SEO. You hear it all the time. You know you need it. But what is it really?
First, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and simply put, means making your site better for the Search Engines. (for example, Google, Bing, etc.) When it comes to your online presence, search engines can make you or break you, as they ultimately are responsible for sending people (customers) your way! Recent data from Yahoo reinforces the need for SEO. It revealed that over 42% of searchers will click-thru on the first listing in the search results and that about 12% will click on the second. So that’s over half of searchers clicking on the #1 and #2 listings. The further down the list your site is, the less likely that searcher will click-thru to your website. And how many times do you go past the first page when you are searching? I’m willing to bet it’s not often.
As a small business owner, you need SEO to attract new customers and grow your overall marketing goals. Did you know that nearly half of people searching for products or services don’t already have a company in mind? Instead they are looking for the search engines to make recommendations to them. And if people cannot find you online, you might as well not exist to them these days. Think about it this way: when was the last time you pulled out the yellow pages (yes, that bulky book that usually hits my recycling bin the same day it arrives on the doorstep) and looked at every single pizza place in the area? Chances are you searched Google and went with one of the first results.
SEO is about making changes to your website that can have a noticeable impact on your site performance in the organic search results (just below the “sponsored ads”) and your website visitor’s experience. There is a complex formula that search engines use to determine who to display on the SERPs (search Engine Results Page). Although they don’t tell us exactly what to do, the search engines provide us with guidelines to follow that will keep your website in their favor. So follow their rules and you’ll be rewarded with good rankings! Good rankings = more website traffic = more opportunity for sales. This is the one situation where “heavy traffic” is a good thing!
SEO will usually take a few months before you start seeing an impact in your search engine rankings and website traffic. In fact, most meaningful marketing campaigns (online or offline) you run will take time in order to be effective. So, have patience and track your progress. But, the longer you wait to start SEO, the farther you will fall behind your competitors who are already optimizing their own sites. So, make SEO a part of your business plan today.
Here are a few of the tactics that we use in our SEO strategies and will cover in future blogs:
- Site Audit
- Keyword Plan
- Clean Code
- Local Search
- Link Strategy
- Social Media
One last note: NEVER subscribe to SEO services that guarantee the #1 ranking for your keywords. They don’t own Google, nor can they tell Google what to do. They are making false claims or are using black-hat (bad, unethical) SEO tactics. At INSite Business Solutions, we employ only white-hat techniques and keep up-to-date with new SEO concepts.