a service, you want to grow your business and revenue stream and/or increase profitability. Your website can and should play a pivotal role, but unless it brings in new customers it will not make this contribution to your bottom line.
Your SEO effectiveness is NOT measured by appearing on page one of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when you search using your business name. Chances are, it is a unique name and if it is not, it most certainly is for your local geography.
Search is a function of how well you compare to your competition. Your business name or business name and location is unique. You are not competing with anyone else for that search term, except perhaps a higher ranking website that lists or mentions your business. If your website does not appear on page one of the SERP, even if you’ve done zero SEO work, then something is terribly wrong.
The real measure, as stated earlier, is bringing new customers. They don’t know your name, so they are searching for your product or service. They are searching for a website designer or restaurant or a lawyer or a realtor. If Google hasn’t figured out their location, they’re also likely entering a city. This is known as Local Search.
Now you’re competing with every other business in your area. You are also competing with the larger business directory listings. Your SEO needs to be as good as who you see on page one of the SERP when you search for your product or service. This is where your SEO needs to be up to par, otherwise your website can be buried so deep that nobody will ever find it even if they go beyond the first 2 or 3 search result pages (SERP’s).
This is why SEO is so important. If you don’t win, place or show (appear on the first, second or maybe third page) then your website will not bring new customers. If you are in a competitive space and page one only has your competitors, then win-place-show means you need to be on page one and in a top position in order to compete will and get your share of the new customer performing this search.
In the vast majority of instances, a website investment is nearly wasted if you do not have effective SEO that brings you new customers on a regular basis.
SEO can be quite challenging and companies can spend thousands of dollars on it or even hire one or more full-time SEO professionals. However, the good news is that for most small businesses, SEO is very affordable. There are a number of reasons for this.
- You’re not trying to attract a national audience. You only need people in the cities you serve to find you. In fact, you do not want to be bothered by people outside your geography unless you do business online. It is much more difficult to achieve results on a national level.
- SEO can be time-consuming at first but it is not difficult or costly if you know what to do, and if you take advantage of the many free tools available (which some companies are happy to charge you for). Once it’s in place, there is not a lot of ongoing effort unless you need to respond to a competitive website that is challenging you in the rankings.
- Truthfully, most of your competition probably does not do a good job at SEO or spend the time or money on it to do it effectively. Less competition for Google’s attention means it’s easier for you to rank higher. Even if your local competition does invest, if you do things right too, you’ll be right up there in the results with them.
- Given that top results from your SEO efforts is so achievable, you do not have to use paid advertising. A small business should not have to resort to Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising and take on an added monthly expense. I can explain PPC and even set it up for you, but to me it’s pointless when you can get a top position on the SERP for free, and because if you’re like me, I trust the paid listings far less than the “organic” results (non-paid) below it.
I provide SEO Services on all levels including:
- Basic: Basic SEO is included with website design packages. This includes a long list of standard SEO elements including meta tags, keyword density, page titles and headings, image tags, etc. It is a long list of many small details.
- SEO Consulting: If you have an existing website, a one-hour session is included with the website audit package. We will review the results and discuss what is needed to bring your site into compliance with all the basic SEO items, and talk about advanced SEO techniques you should consider.
- Competitive Analysis: One of the best ways to improve your ranking is to analyze what your competitors are doing to get on Google’s SERP (search engine results page) page 1. Using advanced tools, an analysis of the top competitors for your keyword (s) is performed. We will discuss the results and what you can do to emulate their techniques.