Understanding SEO for Business
With so much advertising and traffic online, small business owners benefit from understanding how search engines see their websites. Believe it or not, your ranking on a consumer’s Google search results is not random. The Google algorithm may seem impossibly complicated, but understanding how it works is the first step in harnessing its capabilities to your advantage.
Why Does My Business Need SEO?
People start with Google. Whether they are looking for the nearest fast food or where to get their PhD, people look for information by starting with Google. Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines are becoming less and less popular, and if you score well with Google, the others will follow. Social media is on the rise as a way to connect people to content, but it is still quite far from being people’s first stop. That being said, do not neglect to use social media to garner traffic for your site.
The words people search for (search queries) carry a lot of value. People tend to use similar words to search for similar things. Picking up on these words and putting them in the right places on your website draws the attention of search engines and therefore consumers. Creating a website with SEO is an organic, free means for advertising. A more direct means is the use of pay per click (PPC). Each has its benefits.
Can Search Engines Find My Site Without SEO?
Yes, they can, but if you help them they can put you at the top of the list when people search. Search engines are ever improving their technology. People can find content a lot quicker now than ever. Still, technology has its limits. The machine that is Google uses its own short cuts, such as its own indexing and SEO. The right SEO can put you above thousands of competitors because you have designed your site to fit perfectly into Google’s engine.
How Google Operates
Many factors plug into Google’s algorithm, and each of these must be attended to if the small business owner is to capitalize on search engine potential. These factors include not only elements of your website but elements of your competitor’s websites. Remember that they are looking to out-rank you just as you are looking to out-rank them. That is why SEO requires constant attention. Here is a sampling of the 200 factors Google uses to rank search results.
- Content management system (cms)
- Hosting services
- Page loading speed
- Site hierarchy and navigation
- Geographic location of your businesses
- Internal and external hyperlinks
- File names
- Anchor text
- Broken links
- Tags (title, description, heading, alt, etc.)
- Domain age and history
- Keyword prominence, density, in titles, etc.
- Content length
- Duplicate content
- Frequency and magnitude of content updates
- Schema tags
- Grammar and spelling
Can Google Find You?
Google does not search the universe every time you search. Google currently begins searching even before you stop typing. This instantaneous searching begins with Google searching its own index of the internet. In other words, Google makes a map of the internet then looks at the map first. If Google is going to point people to your site, you have to be on Google’s index. Google is not like the yellow pages. It not only indexes your site name and contact information. It indexes your entire website. SEO makes this indexing process smoother for Google and more productive for you.
Understand and Deliver Exactly What Consumer’s Want
Connecting people with exactly the right content is Google’s chief goal. If your website is not relevant to what people are searching for, then your site will not pop up. If you do not use the same language people are typing into the search bar, your business will not be listed in the top ten results.
For SEO to work, your site has to gain popularity. This comes not just through raw traffic gleaned from social media or hyperlinks. Your popularity depends on whether your content is authoritative. If someone types “Laundromat” into Google, it will yield 11 million results in 0.47 seconds. The top results are those geographically near the computer being used, the first step in SEO. Next on the list are sites with great SEO, whether recognizable by brand or present on reputable review sites. Searchers can expect the top few results to be directly relevant to the content they seek.
What Can You Control?
Understanding what Google is looking for is one thing, but changing your site to be SEO friendly is another matter. Will anything you change actually lift your search result rankings? Which factors do you actually have control over? You have control over all of the factors the Google algorithm uses. Even if you cannot change your geographic location or the type of business you own, you can boost the likelihood that someone in your area will click on your site first. This is good news and bad news. It is good that you have a lot more control than you may have thought. You can do a lot to bring people to your site simply by changing your site. However, the bad news is that your results rest entirely in your hands. Your results depend completely on how much effort you put into SEO.
It will take a lot of time and effort. Remember that your competitors are putting in that time and effort to out-rank you. SEO connects people to your content. You know your business better than anyone, which makes you the best person for tailoring your website for your audience..