Everyone these days is talking about SEO – also known as Search Engine Optimization.
So what exactly is SEO, why is it important and what do you need to know?
SEO is essentially the practice of optimizing your website so as to rank higher in search engine results. After all, everyone wants to be the top result on Google right? These days, if you’re not listed on the first page of search results, the likelihood of a potential client clicking on your website is very, very slim. Ultimately, SEO is a complicated subject and it’s something we are extremely mindful of as we build your site. Still, it’s important that you understand SEO and how you can help make your site more “findable” – especially if you’re going to be updating your content yourself and/or blogging in the future!
What impacts my search engine ranking, anyways?
There are a LOT of things that go into the (extremely complicated) algorithms that Google and other search engines use to rank search results. Things that will help your site be ranked higher: good content and relevant keywords, submitting your site to search engines, having a “flat” navigation structure (ie. not too many categories and sub-categories), image tags, meta descriptions, and backlinks. Let’s explore a few of these more in detail…
Good web content: keywords are key!
Much of SEO comes down to one simple thing: original, relevant and optimized content. I’ve written more about how to write good content here, but when it comes to SEO it’s just that much more important. When you’re writing content for your website, think through what kinds of things people will type into a search engine to find your website and then be sure to integrate those keywords into your content in a relevant way. For example, if your website for your mechanic shop doesn’t include keywords like “car mechanic, auto repair, engine repair, transmission failure” and so on, it’s unlikely that people will find you when their vehicle dies on the side of the highway. This is especially important when you operate in a high-competition industry where there a lot of similar businesses in the near vicinity.
A flat navigation structure: help Google help you
What I mean by a flat navigation structure is trying to limit the use of sub-categories and sub-sub-categories. Ultimately, any page or post should be accessible from the home page of your website in 3 clicks or less. I’m just a little bit obsessive about organization, but I need to make sure I don’t overcomplicate my site (and thereby wrecking my SEO ranking) with multiple levels of categories. As a rule, keep it simple!
Good Meta Data is #winning
Things like image “alt” tags and meta descriptions for your sites are usually unseen bits of data that will help improve your search engine rankings. This is something we keep in mind for all of our sites. Why does it matter? It helps Google (and other search engines) “read” your site and index what your images and pages are about, instead of having to infer it alone from the content.
Backlinks are better than flowers
Want help getting your website higher on the search engine results? Make friends with other web owners and put out great content: the more links you have that link TO your website, the better your search engine rankings will be! These INCOMING links are called backlinks. Link to content that you love and develop a site that will encourage others to link to you!
Of course, there’s more to it than that.
There are lot of other little things that we will do to help your site achieve the best results possible. Things like submitting your website to search engines to reduce the time it will take for Google to find you (it finds us all eventually, but why not tip them off to the newest kid on the block?), creating a site navigation hierarchy that works, and ensuring that we have the right and right amount of content. If search engine results are a high importance to you (and we think they are), let’s chat about different options to help you get to a place where people can find you, and fast!