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What Is SEO and Why Is It Important to My Business?

What is SEO? It’s an acronym we have all heard at some point in our lives. And we probably all have a basic idea of what it is or what it means. But do you truly understand it and know how it affects your company’s marketing?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how the search engines (Google, Bing, etc) categorize and prioritize your website. It affects where your website appears in the list that shows up when you are searching for something. When you do a search for your product, where does your company appear on that list? Does it show up on the first page? This is why having a solid plan for the creation of your business’s website is so important.

There are several things that the search engines look for when prioritizing their lists. Domain name, page names, links, keywords, and content are the five items we’ll discuss in this blog. Please note there are many other factors to having good results when the search engines crawl your site and we’ll discuss those in upcoming blogs (so stay tuned).

But first, let’s talk about your domain name. You always want to have a relevant domain name. Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not always that simple. For example, you’re selling widgets, but widget.com and buywidget.com are taken. So now what? Well, you can buy those domain names from the owner of them, GoDaddy is one site that can tell you who owns the domain name, or you can come up with another domain that accurately reflects your branding and what you sell. Perhaps your tag line can be something along the lines of “Widget Sales is What We Do” and your domain name can become widgetsales.com.

When the search engines crawl (comb through your site to figure out how to categorize it), through your site, the first thing they’ll pull up is the domain name. “Oh, this has to do with widget sales. Let’s categorize it there.”

The next thing Search Engines will look at are your page names, both the URL and the actual page titles. So, when naming your pages, take care. Maybe instead of an ‘About’ page, you would want to call it ‘About Widget Sales’ and your page name (the link) would be http://widgetsales.com/aboutwidgetsales. You’re reinforcing the Widget Sales is What We Do branding with the Search Engines and increasing the likelihood of your page appearing closer to the top when someone searches for Widgets.

What about Links and SEO. While links are not the most important factor in engines finding your website, they don’t take a back seat. Links, or backlinks, are when other sites link to content on your site. There are a number of products out there to measure the effectiveness of links. You want to know both the quantity and the quality of these links. You know the old adage, one happy customer equals referrals, one unhappy customer equals…. So pay attention to what people are saying when they link to your website.

You can also link to your own pages with your content, called internal links, but don’t overdo it. Nobody likes a conceited website. J

When running your social media campaigns you should link to your website as well. These count as external links and will contribute towards increasing your SEO rankings.

Keywords. This is a biggie. You need to decide what keywords or phrases you’re going to use. Widget Sales will be a given in this hypothetical scenario, but what other words do you want to target? There are many places on the web, Google Analytics is one, that can give you a lot of data on keywords. You’ll want to choose some that are (1) relevant, and (2) effective.

Keywords will tell you how people are finding your site. Which words are leading people to you. Think of them as a street sign. You incorporate keywords into your website with your content, headlines, page titles, etc.

Now let’s talk a little bit about content. You want to keep your website current and relevant. It’s a good place to educate your chosen demographic and it keeps your website from becoming static. Search engines don’t like a website that never has any new content. Blogs are a great way to add relevant content to your site. When adding content to your site, remember to include your chosen keywords and some links.

You can make the search engines stand up and take notice of your keywords by bolding, underlining, italicizing, creating subtitles, etc. them.

You’ve had a mini overview of SEO and why it’s crucial to your website’s popularity and success. When searching for someone to build your website, make sure you have a solid discussion about how to improve your site’s SEO. BT Web Group can help you with this process. Good luck and happy SEO’ng!

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