In layman’s terms, SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is how search engines “rank” websites and web pages whenever a search term is entered. SEO, for the most part, is a long term game that factors in the content on the page as well as the quality of information presented.
Search Engines use “crawlers” or bots to crawl each page, checking for quality links, information, & determining their Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs. A better position on Search Engines ultimately leads to more organic traffic to your website & customers through your doors! This is how many small businesses utilize SEO services to compete with the big guys & grow their business without Ads or other paid marketing techniques.
This is also why it is such an important aspect to consider when choosing which Content Management System or CMS to build your website with. Check out Embark’s recommendations for builders, based on budget, goals, & time here.
While the actual content on your website is a factor, of course, there are also technical methods that factor into your ranking. SEO can be further divided into On-Page, Off-Page, & Technical SEO which, along with other factors all play a role in your overall website ranking.
On-Page SEO includes things like the Meta Descriptions, Image Tags, Title Tags, proper page formatting, & actual content of the page. Basically, Google & other Search Engines like proper labels on everything as it helps them determine whether the information on the page is of quality & relevance to the users query. Targeted Keywords are the ticket when it comes to SEO & determining which keywords are best for business is a task in itself. There is a science to picking the perfect keyword or phrase & picking the wrong one can tank all your other SEO efforts.
Off-Page SEO is little less straightforward than On-Page and deals more with where your pages are linked too. Broken links or links that lead to untrustworthy sites will automatically rank lower. Quality links ensure the information presented on the page is trustworthy. This works both ways in the eyes of Search Engines, so if another website has a link to your site & vice versa, both sites will get an SEO boost, so long as both are considered quality sites. Internal links are also a determining factor for SEO, it tells the bot that there is more pertinent information located within the site.
Tangent – This is why it is important to gain press with local news sites. News sites are generally ranked higher as they are frequently updated, have tons of quantifiable information, & were built with best practices in mind. Press links are easy ways to quickly add reputable backlinks, & bonus if you (or your marketing team!) provide the press with the link to your site, as this will complete the backlink circle and increase your ranking in turn. Want to get the buzz out about your restaurant or bar? Check out our Public Relations page for more information on our link building services.
Technical SEO involves things like making sure your SSL Certificate is valid and installed, submitting your sitemap to Search Engines (especially Google), & link clean up for easier bot crawling. While most of these are one time or annual tasks, monitoring your site for changes & resubmitting sitemaps should be done after any major changes on the site.
There are several other factors that affect SEO & this is really just a short overview of how ranking works and what aspects are important in determining how many potential customers can find you on the web.
Making your head spin yet?
That’s where we come in! Embark Marketing offers small business SEO services & link building services as part of any website we create. We can help you get on to the right foot if you are starting from scratch or optimizing an existing website to rank higher on any SERP.