In today’s world, Search Engine Optimization – SEO – plays a vital role for businesses.
Most of us can agree that getting the company’s name and what it does in front of the right people is essential for making sales. That simple concept goes back centuries to when merchants first hung signs in front of their shops for recognition. In the early years of the 20th Century, it’s the reason why businesses used print or outdoor advertising and later chose to do commercials on radio and TV.
It’s all about getting your name out there and building awareness. Today, successful businesses do that by making sure they can be found when an online search is made.
That involves SEO. To get your business website to rank on the first page, you need to do search optimization the right way, in two phases.
Phase I: On-Page SEO
The first phase is about preparing your website so that it can be indexed by Google. This is an important step because if Google does not index your site and save it in its database, then your website will not appear during relevant searches.
So to get Google to notice your site and understand what it is about, you must search optimize it. That means taking the steps to make sure the on-page elements are set up correctly. They involve completing the Title, ALT and Meta tags correctly. You also need to have the right keyword density in your page content and be sure that term is used in a subheading, as well.
When you have optimized each page for a unique keyword correctly, then your site is ready for Google’s software bots or spiders to crawl it and understand what it is about.
That alone will not get your site to rank high, though. To do that, you will need to engage in on-going SEO.
Phase II: On-Going SEO
The Google search algorithm ranks websites using certain criteria. Its logic is that if sites meet the criteria, then they must be quality web pages. Google wants its users to have a good search experience, so it will only present quality sites in the search results. Thus, if you want to rank on the first page, you have to give Google what it wants.
The Google search algorithm rewards websites that have new content added on a regular basis. The idea behind this is that websites that add new content are dynamic sites that are offering new information.
The best way to ad new content is to blog. If you consistently and frequently write relevant blog articles to your site that are search optimized, you will find over time that your site will begin to show up in the search results.
Uniform Business Listings
The algorithm also indexes other publisher sites around the internet. These include Yelp, Foursquare, Superpages and Citysearch just to name a few.
When a search is made, the algorithm checks the information for your company on each of these sites to what is listed on your own website. If the business listing is uniform across the many publisher sites, then Google will rank your company’s website well. If, however, there are errors or duplicates, Google will penalize the site.
Using certain social media can actually help your search rankings, as well. Google actually indexes LinkedIn, Slideshare and Google+, one of its own properties. If you have a business page on these sites and you are active, your website has a better chance of ranking higher.
If a post you made on one of those social platforms is relevant to the search being made, you could also see that post show up in the search results. So conceivably, a business could have more than one entry on the first page of the search results.
Online reviews can also help your search rankings. When they appear on your website, the Google algorithm considers them to be new content. When you have reviews and positive ratings on the Google platform, they also help your search ranking.
SEO is not a one-time practice that, when completed, will automatically get your website found in search. Instead, it is a number of on-going practices that need carried out over a long period. If done in conjunction with each other, the two phases of SEO can get your website found.
Bob Turner is a Digital Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio.